# Articles - Mary Kienstra

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By: Mary Kienstra on: July 17, 2017 in: differentiation, Math, differentiation, math *

For so long, math class was every kid doing the same worksheet. But, as you know, not every student learns the same way of has the same skill set. As the students’ skills improve, teachers increase the rigor or level of difficulty. This reminds me of riding a bike when you use the gears […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: June 12, 2017 in: #tlap, algebra, emoji, Engagement *

Algebra is fun and engaging when emojis represent the unknowns. Solving these equations seems like working a puzzle, not an Algebra problem. Kids love visual Algebra – emoji style. It doesn’t even seem like work. According to Jo Boaler, Visual mathematics is an important part of mathematics for its own sake and new brain research […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: April 18, 2017 in: coordinate grid, dance, Engagement, Uncategorized *

When kids live the coordinate plane they actually remember it. Try these eight great ways to get kids to understand and remember the coordinate plane. 1. LIVE IT: Arrange the classroom on the coordinate grid. Attach tape to the floor and arrange the desks with “addresses” that represent the plane. As students come in, they pick […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: April 14, 2017 in: #tlap, Engagement, reading *

Every teacher in every school is looking for ways to generate reading excitement. How do we get kids more excited to read? How do we motivate them? How do we make reading fun for everyone? This year was our first One Book One School. It was a huge success. We started with the idea that […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: April 2, 2017 in: #tlap, creating, Engagement, reading *

Filling out a bracket for March Madness is always exciting. Which team will be this year’s “Cinderella?” How will my favorite team do? Which team will win it all? A few years ago I decided to capitalize on this excitement. In my classroom, it’s Book Madness 2017: Reading in the Brackets! If the brackets […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: March 9, 2017 in: algebra, distributive property, Math, math engagement *

Box multiplication makes multiplying double digits concrete to young mathematicians. Instead of wondering where to put the digits and why they go there, kids are thinking of the area model of multiplication and filling in the boxes. The best thing about box multiplication is how easily it translates to the distributive property. Learning to multiply […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: February 6, 2017 in: Engagement, hyperdoc, reading *

I’m not sure when I first saw a HyperDoc, but I knew right away that was something I wanted to try. After reading the book with my PLC, I was ready. I created my first hyperdoc to use with my reading class for our historical fiction unit. I know it will not be my last. […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: February 4, 2017 in: #tlap, Engagement *

There are times when students need to work together on a project for an extended period of time. Sometimes those partnerships are just awkward. You know how kids are – they are not always that excited about working with certain kids. I think I found a way to make this situation a bit easier. Make […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: February 3, 2017 in: fractions, math engagement *

Understanding fractions is so much easier when kids can touch the models. Pattern blocks are making fractions real. They are the perfect models just for that. Today I introduced fractions to my third graders with pattern blocks. And they got it. We started with thinking that the yellow hexagon represents one. From there we investigated what the other […]
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By: Mary Kienstra on: January 18, 2017 in: Engagement, percent, proportional thinknig *

Most concepts are just more easily understood when they are made more concrete. Clothesline math is the concrete representation of percents that helps students understand. As my students shared their thinking during one of our clothesline math lessons, I wondered why it took me so long to try this. Now my students are hanging on to […]
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