For the Mini-lesson, I used the Intro Information Sheet from Scholastic's Scope magazine to orient my students about different hooks, or introductions, available to them as they write their Expository Essays. I shrunk the sheet so that it would be small enough to be glued into their notebooks and they can also refer to it in the future.
This year, in searching for more authentic student writing examples, I came across this amazing site. These Writing Samples are taken from the site and I chose some that were the closest to Expository Essays. On the Teaching That Makes Sense site, there are several different genres and grade levels represented, but since my purpose was have kids look at exposition, I pulled from various grade level--as long as it looked like exposition.
I wanted my kids to understand what made a successful hook, and I thought a rating system would be a perfect way to showcase it. When I think of "youngsters these days" and how they rate things, several different possibilities come to mind: I could do a "like" button, like on FaceBook or Instagram. I could do an Olympci-style score but, in the end, I decided on American Idol!
In order to recreate an American Idol-like setting, I chose a panel of judges and moved them to the front of the room. Then I handed every other student an essay. Once it was their turn to audition their "hook," they got up and started reading the essay until the judges lost interest and voted them off the "stage." Before they left the stage, the judges gave a rating between 1 and 5. I had a student keep score of which essay with the most effective hook had the highest ratings, and that was the "Idol."
Once we had our "Idol," we had a quick class discussion about why it was effective and, as an exit slip, students tell me what kind of hook they plan on using for their Expository Essays.