Monday, October 14, 2013

Teach Like a PIRATE Week 5: Crafting Engaging Lessons Part 1

This week we're learning about hooks and reading the sections "I Like to Move It, Move It," "Long Live the Arts," and "What's in it For Me?" There are so many hooks discussed and Dave shared so many great questions, I am not going to list them all here. What I'd like you to do this week is tell us about how you are going to incorporate movement, art, and/or connections to students' own lives in your lessons. If you have multiple ideas please share them. Also, if you're struggling to come up with ideas, ask your network here in the blog. 

Next week we will discuss the second half of Part 2, the remainder of the hooks.

18 comments:

  1. This week's reading so reminded me of C.L.A.S.S. (Connecting Learning Assures Student Success) training years back. We were encouraged to incorporate the arts, movement, and choices into our lessons. It has gotten harder with the emphasis on testing, to hit all the standards (state and now common core, and in some cases both), and still take time for the "extra" things that make learning fun, thus more memorable. Because sound travels so easily in our building, lessons with music and too much noise are apt to bother other classes. I, do, however, work with fabulous special class teachers (music, art, P.E.) who are so helpful in coming up with ideas to go along with what we are studying. For example, the art teacher has the students make clay, and with that clay the students make models showing geography terms such as river, tributary, peninsula, island, bay, etc. In class I have them draw a picture of each geography term. We also play the match game with student made cards with the terms on them. We do a play for the constitution lesson (Jean Fritz's "Shh! We're Writing the Constitution," a musical). The P.E. teacher teaches Native American games. I'm lucky to work with creative and helpful colleagues.

    I needed to read this to reaffirm the need for multiple ways to learn and the value of student choice in learning. I've gotten too focused on getting through too much material too fast, because the test is coming, and I've taken out a lot of the things Mr. Burgess talks about.

    One thing I do quite well (if I do say so myself) is relate learning to the here and now, and to the students' own lives whenever possible. (Some standards make that difficult, but I try.)

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    1. I agree that the emphasis on testing has made me remove a lot of the "fun" from my classroom. It definitely takes time and doesn't provide us with the all knowing data that is so strongly desired these days. Dave has helped me to see that without the engaging hooks, the content won't be as well remembered anyway. Might as well make it fun!

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    2. Yes!!! I've heard a very similar response from many experienced teachers..."Hey, this how I used to teach before...(insert latest initiative here)." Glad to know that many are looking to bring the fun and richness back to lessons!!

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    3. Being a Title One teacher, I have a little bit different perspective in responding to the weekly questions. However, I LOVE what Kimberly Schrank posted! My Mom is a retired teacher/guidance counselor and is volunteering (at my school) for a local United Way program called "Read To Succeed." Volunteers attend schools once a week for an hour, ideally connecting with 4 of the neediest students, focusing on literacy skills during that time. My Mom's first comment (she volunteers in two rooms-Kindergarten and Third Grade) was: "Where is the fun? Gone is the fun! The teachers have to test all the time. They are concentrating so hard on skills and assessment that they are forgetting to laugh and smile along the way. I don't blame the teachers. This is the environment that has been created in our classrooms."
      Thankfully, our new Principal has made it a priority to "move forward" and to allow "fun" to gradually seep back in to the daily lives of our students--and teachers. She's got my support-100%! TLAP serves as a great reminder of the importance of "fun"!

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  2. I really felt like I was alone in keeping the momentum going. Phone calls from the office, late arriving students, etc. If I stop then I have lost my students and when there are 75 bodies in the room, I cannot stop to answer the phone or I loose my students. I had not thought about building them into what I am doing...that I will work on. Great idea.

    Ideas, yes, they occur at anytime and lately, right in the MIDDLE of my lesson. We have been working on 20th century music and the vocabulary in that unit is difficult for 8th graders. We have a program that we use, FINALE NOTEPAD, to compose music. However, this semester I decided to start out "playing" with it. We are taking the vocabulary, such as retrograde, inversion, retrograde inversion, atonal, etc. and I am letting them create music as the definition for those words. Now they want me to hear their very abstract compositions because they think they are "cool." They enjoy sharing with fellow classmates and now they know the definitions of some very difficult vocabulary. Now the question becomes "What Next?" and "Can we do this with the program?"

    Today several students came in and asked what they had to do to make up work they missed yesterday. (again we are in 20th century music) Before I could even say anything, several other students answered with "Oh you really missed it" and they preceeded to give them the short version of aleatory music ending with..."it was really cool."

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    1. Great sign when kids are telling other kids how much fun they missed!!

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  3. I have tried to use as many of these hooks as possible over the years that I have taught English Language Arts at the high school level. For example, my 10th graders just did their informative speech over an interest or hobby that they enjoy. It had to include an introduction to the hobby, an analysis of why the individual liked the activity, and a persuasive element of why members of the class should try it, too.

