A hook or activating strategy is intended to engage students and help them access and apply prior knowledge to the current concept, lesson or unit of study. Auseubel (1978), recognizes that the activation of prior knowledge helps to deepen learning by bridging between what was known and new material.
Creating just the right motivator or anticipatory set for your classroom is essential to engaging your particular audience. While the content of this section of your ‘lesson plan’ or sequence will vary, there are a number of strategies that work for a variety of audiences!
Teachers who employ a variety of strategies, modes and mediums – especially those that contain multi-media content – are more likely to engage and hold the attention of today’s ‘Digital Natives’ (Prensky, 2007). For this reason, Digital Storytelling and the use of high interest graphics are recommended for use as hooks in lesson plans (Bernard, 2006). In particular, to grab learners in the digital age, a ‘TEASe’ (Technology Enhanced Anticipatory Sets) is an excellent option. Combining high interest visuals with sound and even text in a short video or presentation can activate prior knowledge and engender excitement in your audience. Slideshare presentation: When teasing is a good thing!
Read this interesting article about the inclusion of Hooks in a Secondary Science Classroom to help transform learning and engage students or this ASCD article about the value of a well designed ‘TEASe’
Download the Sandbox Session Handout – Hooks (Oct. 2016)
Good Hooks should capture student interest; connect to prior knowledge or experience and might introduce or explain what is to be learned (learning targets) and how it will be learned. There are so many different strategies for hooks and each individual teacher has his/her own favourites:
- Download this pdf file of various ‘activating strategies’ for the classroom
- Use WORLD MAPPER to view simulations (a map that morphs from geographic to ‘thematic’ and shows population and relative size…).
- Have you seen the live tweets of the world map? Tweetping shows live tweets ‘as they happen’ while ‘OneMillionTweets’ shows worldwide activity clusters – you can even filter by hashtags – where in the world are people tweeting about a specific current event? an earthquake? etc. Consider how you might garner interest in an issue or current event through a live feed of some sort on display – pick a hashtag and show the feed to your students in real time.
- Guided Visualization: Have a high quality image or video displayed and engage your students in a guided visualization exercise – Alice stepping through the looking glass… a tornado for that extreme weather unit and you are Dorothy…
- Hook Stations are an active and hands-on form of engagement, can you think of a tech integration opportunity for one station?
- Create cognitive discord with your own mashup or present discrepant events (a demonstration that taps into common misconceptions)
- Create an infographic to share some key ideas, images or questions. Try: http://visual.ly/ or http://piktochart.com/
Display an image and engage your students in a guided visualization or discussion. Searching for images:
- Creative Commons Search (remember to always have appropriate permissions for image/media use!)
- For a very visual experience, try an advanced search with Flikr Storm
- Pics4Learning: An easy to use resource for images for student use (use by ‘link back and attribution’)
- Pixabay: ‘Copyright Friendly’ images for teachers and students
Ausubel, D. P. (1978). In defense of advance organizers: A reply to the critics. Review of Educational
Research, 48, 251-257.
Bernard, R. (2006). The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling. Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2006, 2006(1), 709–716.
Brupbacher, L., & Wilson, D. (2007). Enhancing the Power of Anticipatory Sets Using Multimedia. In R. Carlsen, K. McFerrin, J. Price, R. Weber, & D. A. Willis (Eds.), Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2007 (pp. 1922– 1925). San Antonio, Texas, USA: AACE. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/24858
Prensky, M. (2001). “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”. On the Horizon 9 (5). Lincoln: NCB University Press.