1:1 Learning (1) 9/11 (1) ABC (5) Adjectives (4) Alliteration (1) American Government (7) Animals (1) Art (12) Artbotics (7) Australia (1) Author Study (1) BIG PLANS (16) Biographies (8) Black History Program (4) Blog love (18) Book Love (33) Boot Camp (2) Capacity (1) Celebrity Story Saturday (71) Charlotte's Web (25) CHEScompetition (1) ClassDojo (3) Common Core (6) Conservation (2) Contractions (2) Doubles (1) Dr. Seuss (8) Fact and Opinion (2) Family Night (1) Fiction and Nonfiction (1) Field Day (2) Field Trip (2) Food Chains (2) Fossils (1) Fractions (1) Friendly Letters (1) Garden (3) General Delk (5) George Washington Carver (2) Get It (3) Grammar (23) Guest Bloggers (1) Harriet Tubman (2) Health Fair (2) Holiday fun (9) Homophones (1) Inferring (1) Informational Writing (1) International Reading Association (1) iZone (4) Jan Richardson (1) Junior Achievement (3) Just for fun (36) Landforms (4) Lapbooks (3) Learning through play (7) Life Cycles (1) literacy centers (7) Literacy Night (1) Magnets (1) MakerSpace (1) Martin Luther King Jr (3) Math (34) Math Minutes (1) Mini Math Lessons (11) Mini Word Walls (3) Multiplication (3) Mythology (1) Natural Resources (1) Nouns (2) Parts of speech (1) Perimeter (1) Persuasive writing (1) Poetry (10) Power Points (20) Presidents (3) Printables (38) Professional Development (36) Projects (9) Public Library (1) QR Codes (2) Read 20 (6) Read Across America (5) Reading (28) Reads and Seeds (8) Reminders (15) Research Projects (6) Royalty (4) Science (38) Science experiment (12) Science Night (1) Sentences (3) Shapes (8) Shout Outs (35) Simile (4) SIOP (6) Small Groups (7) Social Studies (10) Solar System (3) Songs and Chants (6) songs in lessons (8) Space (2) Subject/ Predicate (1) Synonyms (1) Tall Tales (1) Tasty Text Tuesday (9) TCAP (2) Teach Like a Pirate (8) Time (1) Up-Cycling (1) Verbs (4) Vocabulary (19) Writing (15)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate- Stand & Deliver, Advanced Tactics, and Around the Edges

We're almost done with Part II of Teach Like a Pirate! These are the final 3 chapters of Part II.

Some reminders-
1. For my CHES people, this book study is voluntary (and fun!). You are in no way required to read this book, but if you participate you may count this on your PD form for next year.

2. There will be discussion questions during the study. Your answers and comments will be the accountability piece of the PD. All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of the post with your addition to the discussion.

3. To quote my Momma, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Let's not get snarky. (That goes for me as well. I'll keep my sarcasm to a bare minimum. Lord, help me.)

4. Have fun! This book is all about how to become a better, more energetic, more joyful educator. Some parts may resonate more with you than others and that's OK. Take what pieces of information work for you and use them. The rest, you can toss overboard

Stand & Deliver
Did you know that more people are afraid of speaking in public than they are of dying? That means more people would rather die than give a speech!
 The Hooks found in this chapter focus on you, the teacher, and how you present the topics and interact with your class. 
Burgess begins the chapter by asking: Do you consider yourself a public speaker? Do you know most teachers would say that there were not?
I remember having to assist in a presentation in front of my fellow teachers at CHES. It wasn't a big thing, just presenting a list of reading strategies that my small group camp up with. Imagine my surprise when one of my partners absolutely refused to join the group up front. She completely froze and said she hated being in front of people. 

I was in total shock. This wonderful, competent, talented teacher who commands her classroom day-in and day-out was freaked out at the thought of speaking in front of her peers. 
 Well, on the plus side, you became a teacher because, while you might not be fond of speaking in public, you aren't worried about speaking to children! These 6 Hooks are easy ways to improve your performance in front of your captive audience. 