    In the past, I have asked seniors to create a plan for a movie version of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" by choosing current actors to plan the main characters. They had to include a photo of the actor and an written analysis of why the specific actor was a good choice for the specific character. For example, why George Clooney as Macbeth? The plan also had to include a soundtrack of modern music for one key scene of the play. My idea is to expand this to include modern art that would work as a backdrop for that scene.

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  4. The hooks section of this book definitely got me hooked! I've been looking for ways to make my everyday, routine lessons more engaging and some of the hook questions were just what I needed to help me brainstorm some new ideas.

    I teach 4 grade English Language Arts and Social Studies. One thing that I do to involve movement in grammar is have the students use arm motions to tell me what time of sentence we are discussing (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, imperative). The arm motions are also a hint as to punctuation mark they will find at the end of each type of sentence. The students enjoy the movement and when we listen to a our grammar jammer song, the movements work great as choreographed moves! During grammar lessons, the students often turn into props as well. Obviously they can be nouns who are showing verbs, owning things (possessives), etc. I found myself stuck thinking about "The Safari Hook".
    I would love to find new places inside and outside that better suit some lessons or simply give the students a new exciting learning environment.
    We use drawing quite often in response to our history readings. I ask the students to create a "sketch to stretch" where they stretch their minds to picture what an event or situation might have looked like based on the historical information we have read. I think we need to go more 3-D with this! My biggest struggle is the time it takes, but the students would love to have a chance to create more 3-D projects that relate to Native Americans, French Forts, and Indiana History.

    Does anyone have great music choices that they like to have playing in their classroom first thing in the morning? I think having music as a mood changer is a wonderful idea. My biggest fear is that if the students are too entertained by the music, they won't complete their everyday, morning tasks. I am looking for something that will lift moods, but not be too distracting.
    We do have some great musical grammar jammers as I mentioned earlier that came with our curriculum. The kids really enjoy them and it shows me that music might be a hook that would engaging to them for other lessons as well!

    I have found that hobbies are key thing for me to incorporate in my students' writing prompts. If they are writing about something that interests them, then obviously they are more likely to write. I have done a lesson on Angry Verbs where the students had to either write from the perspective of an angry bird or pig or give a description of the game while using strong verbs to describe the actions of the game. I had never seen all of my students start their writing so quickly. They also often have choice in their writing and I encourage them to write about their hobbies and passions. I do my best to relate many of the things we talk about to sports, a passion of mine and of many fourth grade boys. I think I need to be more planned in the way I incorporate sports to provide the full engagement that I am looking for rather than just throwing it in here and there when it comes to mind. I'm looking forward to exploring new ways to hook my students at the beginning and throughout my lessons.

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  6. Great thoughts! Love how you have incorporated student hobbies into writing prompts.

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  7. Although I try to make sure that the activities in my lessons are varied and engaging, it had never occurred to me to use several "hooks" throughout a lesson. It makes sense that students need to be interested and motivated not just at the beginning of the lesson, but all the way through! I was really challenged to see what I could add to my lessons to make sure the "fun" isn't just at the beginning but throughout. My class seems to be a group of visual learners, so I think a Picasso hook would be perfect for them. They also love seeing pictures or videos, so I've been able to incorporate a lot of those thanks to YouTube.
    I also appreciated the author's thoughts about transitions- I know I have definitely lost my class at times because I'm setting up the video, getting the document camera ready, etc. Definitely a good motivator for me to have everything ready ahead of time.

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  8. My head is spinning on how to process this information on these chapters. Like the author states, "Let your brain relax and move on that insights occur". My students' assessments come from ISTAR. Therefore, I refer to ISTAR for the standards that my students need to learn. I struggle with constructing lessons that are age appropriate and yet align with their appropriate ISTAR Goals.

    One of my best lesson idea came from the "Plants Overlays and Activities" provided by the Indiana Educational Resource Center. Our cooperative's fantastic Blind Low Vision Teacher/Consultant gets us academic materials designed for students with blind/low vision. The lesson focused on teaching students the importance of trees and how they give us the oxygen we need to breathe. Trees take in carbon dioxide and then emit oxygen that we need to breathe to live. In order to teach this concept, we did a little skit. One student looked at and held a picture of a tree, another student on the other side of the room looked at the words "carbon monoxide". The third student was positioned by the tree and looked at and held up the word "oxygen". With the assistance of my para's, we enacted moving the student in the wheelchair holding the carbon monoxide sign, exclaiming something like, 'the carbon monoxide is coming to the tree" and then giving the carbon monoxide word to the student being the tree. Then with all the fun we can muster we made some sounds exclaiming through photosynthesis, the student being the tree blew out oxygen. Then the student holding the oxygen moved jubilantly to the other side of the room.

