Articles - Mary Kienstra

IMG_5694

Box Multiplication: Showing the Distributive Property

By: Mary Kienstra on: March 9, 2017  in: algebra, distributive property, Math,

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 […] Read more


capture1

My First Hyperdoc: Engaging Interaction

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. […] Read more


img_4593

Choosing a Business Partner – Kid Style

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 […] Read more


img_5486

Pattern Blocks – Making Fractions Real

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 […] Read more


1

Hanging on to Clothesline Math

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 […] Read more


trap table

Two Words: Small Group

By: Mary Kienstra on: December 31, 2016  in: assessment, differentiation, Engagement, feedback

So many teaching strategies come and go.  There’s always a new idea or the latest gimmick to engage kids in learning.  We have endless lists of buzz words and terms that describe various aspects of teaching and learning.  Of all the strategies I’ve employed, the one that engages my students the most consistently is two words: […] Read more


img_5240

Breakout!

By: Mary Kienstra on: December 30, 2016  in: #tlap, student engagement, teamwork, thinking

It is all that.  Breakout is the best new gimmick in student engagement.  Give a group a series of locks and puzzles and watch them go to work problem solving as a team. My class of 4th and 5th graders recently read The BFG as part of the Global Read Aloud 2016.  (See my post about […] Read more


img_5285

Math Talk with 24 Cards

By: Mary Kienstra on: December 14, 2016  in: #tlap, Engagement, math discussion

The first few minutes of class are the most important for learning.  This is the time to hook your students and get them in the MATH frame of mind.  24 Cards are the just the thing to draw them in.  Students’ math talk with 24 cards shows their understanding and gives them the opportunity to […] Read more


img_5252

Global Read Aloud for the Win

By: Mary Kienstra on: December 3, 2016  in: #tlap, Engagement, reading

I have to thank Pernille Ripp and the Global Read Aloud crew for the inspiration!  One of the picks for this year was  The BFG, one of our curricular novels.  That was a perfect fit!  Find out more about The Global Read Aloud here.  It’s fabulous! My students and I embarked on our read aloud […] Read more


img_4467

Kindness: Pass It On!

By: Mary Kienstra on: October 4, 2016  in: #tlap, Engagement, kindness

Two novels have changed everything in my class this year.  We started the year reading Because of Mr. Terupt (by Rob Buyea) and Fish in a Tree (by Lynda Hunt Mulally) as a way to answer the question, “What does the way you treat people tell others about you?”  My students analyzed these texts and came up […] Read more