"Much of your success as an educator had to do with your attitude towards teaching and towards kids. The rest of your success is based on your willingness to relentlessly search for what engages students in the classroom and then having the guts to do it." (Burgess p.84)

"...don't take it too seriously. Be willing to have fun with the process."(Burgess p.85)

The hooks that Burgess shares are really brain teasers for teachers when they are creating lessons. It goes back to the Ask & Analyze section of the book. If you don't ask the questions, you'll never come up with the answers.  So - ask these questions!


In this section, Dave explains much of what we already know.  Adding movement helps to engage our brains by sending extra oxygen and blood flow.  Brain breaks are super important and I love to see these in action!  

  • How can I incorporate movement into this lesson?
  • Can we incorporate gestures and motions that students could do from their desks?
  • Can I use a game that incorporates movement and action to enhance this lesson?
  • Or, do I just need to do a brain break as a transition?
Read pages 89-91 to see how Burgess added movement to his "Henry's Freedom Box" lesson.

  • Can I use my students as props, inanimate objects, or concepts?
  • Can we create a human graph, chart, map, or equation?
  • Can students be assigned a specific step in a process or an event?
  • Can some students be props and others prop movers?

  • How can I get my class outside of my four walls?
  • Where would be the best places on campus to deliver this content?
  • Is there an area of the school that serves as the perfect backdrop for this lesson?
  • Can I plant key items outside for us to "discover"?


  • How can I incorporate art into this lesson?
  • What can my students draw or make that would help them understand the material?
  • Can they make some kind of non-linguistic representation of the material?
  • Can they design word pictures in which the way the word it written reveals its definition?

  • How can I use music to aid my presentation?
  • What would be the perfect song or type of music to create the right mood and proper atmosphere?
  • What songs have lyrics that relate to this lesson?
  • If I don't know, can I ask my students to find examples of music that relate to this topic?
  • How can I most effectively use music as they enter the room?
  • Can students change the lyrics of a song to better reflect the content they are learning?
  • Can students create raps/songs that demonstrate their understanding of the content or standard?
  • Can I use music to transition?
  • Can I provide the opportunity for my students to do skits or appear in videos related to what we are learning?
  • Can they learn and perform a relevant dance?
  • Can they impersonate key people from history in a panel discussion or interview format?
  • Can the reenact historical events?
  • Can they write a script and create a video to play for the class?
  • How can I incorporate a craft into this lesson?
  • What can my students make that relates to this material?
  • Could there be craft skills my students already possess that could enhance my curriculum and simultaneously allow them the chance to be an expert for a day?
  • Can I provide some basic supplies such as craft sticks, pipe cleaners, and duct tape, give them an open-ended creative project, and turn them loose?


"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil to learn is hammering on a cold iron."  - Horace Mann

"It's human nature to ask (or at least think), What's in it for me?  We all want to know how current events might have an impact on our lives."  (Burgess, 103)
  • How can I incorporate the hobbies and outside interests of my students into this material?
  • Do I even know the this about my students?
  • How can I harness the power of connecting my content to what students are already interested in?
  • How can I show my students why learning this content is important in the real world?
  • How will they possible apply this in their life?
  • Can we increase motivation and engagement by offering reasons to learn that go beyond - because it's on the test?
  • Can they create something real that will be more than a classroom project but actually allow them to interact with the world in an authentic way?
  • How can I use this lesson to deliver an inspirational message?
  • What type of life-changing lesson can be incorporated into the content?
  • What type of essential questions can I ask that allow students the opportunity for personal reflection and growth?
  • How can I provide opportunities for autonomy and choice in this unit/lesson?
  • Can I allow students interest to dictate our direction and learning while still covering what we need to address?
  • How can I release some of my control and provide students the chance to be the experts and directors of this subject?
  • What current events are related to this lesson?
  • Is there a hot topic in the news or on campus that I can use to capture student interest?
  • What aspect of current pop culture can I tie into this material?
  • In what ways can I incorporate currently popular trends, fads, TV shows, and movies in order to make this relevant and engaging for my class?
  • Can I put intriguing images of current events on the walls with QR codes underneath that link to more information?
**DISCUSSION QUESTION** - Choose ONE (or more, if you like)  of the HOOKS from above.  How have used this HOOK or how do you plan to use a HOOK in the future to engage your students?
Natasha Burk
2/16/2014 04:23:37 am

In our department (Middle School French), we use the student-directed hook for the majority of our projects. Rather than forcing students to all complete the same project, we give them options, based on their talents and strengths. For example: for our clothing unit, students have the option to present a "clothing catalogue" page or to complete a "fashion show" (on video or in-class). I've found that students have had A LOT of fun doing these projects because they're excited about their presentations and feel confident with them at the end.

