Within the first minute or two of a TV show, we’ve made a decision: Is this show worth watching or not?
The first few minutes of class are no different; student know whether the lesson will be engaging.
To inspire and engage students in learning avoid these engagement killers
- I’m going to come around and check your homework.
- Read through the roster to take attendance. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, for example, only introduce the contestants after game play has started.
- Give a graded quiz (students who do poorly may shut down)
- Read announcements. Could you imagine a television show starting with the credits?
Six simple ways to energize your lessons
- Ask students to make a guess or a prediction. We kill the love of learning by simply giving the answer. By asking the question first, students will be motivated to find the answers. I observed a science class where the teacher had posted a picture of robin's eggs on the projector. Individually students were asked to hypothesize, Why are robin eggs blue? Every student was hooked. They wanted to know the answer.
- A two or three minute video clip can effectively introduce a topic or plant in their minds what they’re about to learn. The brevity of news stories lends themselves perfectly to this.
- Give students a prop as they enter your classroom. These can be elaborate or simple. A math teacher gave students a golf ball and asked them to count the number of dimples (he later showed them a way to accurately figure it out using math and not simply counting). A world history teacher gave students a piece of paper with a role that the students would assume throughout the class. Students were hook
- In a BYOD classroom, post a QR code for students to scan.
- Use art or music as a prompt. Ask students to respond to a song or artwork or have them create a drawing of their own.
- Have students respond to a controversial statement.
What are some of your favorite ways to hook and engage students?