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StarrMatica

Feb 072017
 

question markEducators often try to compare StarrMatica to other software programs, but once they begin the comparison, they quickly discover it is difficult to compare apples to oranges.

StarrMatica’s library of online digital interactive content is the only resource of its kind.

Being the only online library of digital interactive content makes us unique.  Being a company founded and managed by educators makes us unique.  Having content designed by classroom educators makes us unique.  But what makes us truly original is the assistance only StarrMatica can provide for our fellow educators.

StarrMatica leaves teachers in control of content decisions.

While at first glance it may seem easier to have a computer program choose activities for students, research has shown that technology, specifically instructional software, has been proven most effective when integrated into classroom instruction by a teacher.  Students who experienced teacher-led standards-based instruction with technology showed higher overall gains than students who experienced the same curricula and technology in an isolated lab setting.  This is because teachers have the ability to match computer instruction with a child’s development, the curriculum sequence, and the needs of particular groups of students.  Teachers must be involved, “orchestrators” of technology, rather than quiet observers of students in learning isolation.

StarrMatica provides teachers with a wide variety of content to address every student need.

When students use individualized software programs, the program assigns activities. These activities are typically limited in number, can be skill and drill based, use the same strategies over and over, and offer little learner choice.  If computer selected interventions are not effective, then teachers are once again searching for alternate resources.

With StarrMatica, teachers are presented with up to fifty digital content resources for a concept, so instead of relying on a singularly focused activity, teachers can try several interventions until a student succeeds. In addition, choosing interventions from multiple activities with multiple strategies allows teachers to match interventions to a student’s learning style, interests, strengths, and weaknesses.  And StarrMatica isn’t just  multiple choice practice activities.  Our library incorporates manipulatives for concept exploration; problem solving activities for addressing higher order thinking skills; and instructional animations for introduction, review, or self-paced learning. StarrMatica addresses multiple needs with one easy-to-use library.

As a company founded by educators, we know that it is imperative that every investment you make be of great value.   Instead of being a singularly focused software program that is only used by individual students on computers, or only offers multiple choice test preparation, or only shows animated videos, StarrMatica’s content variety provides exponential value through its flexibility.

Your school has probably invested a lot of money in technology hardware.  StarrMatica was designed to help teachers make the most of every piece of technology in their classrooms including interactive whiteboards, projectors, interactive pads, response systems, computers, and tablets.  88% of teachers say that simply having access to more digital content would allow them to use technology more often.  StarrMatica’s library of content meets that need, so teachers can make the most of your technology investments.

Our library of content also allows teachers to choose resources that are tailored to every learning setting including whole-class, small group, centers, and individual students both at school and at home.

StarrMatica helps further with:

  • a built-in individualized basic facts program that automatically adjusts practice based on a student’s performance.  Reporting features allow teachers and parents to monitor progress towards fact mastery, and teachers can even view data at the class level to diagnose the most missed facts.
  • individual student progress accounts.  These accounts allow teachers and parents to monitor student progress so they can make immediate adjustments to intervention or enrichment plans.
  • the ability to create and share collections of content.  This makes it easy for teachers to share individualized content with specific students and to save collections of favorites from year to year.

StarrMatica helps teachers integrate technology effectively with a personalized approach.

Research has shown that students whose teachers use technology effectively in the classroom have higher test scores than students whose teachers do not.

Simply providing teachers with a library of digital content doesn’t mean they will know how to use it effectively.  As teachers ourselves, we take the extra step to make sure that teachers are able to quickly locate content to meet individual student needs and are comfortable with integrating that content effectively into classroom instruction.

To accomplish this, we combine our library of content with a series of personalized professional development sessions, informational emails, and online support to assist every individual teacher.

Our assistance is tailored to the needs of each school by evaluating access to technology, teacher technology proficiency, and teacher and administration goals, so we can best help you move from where you are today to where you would like to be in the future.

So now you know the differences that make up StarrMatica’s secret sauce.  (I guess it’s not a secret anymore!)

Feb 012017
 

moleculariumEach Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  In January, we focused on science resources.  Here’s what we shared:

Molecularium

Great resource for introducing students to atoms and molecules.

http://nanospace.molecularium.com/

Career Town

Explore career town to learn about job possibilities.

http://vacareerview.org/k5/play-it/career-town/main.cfm

Goldburger to Go

Design a Rube Goldberg machine!

http://pbskids.org/zoom/games/goldburgertogo/rubegame.html

Lab Hazards

Can you identify all of the lab hazards?

http://www.interactivesolutions.co.uk/games/flashGames/labhazards.swf

Jan 102017
 

How many times have you taught a concept only to have to re-teach it the next day because your students don’t remember what you taught the day before?  We know that engaged students learn more than passive students, so we need to be masters at constructing learning experiences in ways that lead students to discover a concept by drawing their own conclusions rather than directly teaching them the concept.  Here a few easy ways a directly taught concept can be modified with digital content from StarrMatica to encourage students to draw their own conclusions.

balls

Directly Taught Concept:  The more times an experiment is conducted, the closer the results will be to the theoretical probabilities.

