CommunityOne Class at a Time


One Class at a Time: Hellgate Elementary’s Kari Tirrell

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Posted at 9:32 AM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 11:32:53-04

MISSOULA — This week’s One Class at a Time grant winner in Hellgate Elementary Kindergarten teacher Kari Tirrell who will buy Magna Tiles with her $250 grant.

She keeps the students engaged by having them rotate to different stations or centers, and Magna Tiles will move into the rotation.

"We do a lot of center work in the classroom, so the kids move around to different centers. And I think this will just be another fun, different center for them to use,” Tirrell said.

OCAT Tirrell
Hellgate Elementary Kindergarten teacher Kari Tirrell

The Manga Tiles are plastic shapes that snap together magnetically, allowing the students to be creative while making geometric structures. Think tinker toys or Legos, but a bit different. Educators believe they improve a child's problem-solving skills and critical thinking.

And while they are fun, they can teach teamwork and sharing too.

"The kids are always seemingly able to build these great structures: Castles, walls, you name it. Their imaginations flies with the use,” Tirrell said. “I think that's why they really enjoy them. It's a lot of academic skills disguised as play. Magna-Tiles really gives you math, science, engineering, those skills to worth with."

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