5 Low Prep Fall Activities For Your Toddler

Hookster's Ideas: 5 Low Prep Fall Activities for Your Toddler

Wahoooooo!!  Who is excited for fall?!?!  My Tinkering Toddlers structured playgroup classes were on a hiatus for the summer, but are now back in full force for October.  All things fall are on my mind, so I have come up with five easy activities for you to do with your toddler this fall.


Teaching Setting in the Upper Grades

How to introduce and teach the literary element setting to upper elementary students.

Setting is one of the first concepts I teach in both reading and writing at the beginning of the school year.  I have a simple, yet effective strategy for how to introduce setting to your older children.  You can check it out on the collaborative blog I contribute to on the 21st of every month called Conversations from the Classroom.  Click on the picture or here to take you to this post!


Designing Effective Upper Elementary Math Lessons With the Intervention Student in Mind

Learn how to utilize the gradual release model to effectively scaffold instruction for all students and, in particular, the students that typically need intervention.

How do you design math lessons that are sure to reach your students that typically need intervention?  One way that I have found is extreme success with is using the gradual release model (Douglas Fisher).  Students need structure, repeated practice, and the opportunity to show that they have learned and can do the work independently.  I typically refer to this approach as the "I Do, We Do, You Do" model and it is a way to provide a scaffold to those students that need a little more help.


5 Painless Ways to Teach Toddlers Colors

Here are five creative, hands-on ways to teach your toddler the basic colors!

Teaching Toddlers Colors

Working with your toddler to identify colors doesn't have to be an awful task.  Here are some creative, hands-on ways to teach and reinforce color identification and sorting.  Kids learn best by doing and what better way to get involved in the learning process than by getting your hands on it, literally.  The following are a few ways to make learning how to identify colors concrete and fun!


5 Tips for Using Photo Cards to Increase Your Toddler's Vocabulary

Have you ever wondered how to use photo cards to help your child's language development?  This post will give you five tips to help you get started!

Learning how to stretch and expand your child's vocabulary can greatly improve their language development.  Here are five strategies to use with basic photo cards to expand your child's vocabulary.


How to Set Up Your Own Structured Toddler Playgroup

Hookster's Ideas outlines a step-by-step guide to setting up your own structured playgroup for toddlers.

I know it is easy to fall into the same routine every week and thus feeling less than adequate as your toddler's only teacher.  I was feeling this way from time to time and wanted to create some kind of structured playgroup that would help keep me accountable for doing all the great activities I had in my mind that I knew my toddler would benefit from doing AND help stay-at-home parents who aren't teachers find their inner teacher and build that confidence that they can and are a great teacher to their child.  Thus Tinkering Toddlers came about.  If you are the Long Beach, CA area, I would love for you to join us (email me!), but if you aren't, which most aren't, here is how you can do this with your group of friends too.


Adding and Subtracting Fractions with Unlike Denominators

Hookster's Ideas shows a strategy for introducing adding and subtraction fractions with unlike denominators using food!

Fractions can truly take a good portion of the year for students to fully grasp the concept and many will take even longer.  Over the years, I have learned a few things about how I go about introducing this really challenging topic.

Unique Gifts for Valentine's Day or Other Special Days for Kids and Adults Alike!

Two Unique Gift Ideas for Kids and Adults You Love from Hookster's Ideas.  Each is made-to-order and can be geared to a child's age and interests.

Are you looking for a little gift to a loved one in your life for Valentine's Day or some other special day?  Here are a couple of ideas I came up with for adults and children alike.


Ideas for Developing Your Toddler's Expressive Language

Using child interest to help develop expressive language with toddlers.

Expressive language is what you are able to say and how you verbally communicate with others.  This is contrasted with receptive language which is what you understand.  There is a whole progression of milestones that children are expected to meet at different times in their young lives.  So what happens when your child isn't meeting all of their speech milestones?  You sign them up for speech of course!

Below are a couple tips and ideas for things you can do to help build your child's expressive language.


Planning for Small Group Instruction Easily and Efficiently Using Google Sheets

Planning for Small Group Instruction Easily and Efficiently Using Google Sheets

The key to planning for small group instruction in the upper elementary grades is backwards planning.  This is how I make and plan for flexible groups without getting overwhelmed!

Step one:  Plan Your Groups Based on Data

Each school and district requires you to use different data to form your groups, so how to collect this information is not going to be discussed in this post in detail.  However, if you have the freedom to choose how you collect data, I highly recommend using the DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) for making reading groups.  This assessment is lengthy to administer, but gives you good data (typically I only give it twice a year-beginning and end).  They have also developed a progress monitoring tool that I have used and find equally effective without consuming as much time in the administration of the assessment.  I usually administer this when I feel students need to move reading levels and need proof that my gut was right!  However you make your groups, I insist that you have some kind of data to back up your decisions.  As an interventionist and instructional coach, what you have to say is much more credible if you have data to support your choices with students who are below grade level.


Hello, 2017!

Use the "high" and "low" strategy to reflect on the day and year.  Read more about it on Hookster's Ideas.

I am still in disbelief that 2017 is here. Now. How did that happen?!!!  Nevertheless, I have mixed emotions about saying good-bye to 2016.  My sister and her family do a nightly ritual of sharing their "high" and "low" point of the day over dinner and I think it is such a sweet way to connect with your children and spouse and help you tune into each other, regardless of how your day went.