Invisible feeders help motivate students to show interest into a lesson, unit or PBL project. The first time I heard the phrase, “Hook’em and Cook’em” came from Kevin Honeycutt. He shared how he motivated his audience during a keynote by giving them that invisible feeder. Here are a few ways to hook and cook your students before digging inside of a lesson, unit or PBL.

  1. Video: Find a video clip that supports your lesson, produces questions and/or intrigue. I love to use YouTube’s channel, Movie Clips. It has your most popular movies broken up into small movie clips. When I taught about the ocean, I used Finding Nemo’s “the trench” clip. Perhaps, I want to talk about perseverance, there’s several movies that visually show it as well.
  2. An Interesting Story: Stories connect personal life to others. We’re all connecting thing from text to text, text to self, text to world, or text to media. Providing a thoughtful and (student friendly) interesting story can provide intrigue for students. I grew up with many family members who could tell great stories and had a bank from which to choose throughout different lessons and projects. There are stories online, on social media, that can convey the same points too.
  3. Weird or Unknown Facts: There’s a reason why Jeopardy has a Potpourri category. It’s those facts that seem strange but are cool to know. As long as it relates to your lesson, unit, or project, open the conversation with a weird fact. One teacher launched his PBL project with how many potholes there were in a two mile radius of the high school. Then the teacher asked, “How many of your cars have hit any of these potholes that can ruin your tires and alignment?” Yep, he hooked’em and cooked’em.
  4.  Quote: One teacher wrote a quote on the wall and asked students to write inside of their journal the interpretation of the quote. The quote meant a lot of different things to each student. By the end of the lesson, the students had memorized the quote. Throughout the week, the teacher heard the students using that same quote in other classrooms.
  5. Song/Poem: Many people sing or rap songs without understanding the purpose behind the song. They enjoy the catchy tune or how the beat drops and haven’t analyzed the spirit behind the song. One music teacher opened the Civil War/Slavery unit with the famous song, Strange Fruit. Billie Holiday talks about slavery within the song under the metaphor of fruit. It froze the class. Hooked’em and Cooked’em.
  6. Picture: A picture is still worth a thousand words. One teacher broke a meaningful picture up into four quadrants then hid each quadrant. The teacher revealed the picture by sections while asking the students their thoughts of each quadrant. The discussion brought forth tons of questions. By the end of revealing the entire picture, the students were ready to discover what the meaning was behind the picture.

What are some ways you hook and cook your students to motivate them into the lesson, unit or project? Share them out below.

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