The Storytelling Hook: 5 total 
  •  How would speaking in character, using accents, changing intonations, and varying volume for effect (even whispering) have an impact on the class?
For you elementary teachers, you understand that when reading a story to the class you absolutely must do the different characters' voices. Honestly, you know that you must over-do the voices and make the story larger than life. Mothers and fathers learn the same thing while reading stories to their kids. There is power in a well told story. (Seriously, it worked for Jesus didn't it?)

In my class, I've used a British accent when teaching new "proper" vocabulary to my students. We no longer say 'yes' and 'no'. We use proper words like 'affirmative' and 'negative'. Why say, "We're fixin' to go to lunch", when we can say, "We are preparing ourselves for luncheon"? My students ATE. IT. UP.
They loved it so much it turned into the thing to do with new vocabulary words. Can't do a British accent? Watch the BBC's rendition on Pride & Prejudice. It's 6 hours of awesome. You'll have an accent in no time!

The Swimming With the Sharks Hook: 5 total

  • Can I participate in the activity?
 "Don't get stuck presenting every lesson from the same spot." (Burgess p.119)
 Use the room like a stage. Enter stage right, move to the center, round to stage left... you get the idea. Remember Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society? Oh Captain, my Captain! Carpe Diem! Use the desks, use the chairs, walk to a different beat, a different pattern. 

Mingle with the students during the lesson to let them know that you are coming to them. You're in the middle of the lesson, just like they are.  
As an added bonus- one of my favorite scenes: about conforming (or not!)

The Taboo Hook: 4 total
  •  How can I position my topic so that it seems like a little known secret?
"Obviously, you need to adjust your taboo hook for the age and maturity of your students, but even a kindergartener will be drawn in by the possibility of learning a secret or something their friends or parents don't know." (Burgess p.120-121)

Would you like to know a secret about our Assistant Principal? Mrs. O has a magic mailbox that can send letters to anyone! She uses it every year to send letters to Mrs. Clause. Mrs. Clause then chooses the best letters, and the authors of the letters are invited to attend a hot chocolate and cookie party! It's magic!

So, when we studied persuasive writing, along with letter writing, we used the magic mailbox to get letters to Farmer Brown. Farmer Brown, in turn, wrote back. It went back and forth all week! At the end of the week, Farmer Brown came to us!

The Mime Hook: 5 total
  • Can I use mime techniques and gestures to get my point across?
I purposefully use this technique when teaching different foldables that we use during our lessons. I start by passing out paper, then quietly holding my piece in the air. My students close their mouths and do the same thing. I use my ELMO and Promethean so everyone can see my folds. After every fold I raise my paper in the air. When my students are ready for the next step, they raise theirs in the air too. If a students needs help, he or she will raise a finger in the air and I will come to their desk.  It's all nice and quiet.

The Teaser Hook: 5 total
  • How can I spark interest in this lesson by promoting it ahead of time?
"Promote, market, and sell are three business practices that belong in the classroom." (Burgess p.122)
Burgess states that he will end a lesson by telling his students that the best is yet to come! You must come to class tomorrow to see what comes next!

When I taught counting coins to my first graders, first I introduced them to Miracle Money Grow!

The Backwards Hook: 3 total
  • Can I tell them the end of the story and let them figure out and discover the beginning and middle?
Burgess likens this hook to a CSI episode. Now, I've never seen the show, so I'll liken it to my favorite crime solving team: Castle and Beckett.
In crime dramas we are introduced to the victim, then we have to out together the who, what, when, where, and why. We must work backwards.
Another example I can think of is the Sideways Stories From Wayside School series by Louis Sachar. I can't remember which of the books it was in, but I remember the title of one of the chapters was "Purple". The entire chapter was written backwards. I'm not going to spoil it for you. Let's just say, it was a memorable chapter.

Advanced Tactics: Not for the faint of heart!

