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Nov 192014
12 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Digital Content (Part 3)

(This post is a continuation of our 12 Questions series.  The first two posts can be viewed here and here.) #7 Who created these resources?It is important to consider the source of content you use in your classroom.  Verify that the resources you are considering are research-based.  Find out whether they were created by educational publishers, teachers, researchers, or a software company.  Would you want a software programmer or graphic designer with no education degree teaching in your classroom?  Is it logical that a researcher should be designing lessons for fifth graders if they have never taught fifth graders?  Educational → read more

Nov 052014
Teacher Feature:  Julie Ahern

Meet Julie Ahern.  She teaches at Andrew Cooke Magnet Elementary School in Waukegan, Illinois.  Here is her StarrMatica story: Our fine arts magnet school is located in a vibrant and diverse community where I have taught 3rd and now 2nd grade for 22 years. Although we are in a high poverty district, our school has been able to retain our fine arts magnet status. However, it has been a challenge to find the funding for technology and effective computer programs. Although we have a computer lab in our building, which the students visit once a week, I have worked very → read more

Oct 282014
12 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Digital Content (Part 2)

(This post is a continuation of our 12 Questions series.  The first post can be viewed here.) #4  Can my students access these resources? In addition to accessing content for whole class instruction, some web based solutions also allow students to access content on computers.  This helps teachers to make a connection between whole class instruction and individual student learning.  Some online content providers add increased value by inviting students to access content at home for further review and exploration.  Offline programs may also allow individual student access, but the program must first be installed on each computer.  If student → read more

Oct 222014

This is the second in a series of posts dedicated to helping teachers understand specific changes the Common Core requires them to make in their instruction and sharing how StarrMatica’s content can help facilitate that transition.  The first post can be viewed here. A major focus of the Common Core is requiring students to give evidence directly from the text to support their responses.  An opinion given in a response is valid only if the argument can be supported with details from the text. Here is an example of a Smarter Balanced Assessment item which requires text evidence:  “What does Naomi → read more

Sep 252014
Digital Content for Common Core Standard 1.NBT.B.2(A,B,C)

One of the most common questions we are asked is how our library of digital content supports the Common Core.  The easy answer is that our entire library has been aligned to the Common Core standards, so teachers can find resources related to each standard.  The more complex answer is that there are many pieces of content that can be used in flexible ways to support each individual standard, and it is up to teachers to choose the content that best supports their lesson and their students. Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from our → read more

Sep 192014
12 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Digital Content (Part 1)

According to research, students whose teachers use technology effectively in the classroom have higher test scores than students whose teachers do not. So schools purchase projectors, interactive whiteboards, response systems, computers, and tablets with the goal of using technology to reach 21st century learners and engage students.   But as schools begin implementations, administrators discover that simply placing hardware in classrooms does not raise student achievement.  Teachers need help using this technology effectively.  And the primary assistance teachers need to use technology effectively is access to high quality digital content. Unfortunately, most schools approach digital content as an unnecessary “extra” → read more

Sep 032014
Summer Updates Are Live!

Welcome to the beginning of another fantastic school year!  We have been working all summer to help you start the year off right.  Here are a few of the updates you can now take advantage of automatically: K-2 Reading and Math Content We want to make sure StarrMatica is providing you with the best digital content on the web.  That’s why in addition to adding new content topics, we also revisit current topics and add all of the new gems we’ve found as we scour the Internet so you don’t have to!  This summer, hundreds of new pieces of content → read more

Aug 052014
Getting to Know You Back-to-School Ideas

It’s back to school time, and StarrMatica is back to helping you find the best digital content resources for your classroom.  We’re kicking off the year with some ideas to help make it easy and fun to get to know your students! 1.  Students can create a comic of their favorite summer memory, something they would like to do or learn this year, or their favorite memory of last school year. http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/make_belief_v10_u11.swf http://boyslife.org/games/online-games/235/comic-creator http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/comic 2.  Students can build their wild self and write a paragraph describing why they chose specific animal characteristics.  This allows them to be creative and gives → read more

May 302014
New Social Studies Content:  Ancient Civilizations

This month, we added new Social Studies content: Ancient Civilizations.  Content includes resources to help you explore the ancient worlds of the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Incas, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, and many more! To access these resources, login to your teacher account and choose the search button, or choose the links tab in your classroom management account. Under the topics search, choose Social Studies as your subject and Ancient Civilizations as your topic.

May 292014
Digital Content and the Core Magazine

StarrMatica’s new magazine, Digital Content and the Core, has launched! The creation of this magazine sprung from conversations with educators across the country faced with the challenge of implementing the Common Core.  Educators shared that they were overwhelmed by the largeness of the task of implementing the Core with fidelity and felt pressure to achieve immediate success.  Educators also shared the concern that they had a lack of knowledge about what role digital content should play in a Common Core classroom. It is to address that concern and to provide a touchstone along each school’s digital content journey that our → read more