Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Weekly Reflection: 3. Planning Instruction: The Interest Approach

As we are finishing up our unit on instructional design and beginning to dive into the meat of lesson planning, I think the best place to start is at the beginning.  So, let's talk about interest approaches.

We hear over and over that if you don't capture your students in the first few minutes, then the rest of the class is history.  Its important to get your students interested, engaged, and ready to learn right off the bat.  But it can be really challenging to bring new, fresh, and exciting ideas to every lesson, every class.

I read this incredible book over the summer called Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess; a great read for both practicing and pre-service teachers.  The book had one part completely dedicated to interest approaches and hooks alone!

Right after reading the interest approach section, I posted my thoughts in a blog post to NAAE Communities of Practice.  Check it out!

Teach Like a Pirate: All About the Hook!
I know at this point I may sound like a broken record because I think everyone is saying the same thing, but Teach Like a Pirate rocks my socks!!  I read the most of the second section of the book while we were traveling from place to place in Korea and I had many epiphanies on that charter bus.  The second section was all about hooks for your lessons.  I think one of the biggest reasons that this section was so appealing to me was because I have always had an interest in Gardner's Multiple Intelligences ever since hearing about them in high school.  I am a very visual learner so it is fascinating to think about the different ways that people learn.  But because I learn best one way, doesn't mean my students will.  I will have to be really intentional about incorporating many different ways of learning into my lessons and as I was reading through the section section, it was easy to see all of the different modalities of learning that we were being addressed, beginning with the hook of the lesson.  Burgess just provided example after example after example of different ways to begin your lessons and I cannot wait to try them out and see what works for me in my classroom!
     As I read through the book, I took notes one some of my favorite examples of hooks for lessons and wrote down ways to potentially use these in my ag classes someday, maybe even as soon as student teaching.
  • The Techno Whiz Hook- Burgess talks in this section about the need to embrace technology in the classroom because it is not going to go away.  Sometimes technology can be a distraction in the classroom but instead of fighting it, let's reel it in and use it to our advantage.  One of the questions posed in the section is "How can I leverage the power of social media to empower my students to engage in their education beyond the standard school day?"  Then I got to thinking, each day we will have an essential question on the board at the beginning of class, but why not tweet it out to the students before class so students can come in with their minds already thinking about the answer, allowing us to maximize our time and jump right into to the discussion.
  • The Board Message Hook- So I kind of took this idea and went another direction with it, but the original concept is still there.  Burgess suggests using QR codes, the fun little squares you can scan with your smart phone, to display the essential question or board messages.  I love the QR code idea and actually hope to use this in my Small Gas Engines class at Greenwood in the Spring.  I will be teaching, or rather my students will be teaching each other, a unit on equipment safety.  I think it would be neat for small groups to make a 30 second video about that particular piece of equipment and link it to a QR code.  I will display the QR codes around the shop so that way students can access the safety videos any time they want.  Isn't technology handy?
     These were just two of the many ideas that the second section of the book sparked for me.  I look forward to not only finishing the book, but beginning to plan ways to implement what I have learned right into my lessons.


  1. Excellent Job. Focus in on Monday on the more than 30 different specific tools to engage learners with E-Moments. Take that Strategies for Great Teaching Book on the road with you to Springfield!


  2. Great post, Janae! Thanks so much for writing about TLAP. I really appreciate it and I'm happy it has had an impact.