Student Discovery of that Concept:  Students conduct a probability experiment 10 times and 100 times and then compare the results to draw a conclusion.

 

shapes

Directly Taught Concept:  All parallelograms are quadrilaterals, but not all quadrilaterals are parallelograms.

Student Discovery of that Concept:  Students sort 2-D shapes into categories and then compare shapes in those categories to draw a conclusion.

 

gardenDirectly Taught Concept:  We need to use a standard measuring tool for accuracy when communicating measurements to others.

Student Discovery of that Concept:  Students use footsteps of different sizes to measure around a garden.  Students use fish of different lengths to measure the length of a blue whale. In both activities, students use the information that non-standard measuring tools result in different measurements to draw a conclusion about the need for a standard measuring tool.

How do you lead students to draw conclusions in your classroom?

 

Jan 022017
 

monsterEach Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  In December, we focused on ELA resources.  Here’s what we shared:

Persuasion Map

Students map out their argument for a persuasive essay or debate.
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/persuasion_map/

Storyline Online

Check out this amazing source for stories read aloud online.
http://www.storylineonline.net/

Exploring Onomatopoeia

Create onomatopoetic words to describe each sound you hear.
http://rwtinteractives.ncte.org/preview_mg.aspx?id=736&title=

Dec 062016
 

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 StarrMatica’s library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.D.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph.

30Create a Bar Graph

Students can create and print a bar graph of data they have collected.

 

 


animal-islandAnimal Island Bar Graph

Select Hard to help Molly read a bar graph. Choose Really Hard to help Molly answer questions about a bar graph.

 

 

32Create a Picture Graph

Students can create and print a picture graph of data they have collected.

 

bugsBugs in the System

Help the Cybersquad clean up the infection of nasty bugs by using the bugs to create a bar graph.

 

 

34The Data Bank

Students gather data, organize data, and display data while working for a business in this realistic game.

Dec 012016
 

classifyingEach Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  In November, we focused on science resources.  Here’s what we shared:

Classifying Life

Classify three organisms using a tool with seven steps.

http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/assets/swf/1/classify-life/class.swf

Moon Phases

Students explore the phases of the moon with a split screen that simultaneously shows the view from Earth and the moon orbiting around our planet.

http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/Labs/LunarPhases/lunar_phase3.swf

Forces of Wonder

Forces of Wonder Challenge the might and power of the world’s strongest man! Drag and drop items onto Stronginsky to learn about the forces of compression, bending, torsion, and tension.

https://wonderville.org/app/asset/forces-of-wonder

Science Detectives: Training Room Escape

Use scientific processes to find your way out of a dark room.

https://askabiologist.asu.edu/sites/default/files/TrainingRoom/TrainingRoomEscapeGame.swf

Fund Your StarrMatica Membership On #Giving Tuesday

 Posted by on November 22, 2016  Uncategorized  Comments Off
Nov 222016
 
giving-tuesday
What is #GivingTuesday?
          Everyone is familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the days you are able to get massive discounts on items in stores and online. While scoring sweet deals is surely something to be excited about, we know of an even better day. We’re talking about #GivingTuesday, which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and this year it’s on November 29th.#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving.
          It’s the perfect time to create and share your fundraiser for StarrMatica so that you can bring it to your students at no additional cost to you (because we all know that teachers already spend way too much!)
          Our partners at PledgeCents have streamlined the approach to online fundraising. You can now sign-up and submit your fundraiser for StarrMatica in literally seconds! 
How Do I Create a StarrMatica Cause?
It takes just 3 easy steps to create a cause for StarrMatica on PledgeCents:
          1.  Follow this link to sign up for PledgeCents: SIGN UP HERE
          2.  Choose the number of teacher accounts you need.
          3.  You will be emailed a link to your cause.  Use Facebook and Twitter to share it with the world!  On #GivingTuesday, people will be looking to donate to worthy causes.  And your students are a very worth cause!
          4.  Once the funds are raised, we will contact you directly to activate your account.
How Do I Win Even More Funds for StarrMatica?
          What’s even more exciting? PledgeCents will be hosting a #GivingTuesday contest where you can score even more funds.  Learn more about the contest by clicking here.
          And if you create your cause on #CyberMonday or #GivingTuesday, PledgeCents will donate $1 to your cause for every Facebook share you generate of your cause up to $150.  That’s almost 1/2 of a teacher membership just for sharing your cause!
          Don’t miss out on this giving season! Everyone can spare a few seconds… create your fundraiser today!
          Best of all, if you don’t reach your goal, you still get to keep any amount of money you raise. Let us know how we can help you create your StarrMatica cause on PledgeCents for #GivingTuesday!
Nov 152016
 