The Mission Impossible Hook: 7 total
  • Can they be provided a treasure map or sent an a scavenger hunt through your content?
When I taught 2nd grade, one of my favorite lessons was on the Oregon Trail. My students were lead on a treasure hunt through the school looking for golden tickets with clues on them. At the end of the hunt, all the students had tickets that invited them to a cowboy campfire at the end of the week. 

The Reality TV Hook: 4 total
  • How can I design my lesson to take advantage of the popularity of reality TV?
It helps if students are familiar with reality TV. Truthfully, it would be helpful if I were. I don't watch a lot of reality shows, but I do enjoy Project Runway. When we studies Kwanzaa, I brought in different types of clothing and fabrics to study the culture and celebrations. We had a good time dressing up and modeling!

The Techno Whiz Hook: 9 total
  • How can technology be used to bridge gaps between school and the real world?
Um, hello? Have you ever heard of blogging? My students love seeing themselves through pictures and videos on the blog! We use our ipads to aid in research projects and classrooms use skype to talk to people all around the world! Technology is a wonderful thing!

"When used correctly, technology can enhance the effectiveness of your lesson, increase engagement, and even strengthen the relationships between the humans that comprise your class." (Burgess p.128)

Around the Edges

The Contest Hook: 4 total
  • What type of review game can I design to ramp up the entertainment level of my class?
Burgess writes about many different games he has played in his class, but I'll tell you about something simple. My class loves earning tickets. We play "Review for Tickets" before tests and quizzes and my students love it! The questions are worth different amounts and the tickets can be turned into Cub Cash (our school's reward system) or into prizes from my treasure chest. 
Students love a good competition! Sometimes we play teams, and sometimes we play girls against boys. I have to say, playing girls against boys is always a crowd pleaser!

The Magic and the Amazing Hook: 3 total
  • Is there a magical effect that could help to deliver this message?
I don't think this is what Burgess is talking about, but I do have a bit of magician in me. Well, my Promethean does. If you don't know what a Promethean is, it's a type of Smart Board. Mine can be connected to my laptop or an ELMO (fancy over-head projector). It comes with a remote with a freeze buttton. That freeze button is pure magic... at least until my students figure it out. :)

The Chef Hook: 4 total
  • How can I enhance this lesson by adding food or drink?
I feel the need to point out that any lesson can be enhanced by food and drink. I find that most professional developments can be enhanced with food and drink. Chocolate in particular.
Let me give you some examples from some of my lessons.
  1. At the end of my Oregon Trail lesson, students attended a "camp out" with real cowboy food- cold beans, beef jerkey, and crackers. I've never seen kids get so excited about cold beans. (baked beans out of a can)
  2. Studying Kwanzaa we celebrated a feast of first fruits. We made vegetable soup in my crockpot and my students loved it!
  3. When we studied different countries and cultures, I brought in California rolls to go with our study of Japan. Watching my students eat veggie rolls was hilarious!
 The Mnemonic Hook: 7 total
  • Does a mnemonic exist for the material?
The most famous one I can think of is the one that teaches the planets. 
My Very Earnest Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.

The Extra-Credit Challenge Hook: 3 total
  • What intriguing mission can I send students on to allow them to extend their learning in a unique way?
The 5th grade teachers at CHES to an excellent job at this every year. It's an Underground Railroad challenge. Students are placed into teams and are to navigate the halls of the school as if they were runaway slaves. There are classrooms set up as stations and each station has clues to get to the next. The students love this challenge and students in other grades look forward to it.

We've made it through Part II! Join next week as we finish this book!

**Discussion Question: Out of all the hooks mentioned in Part II, which do you look forward to implementing in your classroom?**

Monday, July 22, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate- What's in it for Me, All the World is a Stage

Welcome back! We are still working through Part 2 of Teach Like a Pirate!

In this post we are looking at What's in it for Me? and All the World is a Stage.

Some reminders-
1. For my CHES people, this book study is voluntary (and fun!). You are in no way required to read this book, but if you participate you may count this on your PD form for next year.

