Engagement Archives - Page 2 of 8 - Mary Kienstra

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


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


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


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


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



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


Bringing Non-Fiction to Life

By: Mary Kienstra on: April 28, 2016  in: Engagement, non fiction, reading

When kids care, it changes everything.  Engaging kids in non-fiction reading is all about bringing the topic to life.  The trick is finding an issue to make them care.  Tracking sharks and learning about the ocean is just that issue.  And www.ocearch.org brings it to life. This week my students met Chris Fischer, the founder of Ocearch. […] Read more


Practicing Math Standards in Games

By: Mary Kienstra on: April 18, 2016  in: CCSS math, Engagement

There are so many ways to practice and assess math standards. It’s just too bad that many teachers think that a worksheet is the only reliable resource. Students are practicing math standards in games, engaging in ways that will surprise you.  This post will help you set up routines that your students will love. My class […] Read more


The Stock Market Game

By: Mary Kienstra on: April 10, 2016  in: Engagement, Math, stock market

When I announced to my 5th graders that we’d be playing the stock market game and buying stocks, my students replied, “What are stocks?”  A week later, they were exclaiming, “Let’s buy 100 shares of Panera!” If you haven’t seen www.stockmarketgame.org, check it out.  This site has everything you need to teach your students about financial literacy […] Read more