Laurie Budhu
2/16/2014 05:52:06 am

I often use the Hobby Hook or the Opportunistic Hook when assigning projects. For example, students were to design a logo within certain criteria, but they could create any company, name it and create the logo ideas for it. Later, in a unit on package design, they created a package for an item based on that same company. Each student's company reflected their interests like sports, make up, technology, animals, you name it! A few students created cereal boxes with prizes and contests on the back!

David Castaldo
2/16/2014 07:24:35 am

One of the obvious hooks that I use in my Art classroom is the Picasso Hook so I won't use that as my example.
-I try to stay away from art projects that have nothing to do with the interests of my students, for example: how can a student do a painting of a cityscape if they have never left South Brunswick? Just as Laurie said above, I try to use the Hobby Hook as much as possible in my classroom. Art projects have that freedom that almost any topic could be customized to become very individualized. This enables them to be fully engaged in the art making process while adding the opportunity to add their own creative touches to the project.

David Castaldo
2/16/2014 07:28:28 am

I also try to use the opportunistic hook as much as possible. Street Artist, Banksy, made a big scene using the New York City streets as his canvas a few months ago which opened up great conversation and debate about street art and graffiti.

Heidi Carlson
2/16/2014 08:03:43 am

This section was really great to read. I have always used the real-world application hook with my students. I find it is important that students understand how the different emotions and feeling that occur in PE do occur outside of the gym too. I hope that my class helps them to use these "emotional" skills in places outside of the gym. A need hook I will try is the Student Hobby Hook. This can be very advantageous as a PE teacher because I can then create lessons/units that students are interested in. I would like to do some kind of survey in the beginning of the year next year to find out more about my students' interest and hobbies. Even if they are not into athletics, there are still so many ways to connect the fine and gross motor skills used in PE to other hobbies. I am looking forward to making these connections and implementing them.

Brian Hunter
2/16/2014 08:45:45 am

I just recently tried a "drama hook." (Stolen idea from a tweet of Bonnie's about Rick Luca's class) I teach a unit on the Blues and in order to teach the background of the blues I break the class into small groups and have them read about a portion and share back with the larger group the section that they are experts in (a Kagan structure - I don't remember the name of it). Sometimes this can still be boring, so I set up the room ala Tonight Show and interviewed each group as guests that were experts.
I think I had as much fun as the students did!

Joanne Kerekes
2/23/2014 07:59:09 pm

Like Brian, I too used the drama hook with frequency when I taught-- with one of my favorite units of study being a "Meeting on Mount Olympus" during a 6th grade mythology unit. Think togas, ambrosia, nectar, gods, goddesses (well before the days of limitations on foods with sugar). There was also a "student directed hook" in place here as well as the students wrote and conducted the meeting itself. I still remember the unit with fondness. The kids loved it.

Catherine O'Keefe
2/16/2014 09:24:56 am

I teach Social Studies, so it was very easy for me to connect with many of the examples of hooks Burgess supplied. I've used the dance/drama hook with much success simply because it is a natural way to have the students step into the historical moment. If it is a more complex topic like economics, I sometimes have them create a news report program on it and it allows them to find a real world application along with student directed hook because they have fun coming up with the format of their "show", the name of their "show" and the roles they will each play. I liked reading this chapter because it gave me labels for the things happening in my classroom along with opening my eyes to more possibilities.

Cynthia Antunes
2/16/2014 10:18:23 am

As an elementary school teacher, I try to incorporate Kinesthetic (brain breaks, SCOOT games, scavenger hunts, etc) and Mozart (songs and raps) hooks frequently. I love finding songs and raps to go along with the concepts students are learning. When learning about long division, students learned the lyrics and dance motions to "Long Division Style" (parody of Gangnam Style). When I taught second grade, I taught a "Butterfly Rap" and students would act the different stages of the life cycle. In a few days, I plan to have my students play "Fraction Hopscotch" where they will have to jump to equivalent fractions. I also love to use the People Prop hook because it also gets the students up and moving around.

Tina Ezzo
2/16/2014 08:39:31 pm

Currently there is an issue with the sinks in my science classroom, so using them for labs is not an option, at the moment. However, I still have a lab that I want to complete this week. Instead of just turning it into a demo using the document camera, I have revised my planning to set it up as stations so my students can "move it, move it" around the room as they make their observations. It solves the sink issue and will give students the opportunity to stretch their muscles and minds! I was also impressed by the number of ways the author incorporates music into his lessons. I have access to thousands of CDs (my husband is a collector) and I really want to try to tap into music more...I'm thinking Joni Mitchell (or Counting Crows) Big Yellow Taxi for the upcoming Ecology Unit. Any other suggestions????

