Tag Archives: kinesthetic learners

Active & Engaging Lesson Hooks

I am so excited to be writing for the Teach Better team. Teach Better is a group of educators who write, podcast, and present professional development with a mission to help teachers teach better.

This week I wrote about active and engaging lesson hooks to kick off your lessons.

The bell rings. Students are all sitting in their seats. Their attention is at the front of the room where a PowerPoint or Google slide deck is displayed for all to see. You are ready to give your lesson. Is this the scene in Ferris Buller’s Day Off  where Ben Stein is the economics teacher throwing out questions to students looking at him with blank stares while his voice drools out, “Anyone, anyone?” Then we see various close up shots of aloof students checked out. There’s even one extreme close up that shows  a student drooling while sleeping with his head down on his desk.

Lesson Planning Rule #1: Start With a Hook

Just like the hook in a movie or piece of literature, the opening hook of your lesson needs to draw students in right at the beginning. Consider adding an element of mystery, intrigue, and fun into this opening portion of your lesson.  The hook or warm-up is where students are invited into the lesson, access background knowledge, and learn the significance of the day’s lesson. 

Hooks should be ENGAGING to support all learners. This is a crucial moment to engage and motivate students. Consider visual or graphic hooks, technology-based hooks, and interactive experiences. Hooks and warm-ups can be collaborative and require active learners. 

Want to read more and find out what are some ways to kick off your lesson tomorrow morning? Read more here.

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Teaching Boys & Accommodating Kinesthetic Learners

The majority of the classes that I teach in middle school have more boys than girls. In one class I have sixteen boys and ten girls. Middle school boys have a lot of energy and there are many ways to harness their energy into valuable learning experiences.

Here are five things that you can do in your classroom to help the kinesthetic learners:

1. Brainstorms don’t have to be an activity where a teachers record on the SMARTBoard the answers that students share or one student acts as the scribe writing down the responses from his/her peers. Rather, put large chart paper around the room and have each student go around the room responding to each question. This allows for everyone to write down a response and to move around the room. Another brainstorm idea is to use a paper towel roll as paper and have students record their answers while sitting on the floor and writing responses on a rolled out ream of paper towels. I used the ones at school because they are as thick as paper!

2. Take a survey by asking students to stand up if they agree. The other day I asked my students about 20 questions related to their values and students had to stand if they agreed with the statement. This saved me from making photocopies of the survey and again, allows for movement.

3. Bingo and Pursuit activities allow students to move around the classroom and find other students who can help answer questions related to a specific topic.

4. Throw in a little drama. Have students act out a scene from a book, picture from history, or scientific experiment.

5. Create learning stations where students can move around. Each station can include a different activity that caters to a particular learning style. Make sure the kinesthetic learning station allows students to touch, taste, and smell as well as see and hear.

For more about teaching boys in the classroom, Kathleen Cleveland’s Teaching Boys Who Struggle in School offers more insight and information.

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