2. There will be discussion questions during the study. Your answers and comments will be the accountability piece of the PD. All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of the post with your addition to the discussion.

3. To quote my Momma, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Let's not get snarky. (That goes for me as well. I'll keep my sarcasm to a bare minimum. Lord, help me.)

4. Have fun! This book is all about how to become a better, more energetic, more joyful educator. Some parts may resonate more with you than others and that's OK. Take what pieces of information work for you and use them. The rest, you can toss overboard.


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

This chapter drives home a point that I think we can all agree upon: Humans are vain creatures. 
Think about why social media like Facebook and Twitter are so popular- so people can share EVERY SINGLE detail about their mundane lives with others in order to make themselves feel more important.

At least, that's why I use them. :)

It's with this in mind that Burgess shares these Hooks.

Student Hobby Hook: 3 total

  •  Do I even know the hobbies and outside interests of my students and, if not, how can I find out? 
Why do you expect your students to buy into your lesson if you haven't taken the time to buy into their lives? Find out about your students! Use what your learn to add spice and excitement to your lessons.

In my class, I started the year finding out about their Big Plans for the future. We read the book Big Plans, you can see the post {HERE}. 

 After we made our Big Plans poster, we found people to interview! You can check out the Big Plans label at the top of the blog to see all the people we got to talk to. The point is- in my class we talk about student hopes and dreams, then find people who can tell us how to make them happen. 

Real World Application Hook: 4 total

  • How can I show my students why learning this content is important in  the real world?
In my class, my students quickly become accustomed to hearing stories about my sisters and I growing up. 

We call it Story Time with Mrs.Delk.  Not every lesson gets a part in Story Time, but I do it for an important some important reasons: 1. My students need to know that I was once a student  (aka: young) and 2. My students can use Story Tome to make connections with my past, their present, and the lesson. 

This being said, it's hard for me to teach geometry.
I never touched geometry past high school until I started to teach to my students. So, in my whole life I have never found a use for geometry outside of a classroom. Unfortunately, I have no real world application for geometry to share with my students. It won't stop me from teaching it, but I do find it sad. 
So, please, if you have an application that will thrill my 3rd graders, please share it! 

Life- Changing Lesson Hook: 3 total

  • How can I use this lesson to deliver an inspirational message?
 How old would you feel if I told you that my students last year weren't even a twinkle in their parents' eyes when 9-11 happened? That makes me feel wicked old, ya'll. Does that mean I'm going to skip that day and not talk about it's significance? Oh no!
My students are living in a post 9-11 world and they need to know how we got here. We used this book:

 We also watched a 10th year anniversary video done by  Nick News, you can watch it {HERE}. It's a tough lesson to teach because I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001. (in college at Tennessee Tech Univ. I was about to walk to class.)

There are other "tough" lessons to teach, but that's all the more reason to teach then, and teach them well. They're called Life Changing lessons for a reason.

Student- Directed Hook: 3 total

  • Can I allow student interest to dictate our direction and learning while still covering what we need to address?
The real question should be, "Can you, as the teacher, get past your OCD tendencies to allow your classroom to deviate from your lesson plan?"
Burgess puts it this way: Which professional development would you prefer?
1. Everyone attends the same PD with a generic topic that may or may not pertain to what you teach, or
2. A PD where you are given choices of break out sessions and speakers so you can choose which best fits your needs.

If you chose #1, just slap yourself and move on to the next hook.

Of course you'd prefer the PD where you were given options! You don't want to waste your valuable time in a PD that is in no way going to improve you as an educator.
So why not give your students options and choices in the classroom? You know that material and you know how to steer the conversations in such a way as to guide their learning to where it needs to be. 

I have done this, on a minor scale, in my classroom. I will preview a topic the day before the formal lesson using a KWL chart. I want to see that students "Know" before I go into the lesson. After I ascertain their prior knowledge, I will use their questions from the "Wonder" section to guide my lesson the next day. After the lesson we fill out the "Learned" section. 
It's not hard, and my students feel important that they got to help in creating my lesson. :)

The Opportunistic Hook: 5 total

  • What aspect of pop culture can I tie into this lesson?
This goes really well with the Arts post from last week. Pop culture is all around us! Why not use it?

