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A Little Guidance, Please

 Posted by on December 31, 2012  Content Additions, Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on A Little Guidance, Please
Dec 312012

As a company founded by a teacher, we understand how incredibly busy classroom teachers are. That is one of the reasons StarrMatica was created. In Emily Starr’s fourth grade classroom, she didn’t have time to search for digital content and wished a library like StarrMatica were available.

But now that we’ve put quality digital content at your fingertips, we also want to help you use that digital content effectively with less time and effort. That’s why we have created new content guides for some of our library’s virtual manipulatives. Not only are we helping you to quickly find targeted tools, but we are also assisting you with how to integrate those tools into your classroom instruction.

Content guides include manipulative directions, ideas for using the manipulative in different settings, and example questions.

Currently there are 6 pdf content guides available. You can find them by choosing the topic groups, topics, and titles listed below:
Tables and Graphs—Bar Graph—Create A Bar Graph II
Algebra – Writing Equations – Equation Mat Explorer
US Measurement – Customary Linear – Interactive Ruler
Probability – Probability as a Fraction – Spinners
Place Value – Identifying Place Value – Sticky Numbers
Geometry – Measuring Angles – What’s My Angle Explorer

Click the + expander next to the title, and click the link for the content guide at the bottom of the description to download a guide.

Check out the content guide for Create A Bar Graph II by clicking here.

We have started this enhancement with six guides and will be adding additional guides if we receive feedback that they are of value in your classroom. So, let us know–are these guides helpful in your classroom?  Do you have suggestions for other ways we can make using digital content easier for you?  Leave a comment or drop us an email with your feedback!

Bloom’s Taxonomy for the Interactive Classroom

 Posted by on December 11, 2012  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Bloom’s Taxonomy for the Interactive Classroom
Dec 112012

We have had the privilege over the past seven years of observing interactive technologies being used in hundreds of classrooms. Through my observations, by reading blog posts, by viewing interactive lessons shared on manufacturers’ sites, and by talking with teachers across the country, a shared question has emerged that needs to be addressed: How do I use this technology to encourage higher order thinking skills?

There is a large amount of digital content that addresses lower level thinking skills, so it is easy to understand why some teachers may assume that is the case with all digital content.  Most of the interactive lessons we have observed and see on lesson sharing sites are basic skill building activities using matching, drag and drop, or multiple choice questions. Those activities do have a place in the classroom–particularly during center time when students are completing an activity that has been designed for independent practice, during guided practice, or when you are conducting a formative assessment to see which students require additional assistance.

We encounter interactive lessons that are built to encouraging higher order thinking skills much less frequently than their skill building counterparts. Part of the reason may be that at first glance, it seems more difficult and time consuming to plan an interactive lesson that encourages higher order thinking skills. But, it doesn’t have to be!

StarrMatica’s library includes content that addresses all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  This is the first in a series of six posts dedicated to sharing digital content examples at each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy for YOUR Interactive Classroom.

Level One: Remember
This level includes the skills of listing, writing, telling, naming, describing, matching and labeling. These are the basic skill building types of activities that many teachers utilize on their interactive whiteboards. There are several benefits to using interactive online content at the remembering level.
  • It saves time. As a teacher, you don’t have to spend time creating an activity in your interactive whiteboard software.
  • An online activity can add colorful graphics, sound effects, and animations that will get the attention of your students and motivate them to participate.
  • Some online activities keep a score record so you can review results.
  • Some online activities provide several levels of difficulty, two player modes or competition versus students in other locations.
Here are four examples of digital content for remembering:

K-2 — Bubble Burst

This activity encourages students to name odd numbers by quickly bursting bubbles labeled with the correct answers in a game environment.





K-2 — I Spy Colors (StarrMatica Member Content)

This activity encourages students to identify primary and secondary colors in StarrMatica Land. (You must be logged in to StarrMatica to access this content.)

3-6 — 2-D Shapes Evil Robots

This activity encourages students to identify 2-D shapes by placing them in the containers labeled with the correct names before being caught by the evil robots.





3-6 — Batter Up! (StarrMatica Member Content)

This activity encourages students to determine if a sentence is a simile, metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, or personification.  The more quickly they answer, the farther the ball is hit.  (You must be logged in to StarrMatica to access this content.)

To learn about more activities for remembering and to discover resources for understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating, sign up for StarrMatica’s free Webinars: Bloom’s Taxonomy for K-2 and Bloom’s Taxonomy for 3-6: CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Need to Expand Your Vocabulary?

 Posted by on December 3, 2012  Content Additions  Comments Off on Need to Expand Your Vocabulary?
Dec 032012

StarrMatica’s K-2 Lesson on Vocabulary launched last week.  The lesson focuses on helping students to understand synonyms, antonyms, compound words, contractions, homonyms, homophones, and homographs.  Students learn about each vocabulary type through camping adventures with Sean and Jess.  A few highlights of the lesson include:

Teacher Tool:  Vocabulary Wheels–Challenge your students to find pairs of compound words, contractions, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, homophones, and homographs.

Vocabulary Baseball–Knowledge of homonyms, homophones, and homographs is put to the test in this one player or two player matching game.

Campfire Compound Words–Students select words that can be used to create the compound words pictured.

To access these resources, login and choose K-2 Lessons.  Then choose Vocabulary from the Reading menu.