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 StarrMatica’s library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.C.4 Measure volumes by counting unit cubes, using cubic cm, cubic in, cubic ft, and improvised units.

55

Volume Animation

Students learn the meaning of volume and how to calculate it with cubes and numbers.

 

 

56Volume Explorer

Students find the volume of a rectangular prism using cubes with the help of an animation.

 

 

57Surface Area and Volume

Students create a cube with a chosen width, depth, and height.  They can then reveal or hide its volume.

 

 

58Create With Cubes

Use this isometric drawing tool to create shapes with different volumes.

 

 

59Feeding in Volumes

Students use calculation to find the volume of food boxes for animals.

 

Nov 012016
 

united statesEach Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  In October, we focused on social studies resources.  Here’s what we shared:

Place the States

There are lots of options with this interactive for learning states and capitals.
http://www.yourchildlearns.com/mappuzzle/us_menu.swf

For Crown or Colony

Become a 14 year old living in Boston when the Revolutionary War begins. What will you do?
http://www.mission-us.org/pages/landing-mission-1

Strike It Rich

Become a miner and see if you can strike it rich!
http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/goldrush/sfeature/game.swf

Who Do You Want To Be?

Become an Immigrant and make your voyage to America.
https://tenement.org/immigrate/

Teacher Feature: Jen Miller

 Posted by on October 20, 2016  Teacher Features  Comments Off
Oct 202016
 

jen-millerMeet Jen Miller.  She teaches first grade at Eagle Heights Elementary School in Clinton, Iowa.  Here is her StarrMatica story:

As a long-term substitute I was able to attend a StarrMatica training offered in the Clinton District about six years ago.  Ever since the training, I was hooked.  When I taught 4th grade for a year, I used the program extensively to differentiate instruction.  As I moved into teaching 1st grade, it was a necessity to bring StarrMatica with me. 

We don’t have student textbooks.  We follow the Common Core Standards.  Unfortunately, it is up to us to find many of our own resources.  Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers are great, but it takes time to find appropriate resources that fit the standards in addition to usually costing an additional fee or requiring prep work.  StarrMatica takes the time issue off the table.  It is incredibly user friendly, even for teachers that don’t feel like they do well with technology integration.  On average, I feel that by using StarrMatica I cut my planning time down to almost half.  StarrMatica provides my focus lesson and opportunities for small group, whole class, or individual work. 

StarrMatica allows me to not need a textbook or worksheets for students to practice skills and show proficiency at mastery of these skills.  I appreciate the ability to look at the content available in other grade levels.  This allows me to go back to skills from the previous year or advance to another grade level to meet student needs.  In addition, I appreciate knowing that if I have a concern, question, or comment regarding anything with StarrMatica content I can send an email and get a response quickly.

I use StarrMatica in whole class and small group with my first grade students, and I will be using it to differentiate instruction in the near future.  StarrMatica is generally used to hook the students into a lesson, as an introduction, on my interactive whiteboard.  Then I move into students using the program to play some of the many games and practices offered.  In addition, I have utilized many of the virtual manipulatives the program provides.  StarrMatica also has great webinars and trainings.  I have participated in quite a few of these and have found them to be very helpful.

StarrMatica content is AD free!  It is evident that content is gone through on a regular basis to ensure content meets Common Core Standards and doesn’t have pop-up ads that are sometimes not appropriate for students or are distracting.

I would encourage both tech-savvy teachers and those who are not to use StarrMatica.  Being uncomfortable and nervous about trying a new product is ok, but you won’t get out of that discomfort if you don’t push forward and try something new.  With the technology of today, educators need to embrace the new and not hesitate to ask for help.  StarrMatica is easy to use and provides free training to educators.  There may even be experts within your building or someone that is willing to jump in and try it with you.  Then there are the students — no matter their age they can probably help you as well as you work through using new tools.  It is a learning experience for students to see you try something new!