Sweeti Tailor
2/18/2014 04:02:37 am

In this coming week, I will be starting economics. This probably sounds like a complete bore to most people but I LOVE teaching this unit. It's funny because my real world hook is a project I like to call the "Real World Project." Students will get a job and learn about taxes, social security, retirement, and paying bills. They get so excited when we see how much money they are going to make and then Uncle Sam takes his share, they need to pay back school loans, pay health insurance, get a place to live, get an affordable car, possibly find a roommate...This project excites and stresses them out and teaches them so much about personal finance! There is no other unit that I teach that I find to be more relevant than this one. I can't wait to get started!

Alanna O'Shea
2/20/2014 09:01:14 am

I wish I had done a project like that in high school- you are giving them such a valuable life lesson.

Danielle Procaccini
2/19/2014 04:34:52 am

A few weeks ago, we started our "How-To" writing unit in my kindergarten class. Before giving the children a pencil and paper to write their books, we took the first week exploring the topic. In our exploration of the topic, I used the "Craft Store Hook" with my class. To further their understanding of a "How-To" book, I felt that having them actually make a craft following step by step directions would give them a better grasp on the topic. We made two crafts following step by step directions and by beginning the unit with a "Craft Store Hook", I believe that it gave my students a deeper understanding of the topic.

2/21/2014 01:49:31 pm

Danielle, our buddy classes could help re-visit this, as 5th graders follow a How-To essay recipe as well... I revere K teachers (having taught K once; it was by far, the most difficult, yet wondrous grade level). You can't say, "Begin reading page 143 and I'll be with you in a moment..." Come to think of it, you can't say that in ANY grade anymore... unless it's carefully disguised as an 'anticipatory set'. And if you thought I was going to say, "First of all, they--the K's--- can't count to 143, you're so wrong... K's are 'skip-counting' to 100 and beyond. They are amazing... Heck, when I was in Kindergarten, I remember standing in a circle singing "I'm a Little Teapot, Short and Stout..." (the song jinxed my growth)... and scribbling in circles with a really 'stout' crayon. Oh, and running away screaming from 'stout' Scout Faust (who I had a teenie, tiny crush on), as he chased me with the live pet turtle he brought in for show 'n tell. Sharon Suskin, where were you when I needed you? I do want to commend my K teacher Mrs. Wenger, as she was an accomplished pianist, and always incorporated music and movement into the fun-filled, pre-SCOPA days of yester-year.

Jessica Heine-Steele
2/19/2014 10:07:35 pm

I have used the Safari Hook many times through out my teaching. I have used it for word study activities a lot. When looking for certain word patterns we would take a silent walk through the halls, having students stop every so often to right down what they have noticed. I have done a lot of science lessons outside when I taught Second Grade. However, now doing instructional support, I am now looking for new ways to incorporate this hook. I still do the word searches in the hall, but I could take students around to see some of the other works that are displayed through out the school. This can help them with their decoding as well as their writing skills, or even research depending on the type of work that is being displayed. Having students jot down three things they noticed on a clip board and then having a discussion when we return back to the classroom could be very beneficial.

Lorie Ruina
2/20/2014 04:48:39 am

I definitely learned some new hooks in this section! One that I use often is the student-directed hook. As a writing teacher, I have a lot of opportunities to use student choice for writing pieces. What I have started to do is allow students to view a wide variety of mentor texts and when it comes time to write the piece, they are able to choose their topic and format. For example during our memoir unit, a student has the option to choose a children's book format, vignettes, essay style, etc. They can choose whatever style speaks to them and best fits the story they want to tell. It is pretty cool to see what they choose and then to hear why they feel that format best fits their piece.

Alanna O'Shea
2/20/2014 09:14:54 am

The Safari Hook is an obvious choice for our 3rd Grade Weather/Water Unit. One of the first lessons is a scavenger hunt in which students explore the outdoors with weather-based questions guiding them".. another one has them outside using their wind flag to measure wind speed. The wind flag lesson also has the Craft Store Hook because before going outside they create and decorate their own wind flags.

It's great when hooks are so obvious, but after reading this section I see so many other ways I can push myself to incorporate hooks in more of my lessons.

Milena Dawidowicz
2/20/2014 09:47:48 am

1.I use real world hook in my orchestra class as well in the general music class. When we learn rhythmic composition and apply it to actual instrument, or singing students love hearing what they are created. We often discuss the compositions and students come up with very interesting ideas.
2. I use people prop hook in general music classes for the younger kids, when they imitate different note values. It allows students to learn visually and kinetically.

Milena Dawidowicz
2/20/2014 09:54:18 am

Mozart hook is most natural to use in the music class. I often compare music of different composers, covering the same idea: for instance - Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky and Ellington. Students are amazed how the music can be changed by different style or time period.