    Now did my students really learn the concept of trees processing carbon monoxide into oxygen, no? But they did complete their ISTAR goals of looking at a speaker's face, focusing on an object, moving in their environment, and participating in a learning activity. And the best part, this was an age appropriate academic lesson.

    Incorporating all the learning styles, tactile, kinesthetic, visual, and auditory are keys to creating and providing age appropriate lessons to my students. Even with my students I can find myself losing the learning momentum when technology fails.

    One simple idea, I took from the book was using a vocabulary word in a shape, like using the letters, c, i, r, c, l, e in a round circle shape; just adding another dimension to an important basic concept. The author provided good thought provoking concepts and ideas.

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  9. There are so many great ideas in these two chapters! I have been trying to incorporate music and movement into my math and language arts lessons. I already try to do a lot of stand up for this/sit down for this, like if we are discussing if you think this is true then stand up/ false sit down. I always give them a third option like if you are confused sit half-way down. I think these are fun and its also a quick way for me to see who gets it and who doesn't. It does take students feeling safe because there could be a time when they are the only person with the right answer, and there they are standing by themselves! I would like to find a way to incoporate music into learn our multiplication facts. I'm thinking kind of like a rap. I haven't thought about using music as a transistion. I think upbeat music in the morning would be great. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book and getting more ideas!

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  10. I think relevance is so important in getting students' attention. I try to make everything as relevant as I possibly can for the students so they can begin making their own connections. I'm getting ready to do a population density lesson and I can see movement fitting into that lesson easy. I plan on having students crowd into a small area and then spread out over the entire classroom. It's a very simple idea but one I think will help students visualize the meaning of population density. I teach 7th grade Social Studies so we learn about the cultures of Africa and Asia. I have found some good resources that have information about customs and traditions of those cultures as well as traditional music. My students are going to be working on conducting a cultural awareness week at our school and I have already had several of them talk about incorporating traditional music or dances from the cultures they have been assigned to research. I think all of this makes it more memorable for the students which in the long run makes it "stick" for them. I love the idea of making my classroom "different" an escape from the traditional though of school.

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  11. I am a big advocate of ESR/TPT’s (Every Student Responds/Total Participation Techniques). Typically within a course of a lesson my students are instructed to respond with some type of hand, body, or facial gesture. This allows me to get a quick formative assessment. How this relates to a hook is that, this movement is generally introduced at the beginning of the class. I also like to have some sort of article, strange facts, pictures, etc. displayed on my projector to get the kids anticipating the day’s lesson.

    For example when teaching integers, I had students let me know if their answers were positive by crossing their arms into a cross and if their answers were negative, by bringing one arm up horizontally. These movements were explained in the beginning which gives a bit of anticipation for the lesson.

    However I need to improve upon hooks related to art and music within my classroom. I am a little better in language arts doing this than math but I need to train my thinking to develop art and music hooks for math as well.

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  12. I work with students who have significant special needs. We often work a little on a task, but we typically take breaks every 15 minutes. One student really likes to play games like itsy-bitsy spider, or patty cake. On days that that student has a bad time we sing and play more often to keep them motivated and on-task. With another student, I do some stretching activities and play music as a motivation to complete other tasks. We use singing and motion fairly often in our life-skills classroom.

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  13. My classroom is small, and it is not unusual for me to have between 25-30 students in my room. Movement in my classroom is difficult. This chapter did reminded me of one of my daughter's elementary teachers who taught the kids some yoga moves. It provided a little break and added some fitness moves to the class. I'm not sure how high school students would react, but I'm willing to try it. One year I took one of my advanced English classes to the auditorium so they could act out scenes of "Romeo and Juliet." They really liked doing this. I admit movement is not something I incorporate into my teaching on a very frequent basis, so this is an area I need to improve. I could try to find other areas to take my students.

    I am better at incorporating the arts in my lessons. With our 1:1 computers, it is easy to add pictures or video clips to my Edmodo pages. I love music, and I try to show clips of songs that relate to what we read. I've show Taylor Swift's "Love Story" when we read "Romeo and Juliet," Taylor Swift's "Mean" when we read "The Fat Boy Chronicles," and Stevie Nicks's "Annabel Lee" when we read Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee." This chapter encouraged me to try to include more music into my lessons. I also enjoy incorporating some projects that provide a break from reading and writing. My students have made paperbag characters for To Kill a Mockingbird; book covers for The Contender; and milk carton summaries for A Christmas Carol. This year my students are keeping a composition book as a study guide in progress. I provide them items to cut and glue in their composition books. Sometimes they take notes too, but I notice they enjoy the cutting and pasting.

    I sometimes add student hobbies to what we're studying, but I need to give students to talk about them more. I am very good about including current events into my English classes since I also teach one class of current events. It is one of my favorite things to do to increase the relevance of what we're studying. These three chapters were fun to read, and the message they contain felt very liberating. It is okay to incorporate what you love into your teaching style.

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