Facebook Twitter RSS

New K-2 Lesson: Telling Time

 Posted by on June 24, 2013  Content Additions  Comments Off on New K-2 Lesson: Telling Time
Jun 242013


StarrMatica’s K-2 Lesson on Telling Time launched this month!

Students join learn to tell time with Diego Digital and Clara Clockface.

Throughout the lesson students learn:

  • to tell time to the hours, half hour, and quarter hour on digital and analog clocks
  • what half past, quarter to, and quarter after mean
  • what today, yesterday, tomorrow, now, before, and after mean
  • what am and pm mean, the hours associated with each, and the activities that occur during each
  • the months in order
  • seasons of the year
  • the days of the week in  order
  • how to tell the date and day of the week on a calendar

A few lesson highlights include:

Tick-Tock Analog Clock – Students set an analog clock to the correct time.

The Crazy Calendar – Students use calendars to identify days, weeks, months, years, and seasons.

To access these resources, login and choose K-2 Lessons.  Then choose Telling Time from the Math Menu.

Common Question #4: How does StarrMatica support the Common Core ELA standards?

 Posted by on June 11, 2013  Behind the Scenes of StarrMatica, Common Core  Comments Off on Common Question #4: How does StarrMatica support the Common Core ELA standards?
Jun 112013

In our Common Questions series, StarrMatica’s CEO, Emily Starr, answers some of the questions we are most commonly asked.

StarrMatica’s content addresses many of the Literature and Informational Text Common Core Standards.  There are several features to our content which are specifically focused on meeting the needs of teachers as they adjust to the Common Core.

  1. Teachers can search our entire library of content by the Common Core standards.
  2. In 3rd-5th grade, the Common Core focuses on non-fiction texts.  Half of the literature on StarrMatica is non-fiction including at least eight texts for every reading comprehension topic.
  3. StarrMatica’s 3rd-6th grade reading tests include both fiction and non-fiction texts.  The tests are open response which require students to type in answers, use details from the story to support answers, and justify/explain answers.  This is similar to the structure of the new Common Core assessments.
  4. For teachers looking for practice texts, look no further than StarrMatica’s picture book resources.  StarrMatica has developed picture book partner guides for many picture books.  These guides provide a lesson plan with printable questions for using the picture book to teach Common Core standards.  The standards addressed are listed in each guide.

As former teachers, we are committed to helping our fellow educators find quality digital content to assist in the Common Core transition.  Stay tuned for further Common Core updates!

Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part One – Visualizing Concepts

 Posted by on June 5, 2013  Content Integration Ideas  Comments Off on Virtual Manipulative Mania: Part One – Visualizing Concepts
Jun 052013

Every time I use the term virtual manipulatives outside the education community, my gaze is met with blank stares and funny looks. Being a teacher, “education speech” comes naturally to me, and I often forget that not everyone is a member of the club. Virtual manipulatives is a term that I always stop to explain to whomever I am speaking because virtual manipulatives are an integral part of using interactive content in the classroom effectively. I refer to manipulatives as online objects that can be moved and explored to help students understand concepts. A few examples would be base ten blocks, fraction bars and multiplication arrays.

As teachers begin to use interactive content in the classroom, I encourage them to use content that has already been created as a starting point for designing interactive lessons rather than starting from scratch to create their own content. I suggest this for three reasons:

1. It helps both tech-savvy and non-tech savvy-teachers begin to use interactive technologies right out of the box without having to spend time learning to use new content-creation software.

2. It increases teacher planning time by allowing them to focus on designing an effective lesson around the content rather than spending time with design elements of the content. ie: Teachers should be figuring out what questions to ask their students to guide their exploration of a manipulative rather than worrying about text size and finding appropriate graphics.

3. Teachers cannot create manipulatives with the same graphics and interactivity programmers can.  They simply don’t have the same tools and skill set.  And, manipulatives with those elements are an essential part of using interactive technologies effectively. (These points will be well evidenced throughout this series of posts.)

StarrMatica has curated one of the largest collections of virtual manipulatives available because of the reasons above, the research associated with the use of virtual manipulatives, and the reasons I will be sharing with you in subsequent posts, I believe virtual manipulatives should be the cornerstone of interactive content in the math classroom.

This is the first in a series of seven posts sharing why I believe so strongly in virtual manipulatives along with specific examples that exemplify each reason.

Virtual Manipulatives Help Students Visualize Concepts

Virtual manipulatives help students visualize abstract concepts. Using manipulatives for this purpose allows students to learn through inquiry and to explore a concept in a way that is not possible without the manipulative.

An obvious math example is base-ten blocks. These virtual manipulatives allow students to visualize the “sizes” of numbers indicated by their places in our number system. Below are three additional manipulatives that help students visualize concepts.

Mega Penny Project

Students explore images in this manipulative to help them visualize the size of large numbers using groups of pennies in relation to other objects.




Visualizing Percentages

Students visualize the size of percentages by viewing different objects.




Alphabet Symmetry

Students explore line symmetry by folding letters and symbols vertically and horizontally.