Brenda Hershberger
2/21/2014 07:53:38 am

To connect students to Wilson concepts I use the real world application hook: food. For example, to help students remember the trigraph -dge, fudge, /j/, I make fudge and bring it in when a group reaches that in Step 7.

Brenda Hershberger
2/21/2014 07:58:14 am

This chapter has inspired me to do more of that to connect syllable types, welds...with food.

Jeanne Yannacci
2/23/2014 07:35:58 am

Brenda, I teach Wilson to younger students and I am always looking for ways to make this dry (but necessary and successful program) a little more exciting and interesting. I like the idea of bringing in food to motivate students and connect to their learning. Your post is motivating me to look for more fun and food ways to learn various syllables and sounds!

Marybeth DeCarlo
2/21/2014 10:26:11 am

This year I have been incorporating more kinesthetic hooks, like 4 corners and clock partners (DD) and have been using more music in my classes: to set a mood or theme for the topic we are learning that period. I use you tube videos with music that rewrite current songs with science lyrics. The kids love to sing along. Just recently, using an idea from a colleague, I copied the rewritten song lyrics and I had my students analyze the lyrics, apply their content knowledge, and look for the science facts within them. It was a lot of fun.

2/21/2014 03:10:04 pm

A!: Musical Hooks are a must for student engagement. My first year teaching 5th grade at 'ye old UES, was a privilege and an honor. Mrs. Joanne Kerekes was Principal, need I say more? Joanne was coming in for a formal ob. and I was told by team members, "Whatever you do, don't do a math lesson. Joanne used to teach math". What did I do? A math lesson, because I thought, 'I'll get authentic feedback from a 'qualified expert'' ... I modified a text lesson on place value and decimal points, with a 'cowboy' theme, to integrate our Social Studies, Western Expansion unit---- (Lord, how I miss that curriculum!) I'd recorded a 'cassette' tape of Cowboy music (which I had from my daughters' combined birthday gala from years past). You guessed it. It was a western theme. The invite started out something like this, Howdeeee! Olivia will be three, 'n Jillian's one, so 'common over 'n have some fun! About 13 children screeched with joy over galloping guests, Rusty and Cocoa, the sweetest ponies, groomed to shining perfection, with glitter in their manes and tails! But I digress... so I had this 'cassette' and I decided to play it to lead into my first observed lesson, my first-year teaching, ignoring first-hand advice from my mentor...and, Mrs. Kerekes, really liked it! It was playing, 'Roll 'em, roll 'em, roll 'em---, Rawhide! Ya!---'(LOVE that song ;) when Joanne entered. Another time, when Mrs. Kerekes was a guest reader at IF during the African American Read-In, she heard my class singing the spiritual, 'We Shall Overcome' coming over the outdoor PA. I taught and rehearsed the song w/ my class and recorded them singing with the help of our music teacher, Ed Cedar. Later that day, Mr. Cedar told me that Joanne had said she thought it was a professional group singing! Students and I were elated for the rest of the week! Two years ago, I played the Mike Tompkins video and song 'Stand Up' from the movie Bully. We were reading non-fiction text on Bullying issues and being upstanders, and students worked in station groups creating an Anti Bully-tin Board and school survey. The song featured Mike Tompkins beat-boxing all 'music', and is truly amazing. He is the one-man band w/ just his lips! Recently, in studying the Agricultural Revolution in Social Studies, we watched the Beatles video performance, Revolution, learning that the term means, 'radical change', and understanding how early man jump-started civilized 'city-state' living by simply by staying put, and poking a few seeds into the ground. Just today, I 'bookmarked' Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong playing trumpet and singing scat, as a supplement to a reading piece about this famous musician. And did you know that Jimi Hendrix started as a viola player? Read the book, Strings Attached, by Lipman and Kupchynsky---awesome. My 90's boombox plays Chopin, Andreas Boccelli, Vivaldi, and numerous nature scape medlies to set the mood for Writer's Workshop. I have a glowing disco-ball for future 'earned' Friday dance parties. And speaking of dance... When teaching 4th grade, my class choreographed and performed a Native American dance to share with other classes while learning about the Lenape. I'm into the am hours here and the eyelids are heavy, so on that note... Dobra noc! (Good night in Polish, pronounced, doh-BRAH-nohts)

2/22/2014 06:37:18 am

Just 'checked in' to see new posts and show my husband what we are doing. He saw the aforementioned post and said, "Holy Cow!". I thought aloud to myself, "I wonder why no one commented." He answered, "'Cause they're afraid you'll reply!" ...everybody's a comedian...

