Getting children engaged into new topics can sometimes feel like a minefield. There is that pressure to make everything seem amazing and have that ‘wow’ factor. But is it worth it? I would say yes, having an amazing start to a topic has its place, but you don’t need to go overboard. Here’s how I handle a hook:
You don’t have to do everything at once. You don’t have to link it to every subject possible. I always ask myself:
What do I want the children to remember?
What do I want the children to take away from the hook? How will it link into the next part of the topic?
Why just a day?
Why does a hook have to just last a day? For some topics, this is all that’s needed. Especially for lower down in a school. Being in Year 6, I have made the decision to have a whole ‘hook week‘. I want to build up the excitement for the children and get them as engaged as possible, as well as cover the topic in more detail. (I will even cheekily cover a number of objectives in the process).
What will work for your class?
There is no point in creating an activity with all the whistles and bells, if your class won’t respond to it. You know your class the best.
What do they enjoy?
What will work for them?
I would rather do something simple, yet effective instead of something that takes lots of planning, but doesn’t have the desired effect to get the children engaged.
Ohhh those objectives!
I’ve not let the objectives limit me to what I want to do with the children but utilised them. We are looking at ‘Fair Trade and Climate Change’ for our next topic. The first week back will solely have a Fair Trade focus. I have planned the activities that my class will do during the week, then gone through my year group’s objectives and considered what can be linked. If any activities link to an objective, then it’s a bonus! Art – printing logos , DT – cooking, Maths – shape work and nets, English – recipe writing. This may also mean that I can potentially save some time later on in the term and not have to worry about trying to fit objectives in later on.
However, I would say that a hook doesn’t have to link to a specific objective. As long as the children enjoy it, become enthusiastic about their topic and take something positive away from whatever activity you choose to do, isn’t that the most important thing? We are made to feel limited enough with various objectives, rules and guidance in teaching, so let’s have some fun when it comes to topic openers!
I started my teaching journey as a teaching assistant, whilst studying for my degree with the Open University in my spare time. I passed my teaching qualification in 2017, and I have never looked back. I am now maths subject leader at my school, which is both scary and exciting! Yes – maths can be exciting, I promise! I have also been Staedtler Teachers’ Club Ambassador for the past year, which is great fun! I can safely say I love this job. I have a very positive outlook to teaching. The role comes with many mountains to climb, but I will always be the one to spot the funny shaped boulder along the way! There are two quotes that I like to remind myself of when things feel tough: ‘Don’t forget to have fun!’ and ‘The road to success is always under construction’. When I’m not being ‘Miss Sattin’, I like to keep active, go to the cinema, annoy my two ragdoll cats and ensure I keep up to date with the latest episode of Casualty.