Articles - Page 2 of 11 - Mary Kienstra

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Hop for Order of Operations

By: Mary Kienstra on: October 4, 2016  in: #tlap, Engagement, order of operations

Any time a lesson can involve movement, it is more memorable than a passive listening experience.  So when I saw an example of hopscotch with the order of operations, I created it in my classroom immediately.  I knew my students would love to hop for the order of operations. The biggest misconception with the order […] Read more


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Getting to Know You with Melvin Bubble

By: Mary Kienstra on: September 8, 2016  in: #tlap, beginning of the year, Engagement,

In the beginning of the school year, the main focus iin my classroom is “getting to know you.”  I’ve done all the regular things that teachers do, but this year, I tried something different.  In the spirit of the picture book, Who is Melvin Bubble? students introduced themselves to the class from the perspective of someone […] Read more


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Classroom Differentiation – Like at the Health Club

By: Mary Kienstra on: June 24, 2016  in: #tlap, differentiation, Engagement, ,

This is the time when teachers make those summer resolutions.  They’re not unlike New Year Resolutions, except they have a summer spin.  Every summer my list includes read more, exercise more, and organize my house.  The actual projects might vary, but the ideas are the same every summer.  Working on my “exercise more” resolution, I realized that […] Read more


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Invite the Experts

By: Mary Kienstra on: June 23, 2016  in: #tlap, author, Engagement, , ,

Why is it that our students will sit and listen to total strangers in a way that they would never listen to their teacher? When we invite the experts to our classrooms, our students learn from primary sources.  They hear real information and listen in a new way. Last year, I invited experts of all kinds […] Read more



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Summer is the Time to Learn for Teachers

By: Mary Kienstra on: June 20, 2016  in: Summer PD, ,

The biggest complaint from teachers is that there is never enough time.  Once the school year begins, the time just flies by – there is so much to do. But, summer…. Ah, summer.  This is the season when teachers have time.  Summer is the time to learn.  Yay Summer! Summer Spark at the University School in Milwaukee […] Read more


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The Survey Project

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 22, 2016  in: #tlap, graphing, math engagement, , ,

What do you do at the end of the school year when the standard is data analysis?  Create a survey project!  It makes perfect sense.  Kids will care much more about analyzing the data that they collect than about any data presented in the text.  Let them create their own. Take a survey. Create a […] Read more


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When Students Care

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 19, 2016  in: #tlap, non fiction

When students care, everything changes.  Fourth graders have a tremendous amount of compassion for animals.  What better way to hook them than to tap into that passion with the essential question, “Why should we care?” After studying the importance of sharks in the ocean, we continued the theme with more large mammals.  Timing is everything. […] Read more


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A True Community

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 14, 2016  in: #tlap, community, reading

Some classes have the “IT” factor.  That’s the class where the kids all care.  Not about just the content.  They care for each other too. They are a true community.  They work together well and all seem to be pulling in the same direction.  I look at this year’s class and wonder what we did […] Read more


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Creating Estimation Station Questions

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 11, 2016  in: creating, Engagement, measure

What happens when kids create their own Estimation Station questions?  They learn how to ask good questions, to measure, and to present their questions and answers in pictures.  And… while they work on math, they enjoy every minute of it. All year long the fourth graders have been estimating everything from times of songs, distances […] Read more