 When studying figurative language, we used this video to find similes and metaphors! My students ate it up!

"Associating your curriculum with current events not only increases engagement because it shows relevance, it also helps students become more globally aware and connected." (Burgess p.106) 

**Discussion Question:  How do you use geometry in everyday life? I'm seriously looking for a connection here.**

All the World is a Stage  

"I am the director, producer, stage manger, and lead actor for the 180 different performances that will take place in and around my room." (Burgess p.107)

  When I was younger I was constantly running different scenes from movies and books in my head. I got to play all the leads and change the dialogue as needed. I was FAMOUS! my own mind.

 In middle school I was an extra in the school play, I had one line. It was awesome.
In high school I played Lady Lucas in our school's production of Pride & Prejudice

I was also on the speech/ drama team and sang soprano in girl's choir. I loved performing so much I joined the drama team in college and the improv team with my church. (we performed for different youth groups in the area) 

So, when it came to deciding on a life-long career, it was a no-brainer! What other career provided a captive audience for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 180 days out of the year?! Better that Broadway, baby! (which is really fortuitous since I am in no way a triple threat on stage) 

If you feel the same way, these hooks should be no trouble for you! Start working!

The Interior Design Hook: 10 total

  • How can I transform my room to create the ultimate atmosphere for this lesson?
Now, Burgess teaches in a high school setting, so I am going to re-word what he's trying to say to reach my elementary school colleagues: Lay off having themed rooms.

 I'm not trying to knock the cute owl/ bumble bee/ safari/ barnyard decor you've got rockin' the classroom so far, but really. How are you going to incorporate the theme into each lesson? Less is more, my friend. Less is more.

Burgess goes on to explain that in his room he doesn't have lots of clutter around. Boards and charts are easy to cover or take down, and put back up. You need  a room that is transformable. Moldable. Workable. Filling your class up with brightly colored stuff you bought cause it was just so darn cute isn't going to keep your students' attention. YOU need to do that with a room that allows for movement and easy presentation changes. (p.s. I really do like the owls. We should do lunch later so we can talk all about their cuteness. No hard feelings?) :)

 The Board Message Hook: 5 total

  • What can I write on my board or have projected on my screen that will immediately spark curiosity and interest as the students enter my room?
This is NOT a morning work message. For my elementary brethren, this is NOT having a "fix the letter/ sentence" daily message. I guess it could be on occasion, but not daily.

The purpose of the  board message is to reach out and grab student interest, not inform them of their starting busy work. It can be a statement, quote, picture... whatever. Make it relevant to your lesson and worthy of a conversation. 

For example, I used this as a creative writing prompt. Students were to pretend they were reporters for the local paper and they had to caption this picture. 

The Costume Prompt: 5 total

  • What can I wear as an outfit or costume for this lesson?
In elementary education this hook is a little easier. The younger the student, the more crazy they can handle.  Let me share just a few examples of how awesome adding a costume to a lesson can be.

Dr. Cox and Dr. Delk performing Contraction Surgery

 Mr. Russell as Crazy Wacky Scientist- studying types of matter and chemical and physical changes

Second grade team dressing as famous African American cowboys for one of their units

Mr. Ritchey (Mrs. Ritchey's husband) dressed up as Farmer Brown for my class during a lesson on persuasive and letter writing. 

"If you're concerned about looking foolish in front of your students, the best advice I can offer is get over it." (Burgess p.112)

Who cares if you look a little ridiculous? They're kids! They're going to be impressed with your bravery!
My mom once told me, "Maturity is being able to occasionally act immature without getting embarrassed." If that's the case, I'm the most mature person I know.

The Props Hook: 5 total
  •  What physical item can I bring in to add to my presentation?
OK, so you're not comfortable with costumes. Well, try a prop! In a previous hook we discussed using students as props. This time we're going to use items from somewhere else.

