Engagement Archives - Page 3 of 7 - Mary Kienstra


The Day the Police Came to Teach

By: Mary Kienstra on: March 10, 2016  in: Engagement

              Yesterday was the day the police came to teach my class about crime scene investigation and forensic science.  It was a big day.  If you want to see kids totally engaged, bring in a police officer to teach! My fourth graders have been reading mystery novels.  So naturally, […] Read more


Kids Need to Meet the Authors

By: Mary Kienstra on: March 9, 2016  in: author, Engagement

Authors are like rock stars to kids who love to read.  My students talk about their favorite authors like they know them, holding them in the highest esteem.  These kids need to meet the authors.  They want to see their favorite authors as real people with great ideas.  This week I had the opportunity to introduce […] Read more


The Student Leader

By: Mary Kienstra on: March 1, 2016  in: Engagement, student leader

This year I started a job chart, something I have never done in the past.  I never had an interest in having students in charge of mundane jobs in the class.  It was always easier to do those routine jobs myself.  After I visited Paul Solarz’s classroom and read his book, Learn Like a Pirate, I […] Read more

Feedback Partners

By: Mary Kienstra on: February 9, 2016  in: Engagement, feedback

There is never enough time for a teacher to provide face to face feedback for each student for every lesson.  Our time is always at a premium, but we know that feedback is key to learning,  letting students know what they are doing well and where they need to improve.  This year in my class, […] Read more

Create a Mythical Figure

Chopped Mythology Projects

By: Mary Kienstra on: February 3, 2016  in: Engagement, mythology

What happens when you combine a fourth grade study of mythology and the  TV show Chopped to create a project?  Chopped Mythology Projects and amazing results!  My students took this engaging project and created projects that surpassed my highest expectations.  (And it was fun!) One of the most important rules I try to follow is […] Read more


Shopping with Mixed Numbers

By: Mary Kienstra on: February 2, 2016  in: Engagement, mixed numbers

The Farm stand!  That’s where you use mixed numbers.  Finally, a way to multiply mixed numbers with a real world feel.  This week my students went shopping with mixed numbers in their farm stands. At first they were totally confused… but then, they started to think about what makes sense, and everything changed. The farm stand […] Read more


Copying from the Board is BORING; Try a QR Code

By: Mary Kienstra on: November 7, 2015  in: Engagement

How often do we have kids sitting idly copying some content from a powerpoint presentation or from notes that we provide?  I just can’t do that anymore.  Copying from the board is boring.  I realized I can deliver the same information in a way that engages kids and puts them in charge of their learning. […] Read more


Job Charts and Engagement

By: Mary Kienstra on: August 26, 2015  in: Engagement

Who knew that a job chart could generate such excitement?   I thought assigning a few jobs to my students would foster some responsibility in class and might help my class run more smoothly.  What I didn’t realize, though, is how the jobs have affected engagement.  Job charts and engagement seem to go together very […] Read more

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It’s Time: Using Classroom Design to Engage Students

By: Mary Kienstra on: August 26, 2015  in: Engagement

August brings a mixture of emotions for teachers.  On one hand, it’s the end of summer and the freedom that comes with that.  On the other hand, it’s the beginning of a new year and all the possibilities that come with that.   It’s like New Years!  It’s time to start thinking about classroom design and […] Read more


Character Analysis – Speed Dating Style

By: Mary Kienstra on: May 24, 2015  in: #tlap, characters, dress-up;, Engagement

Sometimes my craziest ideas turn out to the be the best ones.  We are getting close to the end of the school year, so it’s time for a party in reading class.  But not just any party.  This party was a “dress as your favorite character from a book” party.  Additionally, they brought 5 props […] Read more