#tlap Archives - Mary Kienstra

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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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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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