I'm going to share with you my FAVORITE. PROP. EVER.
My copy of the Constitution. I only pull it out once a year for a very important lesson on the Bill of Rights.

I let my students know that this document is much older than they are and has been in my family for years. (That's all true. I got it over spring break in college 12 years ago. I can't be blamed for where their imagination takes them.)
The document is so important that I'll only allow them to touch it with their pointer finger.

I've also used postcards from far off places, items from other countries, toys (when appropriate), milk jugs and bottles (studying sound). The sky is the limit, people! The next time you're on vacation, take pictures of everything and go to as many weird souvenir shops as possible. Or just visit the closest rest area on the interstate and pick up some maps and brochures. One can never have too many maps and brochures.

The Involved Audience Hook: 5 total

  • How can I consistently keep the audience feeling involved?
Improvisation. Have you ever been to an improv show? Audience members are brought on stage and they have to act out different scenes. You never know what's going to happen!

Now, obviously you can't your classroom like one giant improv, but your students don't have to know that.
During my Bill of Rights lesson I have my students act out different reasons we have our Bill of Rights. My students love becoming a "Red Coat" (that would be a British soldier). They turn into soldiers, farmers, newspaper reporters, and ole' King George himself. Good times. The students still in their seats are responsible for explaining different situations and carrying on good discussion on the issues.

The Mystery Bag Hook: 7 total
  • What can I put into the mystery box or bag that would tie to my lesson?
Working on inference? Try playing What's In My Teacher's Bag? I got this idea from the Inspired Apple blog.
In my class, my students inferred that I would have chocolate because I need it to survive and books because I love to read. They were right on both counts!

**Discussion Question: Which of your favorite lessons lends itself best to using either a costume or a prop? Are you already using one or the other, or both? Tell me how!**


Monday, July 15, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate- Move It, The Arts

 Welcome to Teach Like a Pirate! We have made it to Part 2 and we are starting to look at some Teaching Hooks!

Some reminders-
1. For my CHES people, this book study is voluntary (and fun!). You are in no way required to read this book, but if you participate you may count this on your PD form for next year.

2. There will be discussion questions during the study. Your answers and comments will be the accountability piece of the PD. All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of the post with your addition to the discussion.

3. To quote my Momma, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Let's not get snarky. (That goes for me as well. I'll keep my sarcasm to a bare minimum. Lord, help me.)

4. Have fun! This book is all about how to become a better, more energetic, more joyful educator. Some parts may resonate more with you than others and that's OK. Take what pieces of information work for you and use them. The rest, you can toss overboard. 

"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 teachers- ask these questions!

I Like to Move It, Move It: Hooks based on movement

Why add motion to your lessons? Movement increases blood and oxygen flow to your brain, your brain is used to think, ergo- motion helps you think!

I am not going to list all of the hooks that Burgess includes- I do want you to read the book for yourself!

Kinesthetic Hook: 9 total in the book
  • 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?
 There is a teaching style that is sweeping the nation right now called Whole Brain Teaching. It has students and teachers both moving, chanting, and staying engaged in lessons. You don't have to watch the whole thing- just enough to get the idea.

Here is an example of how Whole Brain Teaching can be used in a 3rd grade class. Students are using motions and are actively engaged in their learning.  Ms. Chastain used some of the Whole Brain chants and rules in her classroom this past year and she liked the results. This might not work in all classrooms, but bits and pieces are worth a try!

One point that Burgess made that I think is fabulous- it's OK to add movement to your lesson in order to add fun! For the sole purpose of adding fun to a lesson!
Read pages 89-91 to see how Burgess added movement to his "Henry's Freedom Box" lesson.

People Prop Hook: 4 total

  • How can you use students as props in your lessons?
 I remember back in my student teaching days when I had one of my 8th grade science classes act out the parts and jobs of the human ear when we studied sound. They thought I was crazy, but they really enjoyed it! I'm proud to say that 90% of them could label the parts of the ear on the assessment at the end of the lesson as well!