Joanne Kerekes
2/23/2014 08:00:19 pm

Mariola, I remember this lesson well. Some things are never forgotten :-)

Gabriela McCann
3/8/2014 01:21:39 am

Your description of the activities that you did are so vivid that it makes me want to include more music in my lessons! I trust you with the book recommendation too, now that I am looking for something new to read. Thanks for sharing!

2/21/2014 09:50:05 pm

I would say I use the real world hook in every student lesson as possible. Teaching the Life Skills class, on my student level lessons have to be what they would use in the everyday world. Language lessons are words and pictures they would see while out in the community. Money skills so they are able to go grocery shopping. For this I put a picture on an envelope that they are purchasing and money inside that is the amount needed to purchase this item. Students simply hand the money to the cashier, and place the change inside. As students progress with this, I can put the money needed on the back of the envelope and students can match money and then make their purchase. Students practice these skills while out on Community Based Instruction after practicing it in the classroom. This allows them to make the connection why they are practicing these skills.

Rick Luca
2/21/2014 11:54:20 pm

A.1: I have used nearly all of these hooks in various capacities. I try to use the real-world hook often because I've noticed students want to be connected to the world so much! They are so eager to know about weather disasters, or where other countries are and how they differ from ours. If there is one hook I need to do more of, it would be the craft hook. I do not do crafts as much as I should for being a second grade teacher. This is why I try to host student teachers since, more often than not, they are SO eager to come up with craft-y lessons.

Vivian Scavo
2/22/2014 02:39:11 am

Like Rick, I've used most of these but as a middle school math instructional support teacher, the most powerful by far is real world. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the, "Why do we need to learn this, we're never going to use it…" As soon as the kids understand how the math concept applies to their current or future lives, I've got them! Challenges also work extremely well. The unit structure allows me to do exactly what Burgess did with his "box". I just have to mention what one unit accomplished and the next unit naturally tries to outdo them - it's magical ;)

Sue Zavaglia
2/22/2014 06:40:12 am

For years now I have had students whenever we talk about equations in math stand and stretch out their arms...their body is the equal sign and their arms the two sides of the equation...keeping it balanced is the remind it gives. I have had students return and still remember me asking them to do it or remembering me walking around the room while they were taking a quiz or test with equations with my arms out. I also tried a rap song this year created by a "math student" in college about adding and subtracting integers...some students still sing it when working with integers as a means of remembering. Movement and music always help to stir memory. Using any of our senses I feel can do this. We just need to tap into it.

Jennifer Abbey
2/22/2014 07:07:21 am

The "opportunistic" hook is one that I have found myself using in my fifth grade classroom. Connecting with my students through current events or fads that interest them (rainbow looms at the start of the year, but that craze seems to have vanished now) helps to grab their interest and let them know that I am paying attention to what matters to them. Incorporating these interests into math problems or sentences for word study help to keep routine assignments more engaging.
Another one I use often is the " life-changing" hook. Fifth graders are at that unique age where they are still young and innocent elementary students, but they are rapidly approaching the middle school years. Preparation for this transition includes not only academic readiness, but social awareness as well. Any time I can throw an inspirational message in with a lesson, I do. I personally am drawn to stories of overcoming obstacles and paying it forward. I bring these messages into the classroom in hopes that my students will understand the importance of being a good person and making your mark in this world.

Lisa Manganello
2/22/2014 12:50:45 pm

I often find myself using the opportunistic hook in my library lessons. The more a teacher shares with me about what his or her students are working on the more connections I can build into my lesson. One approach I use is to get the students hooked at the start of my lesson with a quick quiz. I put high interest questions on the screen when the students arrive and use these as a do now. I ask students to answer with a show of hands and then I follow up by asking student volunteers to explain why they voted for a specific answer. I pick questions related to the topic the students will be working on (Banned book stats for a banned book talk, death penalty facts for a class researching capital punishment) I try to pick questions that have surprising answers to hook students on the appeal of the topic.

Karen Harbison
2/22/2014 08:39:08 pm

I loved reading about and being reminded of all these hooks! One of my favorites is the Safari Hook. I've taken my math students on walks through the school and courtyard to find examples of geometry terms. I challenge them to locate as many examples as possible of terms like: acute, obtuse, and right angles, intersecting and perpendicular lines, 2D and 3D shapes, etc. In writing, we have taken walks to collect ideas for essays and narratives.
I like to use the Mozart hook, but I am challenged to find music that might be appropriate for learning fractions? Sometimes, just having music playing in the background while we are working has a calming effect on the students (and me)!
This week, I plan to use the Life-Changing Hook and the Drama Hook in my reading groups. I think the Life-Changing Hook goes well with the district initiative of learning about "grit" and what it is. There are so many stories about inspirational people that we can all learn from.

