The Hook

Saturday, February 20, 2016

     We are in a Learn Like a Pirate book club at Hiawatha, and Dave Burgess always says you should have a hook to learning.  He calls it "pre-heating the grill," but we at Hiawatha have always called it the hook.  We have been working on our thematic unit planning for many years, whether it has been IBL, PBL, CBL, or what we are now calling balanced literacy thematic units.  In any case, since I began as a literacy coach, I have seen "hooks" spread from small pockets of teachers who use them, to entire grade levels.   Dave Burgess gives us even more ideas on possible hooks to use.  I can't wait to see how those ideas are applied in the future.

     One of my favorite things, of course, is to be around for the planning, and then video tape them.  I'm kind of a nerd that way.  I love capturing engagement.  :)

    So, here are 2 intros to 2 units in the last 2 weeks!

    Our third grade is starting an Influential People unit as part of their speeches and persuasive writing unit.  +Christine Flowers, +Theresa Carrillo, +Anna Waszak, and +Kathy Ross wanted to start off the unit is a big way, so we found 5 different boxes and filled them with artifacts that symbolized the impact of 5 different famous people.  The children had to try and guess who the person was, after opening up the box, and then taking a gallery walk around the room to see the rest of the boxes.  When they returned, they were able to open a letter "written by" that person, explaining their influence.  We then had them decide what artifact represented their biggest impact to the world.

Can you guess who their influential people were?

Watch the trailer and see if you were correct!

     Our first grade is in the middle of their Space Unit.  They finished Sun, Moon and Stars, and had used that portion of the unit to teach their first graders how to research and write nonfiction chapter books in a shared research and writing format.  They are now wanting students to create a more independent chapter book on the seasons.  So, they are kicking off the next part of their unit with a Seasonal Fashion Show!  4 of our teachers dressed up as Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.  When they walked in, a seasonally correct song started to play on the Smart Board.  Every first grader had a picture of a seasonal artifact (like a beach ball, umbrella, boots, etc.).  When a new teacher walked in, if they had an artifact to match, they stood up.  Watch their trailer below, as +Amelia Sheers+Vianney Sanchez+Kayla Kaczmarek+Melissa Alper and +Shianne Gillespie walk the red carpet!

     After they introduced the seasons with the fashion show, the students were given opportunities to sort objects from the seasons in both closed and open sorts.   Sorting and categorizing is such an important, yet often skipped, skill for young learners.  The pictures below are some closed sorts, where the teachers gave the categories for them to sort.  Our ELL teacher, +Lucy Carrera, also did an open sort, where she didn't give students the categories, and they had to use oral language to give reasons to create the categories.  She modeled first, using three objects, to helped the students think outside of the seasons.  She helped them notice their own patterns and see characteristics and attributes of objects.  Even if students didn't agree, they had to use oral language to defend their reasoning.  

     What I love about both of these intros, which are from 2 different grades and in two different content areas, is that they both give students physical artifacts to touch and explore and manipulate to get the learning started.  With our high ELL population, it is even more important to not just tell them information.  We need to show them, and allow them to experience as much as possible.  

     Great job, 1st and 3rd!

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