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Content Hooks

About Content Hooks

Definition: One well-crafted sentence repeated in some version repeatedly that could hook a student to your content/context of the topic.  To move the student from attendance to paying attention. 

Value: The context/content hook provides student with the answer to perhaps the most important question – Why should students care about this content? When we forget the content/context hook student interest (view duration when speaking in terms of utube video views) declines immediately.

WSU Tech Session Video

Select the title above to watch Chad Littlefield discuss Content Hooks with WSU Tech faculty (1 hour 48 minutes). If you are asked to sign in to view the video, use your WSU Tech credentials.

Three powerful content hooks are featured in this video. 

Examples and Resources

Video: 8 Powerful Openings to Start a Class

Video Summary: Learn ideas for facilitating cooperative groups in your classroom. Chad shares eight opening lines for impact. 

Website Activity: Peter Block's 4 Engagement/Ownership Questions

Website Summary: Four questions to ask to make participants responsible the learning and engagement of others. Use these questions to begin a class meeting for a powerful engagement starter. 

  1. To what extent do you intend to get value from being at this conference?

  2. To what extent are you prepared to engage personally to achieve this?

  3. To what extent are you prepared to take risks to learn at this conference?

  4. To what extent are you prepared to take responsibility for the learning and engagement of others at this conference?

Video: Three Types of Context Hooks 

Video Summary: ICE (Intention, Currency, and Experience) During the WSU Tech session on Content/Context Hooks with Chad the three types of context hooks were covered from 40:59 to 48:08. 

Classroom Activities 

ActivityThe First 3 Seconds (1:34-3:19

Engaging Activity Summary: Make the first three seconds of class meetings memorable-being deliberate in planning the first three seconds of class that will ignite people's brains and engage in learning. Use attention grabbing techniques listed below to catch attention and begin engagement for learning. 

  1. Begin with a Surprise (3:19

  2. Open with a Quote (3:47)

  3. Thinking Analogies (5:30)

  4. Ask Challenging Questions (6:42)

  5. Deploy Quizzes or Surveys (8:41

  6. Tell Personal Stories (10:35)

  7. Note the Occasion (12:53)

  8. Bring Props (13:33)  

Activity: Likert Scale and Content Hook

Engaging Activity Summary: A Likert Scale in a physical space can hook students to the content.  A question is posed, and students are asked to move to a space in the room to indicate where they are on the scale. The process of selecting where they are on the scale and the movement hooks students to the content.  (1:07:46 1:08:31)

Activity: Collaborative Calculating

Engaging Activity Summary: Students collaborate to create a metric of some type to calculate a result. The result is relayed through a well-crafted sentence. This process produces a hook to the topic/content. (See 1:08 – 1:10:53 time stamp) 

Jump to topic resources and examples by selecting the link below.