My professional development plan this year includes a personal goal to utilize what I learned from reading the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. While reading the book, I wrote note cards for each of the teaching hooks. I posted these cards above my desk for easy reference. I highlight the hooks that I use and my goal is to try each hook at least once this year.
The Safari Hook has been my most successful one so far--based on the students' excitement. I began the Reading Workshop focus lesson by telling my students we would be going on a safari to hunt two amazing creatures. I explained that when you are on safari you must remain calm and quiet because you do not want to scare away the creatures. I told them that a safari was a time to look at amazing creatures, not to touch them. I explained that creatures you see on a safari are usually larger than life and often very colorful. I used my hands in front of my face and showed students how I might want to take a mental picture of what I saw when I found the creatures.
I started playing a safari video I found on You Tube complete with authentic music.
I gave students their task: to hunt the classroom for two amazing creatures--the weak jotting and the wonderful jotting. I spoke in a hushed, suspenseful voice so that they were hanging on my every word. I told them that the weak jotting was short and small and dangerous. I further explained that the weak jotting did not show much thinking and it lacked text evidence. I became more animated as I described the wonderful jotting as a creature that was so beautiful you couldn't help but feel smarter when you read it!
I sent the students off on their classroom safari searching and hunting for large and colorful, weak and wonderful jottings!
Students hunted around the room for large green or blue jumbo sticky notes. The blue ones has weak jottings on them that I wrote regarding our current read aloud, Stone Fox.
A weak jotting was spotted! This student is taking a picture of it!
When the safari music ended, the students ended their safari at the meeting area. I began my focus lesson about using jottings to show our thinking while we read. Then students took the safari seriously and were definitely engaged during the rest of Reading Workshop.