Molly DeVito
2/22/2014 08:56:44 pm

When I taught at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf this past summer, I worked with a group of 5 kindergartners that had other special needs and received other services including: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and American Sign Language (similar to speech for hearing and hard of hearing students) services, Needless to say, we tried to work on MANY skills throughout the day. The kinesthetic hook is definitely one I used often. Not only did it build on their gross motor skills, but many of the movement activities also encouraged social interaction, another skill that many of my students needed to improve. This was not an easy group to engage, so allowing them to move around often kept them alert and much more willing to cooperate. They also benefited from the brain break these activities provided.

Patricia Metzger
2/23/2014 03:43:58 am

Depending on the lesson, as a social studies teacher and this year as we cover our modern world through the social sciences, I use current events to bring students to "their" world. I set parameters but ask students to find a news event that connects to our big idea or essential question - hoping that if they choose it will be something that interests them. I love it when students share opinions about issues they did not even know existed before our class. Students are interested in the lives of students in other parts of the world and become empathetic, global citizens when they realize what others experience.

Movement is essential. Even if it is just asking students to push in their chairs and find a partner from another table, getting up and getting moving and having some choice over who to talk to can make an ordinary lesson more eventful.

Kelly Iadarola
2/23/2014 03:48:58 am

Most often in my teaching I find myself using the kinesthetic hook with my Kindergarteners. One of my groups is working really hard to learn their letters and corresponding sounds. I have made it a goal that each week we engage in 2 activities that require movement, whether it be musical chairs with the letters or "Mother May I?" I definitely need a PD on brain breaks. I was only introduced in a quick faculty meeting session. Would love more PD on brain breaks!!!

Caroline Gonzalez
2/24/2014 08:27:30 am

I have a couple of bouncy balls in my room so that students can use them in place of chairs. During that time they have the limited freedom of movement on the balls while still getting their work done within the 30 minute time frame.

Shannon Stahl
2/23/2014 05:45:20 am

As an ending to my unit on The Crucible I have decided to answer the following question for one of my hooks in the unit "Can I provide the opportunity for my students to do skits or appear in videos related to what we are learning?" One of the things they loved about the unit was that they got to act the play out in front of the class and we experienced the entire thing together. I forced them to get into their roles which included voice inflection, actions and props. The one thing that still had them confused though was the language of the play. So as an end to the unit my students will be working in groups and choosing one of the acts to portray in a modern scenario. I already have one group that wants to make The Crucible a musical using modern songs, but changing the lyrics. They were so excited about this project that I felt like they actually might do a better job than I even anticipated when I originally got the idea. I have incorporated technology by getting the flip cams ready and they will be utilizing GoogleDrive to type up their scripts. I really can't wait to see how they turn out.

Aida Gibbard
2/23/2014 05:55:14 am

I've used the people prop hook in The Algebra Walk lesson which shows students how a line moves by changing the constant or coefficient. Half the students observe while the others are the coordinates on the line and then they switch roles. I've also used the real-world hook to teach sales tax and tip where students play as if they are in a restaurant and have to order, compute the bill and then divide the bill. I'd like to use more music in my classroom and will look for ways to incorporate this into helping students remember processes for solving problems - maybe create songs.

Robert Spadafora
2/23/2014 06:24:46 am

I think the student directed hook and hobby hook is something I rely on for writing especially. Students write best about things they are familiar with and know about. In a special education classroom this is all that more important. By incorporating interests and hobbies into writing it takes stress away from starting the writing and it allows my students to expend more energy on the content and quality of their writing. It is often a difficult subject for my students, but knowing they can pick and chose where there writing is going and what there writing is going to be about helps. The recent non-fiction unit we are working has been evidence of that.

Christa Freeman
2/23/2014 07:20:39 am

I recently used the Safari Hook to teach my students the importance of setting. The students were having such a hard time understanding how important the setting is to a story. I took the students to the book closet for class and started to teach there (it is a very small cramped area). Eventually the students started to ask why we were having class in there and began to discuss how it was uncomfortable. The discussion and teaching opportunities flourished from the experience on the importance of setting.
I am planning on using the People Prop Hook to help my students with sentences. They almost always forget to use periods or know where to use a period. I am going to have them be the words and the periods, exclamation points and question marks. We are going to physically move around and see where the punctuation goes.

Jeanne Yannacci
2/23/2014 07:45:46 am

I am enjoying reading everyone's post and getting great ideas. I use the safari hook in math -looking for arrays and angles, etc. I use the real world application when possible in math and it is readily there for me when I use the LLI kit red level, challenging the students to think how could they make the world a better place. The hook I need to work on incorporating more is the student directed hook. I need to work on releasing my control, which isn't easy to do.

