Guess the Topic
This is one of my favorite! Before introducing the new topic, give students a collection of words related to the lesson. Allow them to guess the topic they are about to learn about.
Play a Game
That's right, play a game BEFORE you begin the lesson. When choosing a game choose a game that activates students' prior knowledge. For example, before beginning multiplying by multi-digit numbers we played a cooperative learning game called Ask-n-Switch to review the basic multiplication facts.
Highlight lesson objectives by giving students scenarios that require them to draw conclusions. I like to use this activity when introducing problem/solution, cause/effect, inferences, and drawing conclusions. I give students a scenario either verbal or a picture prompt similar to below. Without telling them what they will be learning they respond. After responses have been discussed they are amazed at how much they know.
After responding to the picture/prompt below, students realized that they make inferences every single day!
Present a Challenge
I do this one A LOT in math. Present students with a challenge. For example, when introducing division I bring in gum. I tell students how many pieces of gum I have, and it is their job to figure out how many pieces of gum each of them will get. It's real life. It's hands one, and it lays a foundation for what they will be learning.
Provide students with clues about what they will be learning. The clues can be actual objects or pictures of what they will be learning about.
You may have an out of this world lesson planned, but unless students are excited or engaged in what they will be learning, success isn't imminent. Try hooking them BEFORE the lesson!