Student Engagement

Powerful Classroom Lessons: It All Begins With the Hook

March 24, 2015

How do you introduce new projects to your students? What is your hook? Great project-based learning begins with an engaging launch that grabs students' interest and pulls them in. Every project needs a hook.

In this excerpt from our new book, Transforming Schools Using Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessment, and Common Core Standards, we describe how my co-author Justin Wells introduces the Campaign Ad Project at an Envision high school:

Have we "hooked" you into learning more? You're in luck, because we've got multiple resources to share.

You can learn more about "hook" and the rest of the project in this video that traces the Campaign Ad Project from kickoff to exhibition. Watch students collaborate on producing professional-quality, research-based political commercials. The Campaign Ad Project also serves as a case study throughout our PBL chapter in Transforming Schools; in it, Justin reflects on designing and implementing this rich project-based learning experience.

And finally, here is a project profile of the Campaign Ad Project (with more profiles like this on other content-rich projects that are in the book as well).

Project Profile: The Campaign Ad Project

The following is designed for eleventh and twelfth graders:

Driving Question: What does it take to change a voter's mind?

  • A research brief on the issue or issues of your selected proposition
  • Focus group research, based on interviews you will conduct with the target voters of your campaign
  • Campaign commercial (30 seconds or less) on one of the ballot initiatives in the upcoming election (video is eligible for the graduation portfolio)
  • An argumentative essay that offers a sustained and evidence-based case for the position you advocate in your campaign ad, with a developed counterargument representing the opposing position (paper is eligible for the graduation portfolio).

For complete details, see Justin's website for the Campaign Ad Project. What are your thoughts and ideas on this post? What are ways you hook students into the learning? Please share in the comments section below.

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  • Student Engagement
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • 9-12 High School

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