Sandy Behn
2/23/2014 08:30:03 am

I used the drama hook to introduce a project for Greek myths. I created a Greek theater mask of Medusa and created a quick monologue to introduce this monster of myth. The students will be doing the same thing next week with Greek gods that they randomly chose out of a hat. They loved seeing me out of character and the enthusiasm they had about being able to create their own mask and monologue was palpable. What they don't realize is that they are actually practicing the skills they need for the 6th grade research project presentations.

Joanne Kerekes
2/23/2014 08:03:17 pm

What I liked most about this section on hooks was that it tied it really well with the work we have done on boy learners-- the movement, the "is there another place where this lesson would be best taught," the visual, the hobbies, the current events. Good for girls; great for boys.

Heidi Carlson
2/24/2014 11:31:54 am

I couldn't agree with you more. This section and the various hooks it offers would keep my boys learners on the edge of their seats in PE. I am excited to try some different strategies and see what works best in my classroom.

Nancy Maurer
2/24/2014 04:54:01 am

Hooks! I love hooks! I had a supervisor a while back who referred to them as gimmicks and commented that I always seemed to have one for teaching my Language Arts classes; at the time I thought maybe she was trying to insult me, but now I take it as a high compliment because I do think it keeps the interest level up in my class. I especially love to use music in the classroom as so many of us do- I am surrounded by great fans of music at Crossroads as Tina(your hubby's collection is awe-inspiring- KISS doesn't have a song on ecology? ;) and Marybeth have mentioned- so any chance for kids to create playlists for the Writing Environment in my room is fun and inspirational. My Writing Environment is a Hook of sorts as students get cozy in odd spots in the room, wearing favorite slippers, wearing snuggies or hugging stuffed animals while listening to motivational music to create an Environment conducive to writing their best pieces. I also have special chairs in my room (Barstools from my parents old basement) that are designated as the "Author's Chairs" where students share the pieces they are writing with the class. Oh and of course - Shakespeare- when we do a play it is all about the costumes I have in class and going outside to perform it "in the round" as though we are at The Globe. I get excited just thinking about it!Yup- I love hooks!

Joanne Hamza
2/26/2014 05:19:19 am

After reading this section I realized that I use a lot of these Hooks and there is a whole lot more that I can incorporate into my lessons. the Hook that stands out the most for me currently would have to be the The Kinesthetic Hook. With kindergarteners they really can't sit for too long before they start to wiggle. I do lots of movement songs incorporating both Kinesthetic and the Mozart Hook. I love "The Learning Station" They have tons of songs that are found in the Responsive Classroom Activity section but have the video to go along with the music. So students can see all the moves as well as sing. I also love brain breaks sometimes from a simple stretch to a quick game of find it fast with colors or letters or shapes.
Being a crafty person, I love to incorporate The Picasso Hook as well as the Craft Store Hook. I love to see what the students can create. I am actually just starting to incorporate the Dance and Drama Hook with puppets. The students get a real kick out of it when our little "Suzy" is teaching something.

Jeanette Barton
3/2/2014 03:51:37 am

I used the People Prop hook to spice up an MLA in-text citations lesson. I had a bunch of index cards labeled with pieces of in-text citations spread out on a table. I projected various citation scenarios, like a quote taken from a book written by John Smith on page 12. The students came up in small groups and chose the correct citation pieces from the pile of cards. Then they held the cards up and put themselves in order to build the citation. It especially helped them to remember to put the period last.

Jaime Goldkrantz
3/7/2014 09:37:52 am

I would say a combo of Mozart and Dance/Drama hook. I have classes that are LOVING songs & dances this year. Most recently, we learned a song to the tune of the Addam's family to help remember the steps of simplifying fractions. We also learned the "Fraction Shuffle" (Cupid Shuffle Parody) to help learn the steps for adding fractions in unlike denominators. I love the idea of using music for transitions.

3/8/2014 02:05:38 am

I've used a combination of 'hooks', more recently a 'life changing hook' with my 8th graders. We looked into what healthy eating is about through discussions, mini-projects, research tasks, and readings. As we were preparing to create our own powerful messages about this topic to share with our French pen pals, I found a really wonderful video about bullying in French (talking about powerful messages!). The video had very few words, and it was easy for my students to understand (link attached). I connected this video with what it takes for a message to reach the audience, ways we can support the message, differences between commercials and clips like the one we looked at, biased messages, and even challenges for adult up standers vs children up standers. I loved this lesson because I indirectly presented the requirements for the project, and students got excited about creating videos with compelling messages.

