1. Students can create word clouds to describe themselves. They can enter words that describe who they are, what they like to do, what they like to read, what they like best about school, and places they would like to visit someday.

http://www.wordle.net

http://www.tagxedo.com

2. Students can make a post on a shared classroom wall in response to a question such as: *What would you like to learn this year?*

http://primarywall.com

http://scrumblr.ca

http://padlet.com

3. Students can create a virtual corkboard with photos, video, and text from their summer vacation, about their family, or illustrating what they would like to be when they grow up.

4. Students can create a flyer advertising their strengths so during the year, students will know which classmates to turn to for help in specific areas. Who is the best artist, math wiz, problem solver, or proofreader?

http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/Printing_Press

5. Students can upload a photo of themselves and record audio so their photo introduces who they are to the rest of the class.

http://blabberize.com/swf/blabberc.swf

Do you have other technology infused beginning of the year activities? Share with us below!

]]>An understanding of place value is essential to understanding more complex concepts in our base-ten system of mathematics, so it is often a starting place for review. Your students may be able to state the value of a digit in a larger number, but do they understand what that value represents? Here are several ways you can use digital content to find out!

- Use place value cards to build numbers and visually remind students that there are implied zeros as place holders for each digit.
- Place the same digit in each place value and use the cards to discuss the relationship between neighboring digits. Guide your students to discover that each digit to the left is ten times the value of the digit to its right AND that each digit is one-tenth the value of the digit to its left.
- Ask your students to use their place value knowledge to build the largest number or smallest number possible with given digits in order to determine their understanding of the role of place in determining the value of a digit. What is the largest number you can build with the digits 5, 6, and 3? What is the smallest number you can build? Use base ten blocks to visually represent answers.
- Ask students to model a number with non-proportional manipulatives. For example, how could you model 356 using pennies? You will quickly learn if your students understand the concept of grouping ten individual objects to create a ten and grouping ten groups often to create a hundred.
- Correct student mis-conceptions by using base ten blocks to model solutions. Ask your students: How many tens are in 356? Most students will answer 5; however, that is incorrect. There are 35 tens in 356. Use base ten blocks to model this concept. Then challenge your students to build a three digit number using only tens from the online base ten blocks.

What numbers can they build? What numbers can’t they build?

Do you have a unique way of developing place value concepts in your classroom? Share with us in the comments below!

]]>To make accessing the best picture book resources even easier, StarrMatica has partnered with AKJ books to provide the opportunity for you to invest in your classroom library. If the title of a picture book on StarrMatica is hyperlinked, clicking the title will take you to that book on AKJ’s website, where you have the opportunity to purchase the book if it is not already available in your library. A few of the books are available for purchase in ebook form, and we will update the links as more ebook formats become available. As part of this upgrade, 175 new books were added to expand many of our reading and math topics, so be sure to explore our new lists!

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