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StarrMatica

May 012017
 

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

Civil War Soldier

Choose a side, enlist, and follow an actual regiment as a civil war soldier.
https://www.nps.gov/webrangers/activities/civilwar/civilwar.swf?activityID=3&userID=

Treasures of Congress

Explore historical artifacts from the beginning of our government to the present day.
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/treasures_of_congress/page_1.html 

Pathways to Freedom

Step through a journey on the underground railroad. Roll over images to collect clues that may help on your journey.
http://pathways.thinkport.org/flash/ftf_1_0.html

Go West with Lewis and Clark

Travel westward with Lewis and Clark and make decisions along the way to ensure a successful journey.
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/west/

Apr 182017
 

It can be difficult to find supplementary resources to meet the needs of the students in your classroom who need a challenge.  StarrMatica’s library is packed with content that can help encourage those students to grow in their thinking.  Here are a few examples: ecolonization

Engage your students in the scientific process

Ecolonization Use your knowledge of organisms to construct a bio-dome with a self-sustaining food chain.

Plant Growth Experiment View the results of an experiment to test whether water, light, and temperature affect whether seeds grow. Then answer questions about what you have discovered.

crown or colonyAsk your students to make critical decisions in the shoes of a historical figure

For Crown or Colony Become a 14 year old living in Boston when the Revolutionary War begins. What will you do?

Strike it Rich! Become a miner and see if you can strike it rich!

Who Do You Want To Be? Become an Immigrant and make your voyage to America.

 

city creator

Challenge your students to use STEM thinking

Tinker Ball Engineer a machine to complete a specific task.

Science Detectives: Training Room Escape Use scientific processes to find your way out of a dark room.

City Creator Design your own city with the city creator interactive zimmer twins

Allow your students to demonstrate their knowledge in different ways

Printing Press Create a newspaper, brochure, flyer, poster, or sign.

Zimmer Twins Create a movie using animations of the Zimmer Twins. Add transitions and your own text. Then press play to watch your creation. You must create an account to save your movie.

How do you use digital content to challenge your TAG students?

Apr 032017
 

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

The Data Bank Research Company

Great interactive with a real life reason to gather and display data.

http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/me3us/flash/lessons/15/m3_15_00_x.swf

Brilliant Beadstring Rekenrek

Explore numbers, counting, addition and subtraction with an online rekenrek.

http://www.ictgames.com/brilliant_beadstring_with_colour.swf

Free Fractions Unit

Check out this free fractions unit that includes video clips and activities for a variety of fractions topics.

http://oame.on.ca/CLIPS/index.html?ePractice=T/?EP_Topic=Fractions

How Big Are You?

Estimate how many of a non-standard measuring tool it takes to measure a large dinosaur. Then measure to check your estimate.

http://www-tc.pbskids.org/dinosaurtrain/media/swfs/howBig.swf 

Super Math Golf

This is a fun center idea to practice angles.

http://www.linkslearning.k12.wa.us/teachers/1_Math/6_Learning_Resources/2_SuperMath/content/games/golf.htm

Mar 142017
 

backpackOne of the benefits of having access to an entire library of content is being able to easily differentiate your instruction.  For example, if you are working on place value concepts, you could create three collections of content. (Note:  To view some of the examples, you must be a StarrMatica Member.)

In Level 1, you could include content that uses base-ten blocks for your students who need visual support.  Here are a few of our favorites with directions you could include in the collection:

Base Ten Blocks         Watch this animation first.

Base Ten Blocks III     Build 10 different numbers using the blocks.  Record those numbers and the blocks you used in your notebook.

Place Value Chart       Build 10 numbers with the cards and write them in expanded form in your notebook.

In Level 2, you could include content that moves on to place value with numbers for your students who understand the concept, yet need some extra practice.  Here are a few of our favorites with directions you could include in the collection:

Value of a Number      Watch this animation first.

Mystery Numbers II     Can you build really big numbers?  Find out!

Build a Word                Try this challenge last.  Write the words you have spelled in your notebook.

In Level 3, you could include content for students who understand the concept of place value and need a challenge.  Here are a few of our favorites with directions you could include in the collection:

Place Value Machine            Use this manipulative to help you answer this question in your notebook: How does multiplying and dividing affect a digit’s place value?

Hacker’s Number Machine   Can you create a number larger than the computer’s?

Place Value Game               Create the largest number possible from the digits you are given. Choose wisely! Once you place a number, you cannot move it!

Once the collections are created, you can place them in the digital backpacks of three different groups to differentiate your instruction for every student in your classroom!

Mar 012017
 

pizza parlor fractionsEach Friday on Facebook and Twitter, we share a curated digital resource from our library that is one of our favorites.  In February, we focused on math resources.  Here’s what we shared:

The Factor Game

Play The Factor Game against the computer or a friend. Select a number and your opponent must find the factors. Then, switch roles.

http://illuminations.nctm.org/Activity.aspx?id=4134

Bears in a Boat

Are students losing interest in your ten frame?  Try using bears in a boat to catch their attention!

http://www.glencoe.com/sites/common_assets/mathematics/ebook_assets/vmf/VMF-Interface.html

Pizza Parlor Fractions

This is a fun game for practicing adding and subtracting fractions.

http://kevinmuma.com/software/pizza/Instructions.swf

Grouping and Grazing

Try having your students group cows to practice counting by 5’s and 10’s or to practice adding and subtracting with a partner.

http://illuminations.nctm.org/Activity.aspx?id=3526

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.