Kim Fritsch
3/9/2014 12:08:13 am

Gabriella, that is really great and you're really getting your students to think critically. I too, have just used the "life changing hook" last week. My students (instructional support) have just read the biography called William's Windmills. William Kamkwamba invented a windmill that created electricity for his village in Malawi, Africa. My students read this book, but still had a difficult time of really understanding the author's message and purpose for writing this book - trust yourself, believe in your dreams and never give up. So I searched online and found that William Kamkwamba had given a couple of talks at TED conferences. I viewed them and found that his most recent talk was ideal to show them (it was short, less than 5 minutes). The next day, I showed them the video and gave them one focus question, which pertained to the overall message he shared with the audience. The students were able to physically see and hear William speaking, which I felt was powerful for them. With my guidance and discussion afterwards, my students were then able to pick out the author's message.

Shauna Beardslee
3/9/2014 05:24:40 am

I am actually doing the opportunistic hook this week. At the end of last week, it was announced that the SAT is being revamped. Immediately, my 11th graders were buzzing about it. Since I am trying to incorporate as much non-fiction into my classroom as possible, this is a great time to get them reading articles and editorials about something they are really interested in. I have already started collecting a variety of articles/editorials that either promote or take issue with the revamped test. Besides the obvious benefits with reading and comprehension, these articles will yield great discussions about the SAT, standardized testing, college pressures, plus any emotional and personal connections students will make and share.

Nicole Heyer
3/9/2014 06:20:07 am

I have recently used the Picasso Hook in our Geometry unit. After students learned about polygons, angles, and lines they received a letter from Mr. Geo Metric. He was asking them to design a town with different qualifications. There had to be a certain number of roads that were parallel, perpendicular, and interesting. The houses had to be certain polygons. The town buildings had to be certain quadrilaterals. They also had to find angles within their design to highlight. They loved working on the project and they all look great!

Dan Schwamberger
3/13/2014 12:54:54 pm

I used the opportunistic hook by having my students complete their O.P.E.N. Responses to current event articles from At the end of the week we discussed the articles and did opinion meters as mentioned in Burgess' book (very fun strategy!) Also, I use the safari hook when I teach about imagery and sensory details in writing. (During much warmer weather) We go for a brief nature walk then find a spot to write about what we see, hear, feel, etc. I've used the Mozart hook as a calming mechanism for setting the atmosphere (thank you Pandora for "Light Classical"). I've also changed lyrics to songs to meet content needs and to address disruptive behaviors in a non-threatening manner. In the future I would like to try the student-directed and craft store hooks.

Alicia Fultz
3/23/2014 06:33:13 am

The following comments were mistakenly put into the 2nd half of "hooks" so you will see these comments repeated when reading those comments. My apologies.

Some of the "hooks" that I've used are:
The Kinesthetic Hook - I try to get my students moving whether it be walking around the room during a marker talk, using stations to jigsaw information, or simply asking students to go to the board sometime before the class ends to add their thoughts to a question on the board.

The Safari Hook - I will often take my students out to the pond when the whether gets warmer to read our novel or create poetry during our poetry unit by the pond. Our last two novels of the year are set where nature plays a part in the story and writing poems on sounds we hear or sights we are seeing is more meaningful. It's also a time where my students are very content to sit quietly and listen rather than constantly trying to engage someone in conversation.

The Picasso Hook - If I can, since I was an art major for two years in college, I always look for ways to incorporate some art into my lessons. It could simply be creating a comic strip to summarize the lesson, coloring a piece of stained glass to represent a setting in one of our novels or a more complex group piece where everyone creates an illustrated piece of our history to include on our class "Robe" as is written about in one of our novels.

Kim Zito
3/26/2014 09:38:04 am

I definitely need to work to incorporate more of the different hooks in my teaching. After learning about boys and movement in learning, I switched up my orientation to have the kids moving around the library. Many times lessons are computer-based, so that makes movement more difficult, so my go-to hook is the real-world application hook. As I point out, most of the skills I'm teaching them involve life-long learning. I frequently remind them that they'll always be researching and searching for information, or that reading opens up worlds to them. Burgess gives us a great overview of different options which I'll plan to consult in future lesson planning!

12/13/2016 08:56:42 pm

nice presentation


Leave a Reply.


    Bonnie Capes, Lead Learner at Cambridge Elementary School, is passionate about teaching and learning.  She has been inspired by Dave Burgess's book, "Teach Like A Pirate" and hopes that you will be too! 

    Rick Luca, 2nd Grade Teacher at Cambridge Elementary School, is excited to join this book study and share his knowledge.

    Laura Cervino, Elementary Technology and G&T Teacher, is excited to participate in this book study and looking forward to the online collaboration.

    Jill Czyzyk, Elementary Technology and G&T Teacher, is thrilled to join this online discussion.  She looks forward to being inspired by the talented teachers of SB. 

    On Saturday Mornings from 8:30am - 9:30am we will continue the conversation with a twitter chat.  

    FOLLOW #tlapsb

    For information on how to sign up for twitter:  click here...


    January 2014