The Great Cookie Exchange & Giveaway

Making cookies with your students is a great way to connect math and real-world problems.  Try hosting The Great Cookie Exchange this year!

The couple weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break can some times cause you to want to pull your hair out!  You have a zillion and one things to get done and no time.  This can often cause the holiday cheer to be wiped from your face.  I have a solution that is sure to bring that smile back to your face.  I mean who doesn't love cookies and free things?!?!

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Thanksgiving Turkey Craft, Just for Fun!

A simple way to document child growth over time and celebrate Thanksgiving!  I make color copies and then send to the relatives who live out of state.  Happy Thanksgiving from Hookster's Ideas!

I love doing little crafts to decorate for the holidays and also to document my son's growth too.  Being a mom of a preemie, I can tell you on any given day how much my son weighs since that has been a constant battle for him since day one.  Today for example,  he weighs 21 pounds 6.4 oz.  So maybe I find more pleasure in his little feet and hands than others, but I love finding cute ways to document his growth over time, cuter than my crazy spreadsheet.  Yes, I have one.

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Rigorous Repeated Readings with Infants and Toddlers

Repeated reading bookmark
Repeated readings are very useful with older students to understand complex text and build fluency, but are they as important with younger children, like toddlers?  ABSOLUTELY!  My 21-month-old consistently picks up The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle for me to read to him.  It has become almost a daily obsession at our house.  To the point that my husband moved one of the copies (yes, we have 3) up to the top shelf of the bookcase so he will choose a different book to read at bedtime.

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Stop Guessing, Start Asking: The Power of Student and Parent Surveys

Beginning of the year student and parent surveys_Hookster's Ideas


 It is easy to wonder, make assumptions, worse off make false assumptions, or just plain guess what your students and their parents are thinking.  This year, start the year off by making a statement to your students that you care about them enough to ask their opinion (and then act on it!), and showing parents that together, you are partners and on the same team.
I have always given end of the year surveys to students and their parents and have ALWAYS been glad I have done that.  I have shared these surveys here with you.
 This year two of my customers have asked if I have ever given beginning of they year surveys, similar to my end of the year ones.  I never have, but absolutely love the idea of them.  You can find them here.  

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Really, you can smile before December!

Hookster's Ideas Classroom Management

I don't know how many times I was told to not smile before December during student teaching and even my first few years teaching, but believe me, it is ok to smile, and in fact I challenge you to SMILE and smile often this year!

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Summer Homework that is Worth Doing

The Classroom Clique, a group of really amazing teachers, is celebrating teachers this week with a blog hop filled with freebies, amazing prizes, and tips that are sure to make your year end well!  Make sure to stop by each blog in the hop, gather the key word, combine them to make a sentence (the words go in order), and download the freebies (and leave feedback to earn TPT credits for the site-wide sale!).
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Like It or Not, Testing Season is Here...

The dreaded T.E.S.T. is rapidly approaching. Boo I know, but like it or not, you and your students will make it through this awful time.  I wanted to share with you a couple of things I have done in the past that makes this time of the year a little more manageable and enjoyable.

Before Testing


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Before You Do Anything Crazy, Read On!

EDITABLE daily and weekly behavior charts by Hookster's Ideas that help you get even the most unruly behavior under control!
Bad behavior can kill your Pinterest perfect lesson in no time.  I know we all have spent countless hours lesson planning only to have your lesson ruined by one little one who will remain nameless!  Before you do something CRAZY, read on!  I can help!

Establish No More Than 5 Behavior Goals


If you have an RTI (Response to Intervention) team, this would be a great place to start.  If you are going at this solo, I highly recommend you reach out to a colleague that you admire the way he/she manages behavior and get some input.  Brainstorm the top 5 behaviors you wish he/she would change or do differently.  Then determine if you want the behavior goal be meet daily (more severe) or weekly (less severe).
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Student Led Conferences: Primary vs. Upper Elementary

Understanding What I know Primary SLC Checklists
Upper Elementary students benefit from reviewing their portfolios and choosing work samples that highlight their strengths and areas for improvement.
There is no getting around it.  Planning is essential to helping students succeed during their conference.  They need to know what specifically they are good at and what they can improve on.   This requires more guidance and structure for younger students and should probably be done in a small group or individual conference.  Checklists are helpful at the primary level and portfolio analysis is necessary with older students.

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Writing Tips For the Reluctant Writing Teacher

write every day
Writing is arguably the hardest thing to teach.  For me this is partly because I have never considered myself a stellar writer, but also because there are so many different approaches and styles and a lot depends on the writer's personality.  Additionally, it seems that writing has never had the emphasis that reading and math have had (unless you teach a tested grade), so if something has to get squeezed out, it may well be writing. It is amazing how much a fellow teacher can influence you and how you teach when they are passionate about something.  One of my partner teachers is passionate about writing and getting students to love it as much as her.  After many conversations about how she teaches writing, and reading several books that she recommended, I have become a better writing teacher.  The following are some tips I learned and resources I have found that are beneficial if you are like me and dread teaching writing!

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How to WRITE and REACH your 2016 goals




Fanily goalsAs the confetti settles and we face the bitter fact that winter break is coming to an end and we can't binge on Netflix all day, most of us start reflecting on the prior year and how we can change for the better for the new year ahead. Making new year's resolutions is common place, but this usually translates into lofty, unrealistic ideas that we would love to accomplish, but usually by the first week of the new year have gone out the window!  Instead of setting resolutions, I try to focus on realistic goals for myself, my class (when I'm teaching), and my business. Winter break is a natural stopping point, just like the beginning of the year, so why not reflect on the goals set at the beginning of the year and set new ones for the year to come.  I set deadlines to meet these goals and have checkpoints throughout that period of time to make sure that I am in fact on my way to meeting that goal. I recommend that you go through this process yourself before trying to teach your kiddos to do this.  Then you will have an example to show and hold them accountable too.  Below is the process that I follow to set goals for myself.
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