One Cool Thing I Saw: Content Area Strategy to Hook Students

By | 2016-12-16T07:54:51+00:00 December 16th, 2016|

We’ve all fallen down the rabbit holes of the internet. One interesting article leads to a funny video, which meanders towards a photo album of some sort. These internet wanderings often spark creative inspiration but may not fit perfectly into an entire lesson or unit. Why not focus on your general content area instead and bring these cool things to your curriculum in a daily practice of looking out of the classroom and into the world?

Want a quick way to hook students on your content area and address a range of topics in a short time? I introduced a daily practice in my art classroom. I call it: “One Cool Thing I Saw.” It is a Google Slideshow of interesting discoveries, biographies, artistic endeavors, technological advances, and just about everything in between. Whenever I stumble across something that I think would really hook my students or peak their curiosity, I add it to the slideshow.

I first show the image, and then provide students with background information in the next slide. After learning more about the subject, I’ll ask my students if their opinions have changed or what new thoughts they might have.

In addition to broadening my students’ world view, I am attempting to get them to reflect about what others are doing, or have done, in the arts. I also include examples where art and science, history, math, or technology intertwine.

I have linked this practice with the “See, Think, Wonder” Arts Integration Strategy . In this strategy, students view a work of art, photograph, sculpture, or process. Ask students “What do you see?” “What do you think?” and “What do you wonder?” You can document answers as a group and discuss them or have students write their thoughts as a journal entry. You can also open this up to a verbal discussion if you are short on time.

Examples: What are some of the things I’ve included in “One Cool Thing I Saw”

  • Wasps building rainbow nests after given colored paper HERE
  • Artist who paints eyelids in makeup masterpieces HERE
  • Long-Exposure Photography of entire movies HERE
  • A Marine Animal that looks like a living Pokemon HERE
  • Nikon’s Small World Microscopic Photography Contest Winners HERE

Helpful Links: Where do I find some of these random educational gems?

What do you do to pique students’ curiosity? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Lauren Hodson is a middle school visual and computer art educator in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As a mentor teacher and professional development presenter, Lauren is passionate about creativity and making art accessible for everyone. Her passions in STEAM and Arts Integration are at the root of her goal to collaborate with classroom teachers everywhere.