New tricks, the Hook, & and the “4 + 1 Questions”.

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I have just taught myself how to make an online graphic novel and how to use blabberize (making a picture talk)! I have had soooo much fun making the colourful mini that is my avatar talk! I cant wait to use this to facilitate student engagement with their learning. For me, tools like this are what I call “the hook”. A question I try to ask myself is, ‘How am I going to “hook” my students into learning … X, Y, Z?

When using a new idea / technology it is easy to get caught up with the “fun/whiz bang” of it all.  This in turn can mean that even though you may be encouraging a move from compliance to commitment, the learning the students are doing has not changed, it has just become “prettier”. Therefore, regardless of the  “hook” I am using, I also follow the  “4  + 1 Questions” approach:

  1. What are the students going to know?
  2. How are they going to know it?
  3. How am I going to know they know it?
  4. How does my “Hook” fit into this?
  5. Why will my answers to Qns 1-4 help all students achieve the desired objective?

If I can’t come up with an answer beyond, “It will be fun” , then I don’t use the Hook until I have these answers. If I never find the answers, well …

While I am on the subject, not all Hooks have to be whizbang. I also like to provide students with a Hook re how they contextualise me. It is extremely important to me that I create a classroom environment based on dignity and the philosophy that it’s okay to “have a go” (Australian colloquialism). One way I do this is by placing myself in the role of the non-expert. Early on in every single one of my classes, I draw a picture(s) on the whiteboard in order to explain a theory. My drawing skills are not great, in fact, they are quite the opposite! ( and I acknowledge this) However, what my lacklustre illustrations do is model to the students that I also am prepared to “have a go” and that they too, can safely “have a go”. You should see my visual representation of how WW1 started!  

I have just received permission to use twitter with my students. I look forward to teaching them this skill in a manner that “value – adds” to their learning  (another Hook!)

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About Kate Pill

I am a Secondary School teacher who is passionate about developing students' ability to answer the "who, what, when, why, how, what if and what next" questions over the course of their learning. A "mature starter" (read as - late!) to the teaching game, I am still developing my IT street smarts. This blog will chart my own journey through the metacognition landscape as I facilitate my students' understanding of not only WHAT they are learning but HOW they are learning it. Wish me luck!

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