record player

First experiences are important! They set the tone for the class and emotionally and intellectually separate the students from their last class or other parts of their day. Here are 5 things you can do to hook your students right away, no matter what you are teaching.
The Hook 1Music! Have music playing that relaxes or excites or puzzles or entertains. Ravel’s Bolero sets a mood of expectancy! A Jay Z or Nirvana might shock! Miles Davis might puzzle! All elicit different reactions that could lead to discussions or even help anticipate the lesson. Introduce a lesson on weather with the Beatles ‘Here comes the sun.’ Always have a selection of MP3s ready to go!
Hook2The Board! Have something unexpected written on the board. It might be a simple scrambled sentence ( GDOO IMRONGN! ), a provocative headline (WHAT WILL IRAN DO NEXT?) or a debatable opinion (SCHOOL UNIFORMS ARE GREAT). “WHAT WILL YOU BUY TODAY?” on the board is a perfect hook for a lesson on count and non-count nouns.
Hook3 A Visual! Place photos from a vacation or the neighborhood at tables, a funny drawing on the board, or a web page on the document camera all can get things interesting fast. Google maps can be used to set the stage for asking for directions.
Hook4Do Now Tasks! Have a simple game set up that students know or hand them slips of paper as they walk in that gives them a task. For example, instructions on the board to find out everyone’s favorite ____(food, TV show, etc.) can be a fun warm up.
BE the Hook! Your tone, mood, attitude, posture, sends a message on many levels. ‘TOEFL class is fun!’ may sound counter-intuitive but it can be. YOU are a prop! A name tag, ugly holiday sweater, silly hats, or an umbrella; All these props set the stage for something and get attention. I’ll never forget the teacher who came dressed as a clown one day and neither will his students!
How can this picture posted of me in Hawaii be used as a hook? Denny Sargent
The following two tabs change content below.
M.A. History (Cross-Cultural Studies), Western Washington University; TESOL Certificate, The School of Teaching ESL. Denny is a teacher educator at S-TESL and delivers most of the 4-Week Intensives each year. Denny has taught ESL at ELS Language Center in Seattle and in Japan at Sundai Junior College. He worked at American Cultural Exchange in Seattle as Center Director and as Director of Marketing.