Tuesday, January 13, 2015

X Marks the Spot

Now that you've had a brief introduction to "Teach Like a Pirate" by Dave Burgess, I thought we would take a look at the second part of the book.  We already have seen that the life of a pirate can be fun and adventurous (especially for a teacher pirate) so now we will see where we can go if we follow the ideas laid out in the second section about "hooks" for engaging lessons.  Notice that each "hook" starts with a question. The better the questions you ask yourself, the better your lesson will become. If we ask the right questions, then like the pirates of old, we can follow the map to find our treasure. And for educators, that treasure is student engagement through our Life Changing Lessons.

Find the "hook" to create your Life Changing Lessons!

Part II: Crafting Engaging Lessons

Kinesthetic Hook - How can I guarantee that every student is up...at least once during this lesson? It doesn't matter how much material you teach, it only matters how much is received.

Safari Hook - Where is the best place on campus to deliver this content?

Picasso and Mozart Hooks - How can I incorporate art and music into this lesson? "Processing the material collaboratively, visually,and artistically also aids in retention." 

Dance and Drama Hooks - Can they impersonate key people from history?

Interior Design Hook - How can I transform my room to create the ultimate atmosphere for this lesson? "Determine to intentionally control your environment and all the presentational elements in play. Everything matters."

Board Message Hook - What can I write on my board or have projected on my screen that will spark curiosity as the students enter the room?

Teaser Hook - How can I spark interest in this lesson by promoting it ahead of time? "If people think something is going to be great they are more likely to experience it as such."

Techno Whiz Hook - How can I incorporate technology into the lesson and/or assignment?

Taboo Hook - How can I position my topic so that it seems like a little-known secret? 

There are literally dozens of "hooks" described by Dave in the book, but these were some standouts to me.  You may find others that resonate with you and your teaching style.  Some we are already doing (Talking Zoo and Living Wax Museum come to mind).  The best part of this section is that each of you brings to the classroom your own interests and your own talents that can be used to create Life Changing Lessons.  What new presentation ideas are you willing to try in your classroom?


"I picture the toughest and hardest headed students saying, 'Dang it! I wasn't going to learn today. He tricked me. That man is sneaky!' I live for that moment." - Dave Burgess

"Designing a class that empowers students to become life-long learners, avid readers, and voracious seekers of knowledge, will have an impact that reverberates for a lifetime and beyond." - Dave Burgess

"We need risk-takers, outside the box thinkers, and entrepreneurs" - Dave Burgess

This photo has no business being here, but it made me laugh:)


Monday, January 19: No School for MLK Day
Tuesday, January 20: ELA Committee 8:15 am
                                 LPS Staff Budget Forum at Central Office 4:30 pm
Wednesday, January 21: 7 Habits Training for principals 12:00 pm
                                      PTA Game Night 6:00-8:00 pm
Thursday, January 22: Staff Meeting 8:00 am (PBS)
Friday, January 23: No Students (Teachers may work from home)
                              Administrative Title 1 Meeting 8:00-12:00

Monday, January 26: DATA DIVES in the LMC (Rotating Subs)
Tuesday, January 27: School Improvement Committee 8:15 am
                                 Science of Music Assembly (all grades) 10:00-11:00 am
                                 Operation Student Success Committee at Central Office 1:30 pm
Thursday, January 29: Staff Meeting 8:00 am
                                   7 Habits Training for principals 12:00 pm
Friday, January 30: Student of the Month Assembly - Begin With End in Mind 3:00 pm
                                Report Cards go Home
                                Skate Night at Riverside Arena 6:00-8:00 pm

photo credits: www.toda.mccombs.utexas.edu & www.dailykos.com


  1. Motivation is often overlooked as something that teachers have some control over. The value of "hooks" shouldn't be overlooked to increase motivation and engagement in students. Imagine of EVERY TEACHER used hooks in EVERY lesson!! Wow!

    1. Thanks Jennifer!! I just think it's so much more fun for the student AND the teacher when we bring that passion and find just the right "hook" for engagement:) Appreciate the comment!

  2. I keep my copy of this book handy especially for the "hooks" section. There are so many great ideas and sometimes when we get overwhelmed by the amount of lessons and prep that we do, those engaging hooks get overlooked. Thanks for the reminder of some great ones!