A few weeks back, the language arts teacher on my sixth grade team and I whipped up an enrichment activity for our top performing students.

Called 60 Second Book Hooks, we’ve asked our students to generate short, persuasive metaphorical reviews of the books that they are reading.

The rules are pretty simple:  Students have to compare the books that they are reading to unlike concepts, ideas or items.  Both supportive and critical reviews are encouraged.

Our thinking was that 60 Second Book Hooks would require the same kinds of higher-end thinking that we are trying to encourage in the Curiosity Box activity I wrote about a few weeks back.

More importantly, we figured that our students would get the hang of 60 Second Book Hooks simply because they’ve had practice with thinking metaphorically already this year.

So I whipped up a sample of a 60 Second Book Hook-–intentionally tackling one of their favorite books in an attempt to spark them into action:

We had a few students record book hooks this week, but we weren’t happy with the audio quality of their final products.  On Wednesday, we have a second group coming up to record straight from our computers, which should improve the quality of our final products.

I’ll be sure to share a few samples of what they create.

In the meantime, here are a few handouts that you can use to get a 60 Second Book Hook project off the ground in your classrooms:

60 Second Book Hook Planning Guide

Download Handout_PersuasiveBookHooks

This handout guides students through a step-by-step process for writing persuasive book hooks.  We’ve already used it with great success with our students.

Instructions for Recording Videos with YouTube

Download Handout_RecordingVideosinYouTube

After originally recording our book hooks with our Flip Cameras, we’ve decided to record directly in YouTube—which has added a great built-in video recorder and editor over the past year.

Our thinking is that we will (1). get better audio quality by recording from our laptops and (2). eliminate the hassle of having to transfer videos from our cameras to our computers.

My hope is that the step-by-step directions included in this document will help students to record videos independently.  Independent is always a good thing, right?

Of course, we are also requiring all students who want to record and publish 60 Second Book Hooks to get a signed permission slip from their parents.

It’s simply never okay for teachers to allow students to publish content to the web—especially pictures and videos—without parents being aware of what exactly is being shared.

We’re also using our 60 Second Book Hook project as an opportunity to teach students about Internet Safety.  A simple rule of thumb that we like to teach is that students should never pair their images with their names in an online environment at all.  As a result, our kids won’t be attaching their names to their book hooks at all.

So whaddya’ think?  Is this a project worth pursuing? 

Better yet, how would you improve it?

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