Monday, October 21, 2013

Teach Like a PIRATE Week 6: Crafting Engaging Lessons Part 2

This week we're learning about hooks from the sections "All the World is a Stage," "Stand and Deliver," "Advanced Tactics," and "Around the Edges." This week share how you make changes to the physical space your classroom, move around in your classroom to involve your students, use contests or missions to encourage learning, or use any of the other hooks in this section.

Don't forget about the webinar with Dave Burgess tomorrow. Click here to register for the webinar. There will be opportunity to ask questions throughout the webinar, but if you would like to send questions ahead of time, feel free to email them to


  1. Utilizing physical space within the classroom is a critical component of a successful lesson. The space can be altered depending on the lesson, however typically I prefer there to be work areas with needed supplies, easy group work access as well as organized in such a way to allow me as the teacher to get to each student. I strive for my room to be comfortable and inviting and even use wax melts to give my room a pleasant smell.

    Students are always encouraged to share ideas and ask questions with one another as long as it focuses on the content being studied. Groups constantly change and material from various sources is always used. I like to keep kids guessing as to what is going to take place in class!

  2. Because my school district has 1:1 computers, I have spent the last year working to enhance my lessons with technology. I used the Techo Whiz hook after my class discussion about the differences between Shakespearean language and modern language. I had the students watch John Branyan's comic routine "The Three Little Pigs in Old English" on Youtube.

    Our school calendar this year includes three ELearning days in which the students have to create a project and submit it on-line. I plan to have the sophomores create a podcast of their next speech and submit it through MyBig Campus.

  3. I don't really change my room but I do move the students around. They love standing on risers so I move sections, such as sopranos to the risers and will alternate with the altos and baritones. Sometimes we will spend several weeks doing warmups in a large oval or when we do specific songs they have specifice formations to move to. It is really neat to see the students move into the different formations without being told. This also keeps them moving and active. Another method I use, I will have the students turn and face the opposite wall and sing and turn specific sections towards me. It adds variety to the class and keeps them singing and moving.

  4. Nice post meh, I learnt something from this post and I'm working on making it useful. The blog reminds me of an equally interesting blog on my reading list Dating and Personal Development Blog .
    keep up the good work.


  5. Being intentional during the first part of our lessons (the anticipatory sets) is crucial--and simply telling students the topic for the lesson will never be enough.

    I loved this section, because I am passionate about devising an emotional hook for each and every lesson--from teaching about the conditions on a slave ship--to teaching adding fractions with unlike denominators.

    I do the professional development for the new teachers in our district--and unlike other coaches, I get to share ideas about classroom climate and building community within the walls of our classroom--this book is perfect!

  6. I tend to always redecorate my classroom, moving my table to other side and replacing decors from time to time, I think in a way it encourages students.


    1. Jenny,
      I agree! I don't always move the furniture around due to limited space, but I try to change the bulletin board often and add colorful touches to my classroom. Some of my colleagues tell me I have some elementary teacher in me because of this. Even high schoolers and adults are motivated visually. It encourages me, so maybe it encourages some students, too!

  7. I have to be honest, I do not typically change my classroom setup often. I am not big on seasonal decorations and things like that. I do decorate my room and try to make it inviting and fun for students. I do try to set up things in the most practical way, supplies in a particular location, seats in a particular location. I can see where depending on the subject matter being taught, that change and excitement can be fun and be a hook for students, but in my teaching situation, it is important that things stay consistent.

    I have worked with my colleagues and we have developed areas in the classroom that facilitate group lessons, individual work, and one on one work.

  8. Great webinar, Dave! My friend Cathy and I watched it together a week and a half ago. It was a great way to reinforce what we've been reading in the book.

  9. These four chapters reminded me that I need to add more pizazz to my presentation style to get more engagement from my students. I like the idea of adding a contest with certain lessons. I have one class that is very competitive naturally, and I think they would respond well to this hook.
    My school added 1:1 laptops last year, and there has been a huge push to add technology to our lessons. This push has been especially intense for the English teachers in my corporation. I have grown by leaps and bounds in this area - more than I originally would have thought possible a year and a half ago. I have learned how to add any Internet link, video clip, free audiobook, or free content of any kind to my Edmodo pages. My students have used Keynote to create writing assignments and Word, which was familiar to them. My students like using Wordle and Quizlet. We are learning how to use Quick Time Player or Garage Band right now to create podcasts for our first eLearning Day. I have added my literature book to their laptops as an online book so they don't have to put another heavy book in their bookbags. My corporation will not be purchasing textbooks next year when our English cycle is up, so the work I've done the last 1 1/2 years is about to pay off big time. Some teachers in my building really don't like not having a textbook to use, but I'm feeling I'm ready for this transition.

    I would like to include more of the other kinds of hooks explained in this chapter. There is much more I can start doing. This chapter makes me realize that like motherhood or housework, teaching is a career in which one is never "done." There is always more one can do to improve!

  10. I am late getting posted but this year I moved from student desks to tables. It makes it so much easier for me to move in and around the students during my teaching. I also like it because there's no really "front of the room" I can present from all different areas and that helps to keep them on their toes ( and me too!).
    I loved all the different hook ideas and look forward to using them in the future.