Text Connections Hook
I attempt to begin every class lesson with a "hook" that will help my students get excited about what they're going to learn. The Text Connections Hook is a strategy I use to support my students to make text connections while they are reading. The gestures I model in this strategy help my students remember the meaning behind each type of text connection and get excited about making these connections.
This is an excel document that is projected during shared inquiry. Each time that a student shares a comment, question, or any other type of substantial response in the group's conversation, a cell is filled to create a bar graph that is easily identifiable by students. It informs them and myself about the participation levels and motivates students to give more to a conversation.
Front Loading gives my students an opportunity to preview skills or information in advance of it being taught to them. I used to only do Front Loading in the opening of my lessons, but now we have blended learning programs that allow my students to front-load information whenever they start reading. Some examples of Front Loading using online programs are iReady, which has additional lesson assignment capability, and MyOn, which allows my students to preview text about upcoming topics.
In Teacher Vs. Students, students compete against the teacher in a quick game of listening and participation. Typically we play this game after a general phonics rule has been taught and students have to practice hearing it for phonological practice. Rather than me just reading a word asking them to identify the sound, I am using the taught rule(s) and turning into a game of friendly competition to show that they are smarter than the teacher. It's important though, to be honest. If I win, I explain what they should practice more of and then try it again another day.