The Safari Hook: 5 total

  • How can you take your lesson and turn it into a mini field trip to another part of campus?
"You have freedom to do all sorts of activities outside the confines of your classroom, so get outside!" (Burgess p.93)

** Discussion Question: Looking back to p.87-88 on kinesthetic hooks, which hook would be the easiest to incorporate into your class?**

"Long Live the Arts"

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso

The hooks in this chapter center around adding all forms of creativity into your lessons.

The Picasso Hook: 6 total

  • How can I incorporate art into this lesson?
  • Can students create visuals of key information as a way to review for an assessment?
Early last year I was sent to a SIOP training for how to reach English Language Learners.  One of the techniques given was to use picture representations for everything, especially when teaching new vocabulary.

In my classroom, we use picture vocabulary a lot, especially in science. The majority of my animal classifications lesson is taught using pictures and student drawings. During the assessment that goes with the lesson, I'll have students who will draw pictures in the margins and match the pictures with the written definitions. That's cool with me! Using pictures is also helpful when dealing with students with special needs. Some of my previous students would us my drawings and orally describe what the pictures represent. Again, that's ok with me!

"The Picasso Hook allows students to review and recall material from the lecture in a different way. The simple fact that they are interacting with the concepts again is beneficial." (Burgess p. 96)

The Mozart Hook: 12 total

  • How can I use music to aid my presentation?
  • Can students change the lyrics to popular songs to reflect course content?
Burgess encourages students to change words to songs for learning purposes, but don't forget that you as an educator can do it too!
I have created a few songs to go along with my lessons. Here are just a few:

As performed here by my 1st graders in {THIS} post

The Friendly Letter song was actually created by Ms. Roach and myself while we were outside at recess. :)

Another was I've incorporated music into a lesson is when we learned about singular and plural nouns. We used Julie Andrews!

You might remember the lesson from {THIS} post.
 I fully intent to have my students create and perform their own songs next year. And I hope to use music in even more of my lessons!

"If you want to change the atmosphere in the classroom, sometimes all that is required is a change (or addition) of a song." (Burgess p. 98)

"Music is too powerful a force to ignore in your classroom." (Burgess p.99)

The Dance & Drama Hook: 6 total

  • Can I provide the opportunity for my students to do skits or appear in videos related to what we are learning?
 If there's one thing I've learned since starting my blog 2 years ago it is this: my students might act shy when I ask them to do something in front of the camera, but just wait until I push the play button! Every girl turns into a diva, and every boy turns into a rock star. That's the power of technology!

When we studied Author's Purpose and informative writing, I had my students create commercials on different how-to topics. This was around the holidays, so the topics were things like "How to Build a Snowman". The kids had a great time and they loved getting to go to the computer lab later to see themselves on the blog.

"Providing variety in the way students can access your curriculum and display their knowledge of it ensures that you are reaching everyone." (Burgess p.100)

If your student can teach the content to another person, then the student understands the content. Why not have the student "teach" in front of the camera? Turn it into a mock news story or infomercial. Let the student use props or interview other students. Have fun with it!

The Craft Store Hook: 5 total
  • How can I incorporate a craft into this lesson?
Many years ago, during a Dr. Seuss week, we read And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street
If you've never read it, it's about a boy who sees a horse and cart on his way home. He thinks that's too dull, so he slowly changes his story about a horse and cart into a huge parade with lots of animals and people. 

After the story I had my class stretch their creativity by giving them 2 craft items. The 2 items represented the horse and cart in the story. My students were then to use crayons, markers, and pencils to draw a beautiful picture around the 2 items that they glued on their paper. 

When everyone was done, each student got to come to the front of the class to show how they turned 2 boring items into a masterpiece. 

Depending on the school and your budget, you will probably have to keep random craft items on hand.  On the plus side, it's fun to research how many educational uses there are for a paper plate or toilet paper roll!

** Discussion Question- Share a time you used either music, art, drama, or crafts in your lesson. Was it a hit?**