favorite movie of all time is “The Wizard of Oz.” As a little girl, I used to dress up like
Dorothy and watch a VHS tape of the movie my parents recorded when it aired on
television. If you’ve seen the movie,
you know that near the end, Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal the Great and
Powerful Oz is simply one man with a lot of ingenuity.
StarrMatica is a teacher-owned company nowhere near the size of a large
publishing house, you might suspect a wizard behind the curtain scenario. So, I am writing this post to share with you
the amount of time and expertise that goes into creating StarrMatica Texts: Science Your
Way and to tell you about the team behind our curtain. (The differences that makes us truly unique are bolded below.)
Each Science Your Way text starts with a Next
Generation Science Standard. Our collection of texts is written
specifically to address the NGSS and is not a collection retro-fitted to align
to the standards. You’ll realize this
difference quickly as you start to read one of the texts. Each
text starts with a phenomenon photo and related question to mirror the
beginning of a high quality NGSS lesson.
All our texts are written by children’s authors who each have a Master’s
Degree in Children’s Literature or Nonfiction Writing. Our talented authors have won awards for
their writing and have written for major publications such as National
Geographic Kids. Several have even taught
in the classroom themselves!
text is written it goes through an editing and revision process which includes
an executive editor, professional proofreader and a scientific expert. University professors read each text to
ensure alignment to the standard, to check for scientific accuracy and suggest
edits to help students avoid common misconceptions about the topic now and in
is written in two different text structures (cause/effect, problem/solution,
descriptive, etc.) Once both texts are in their final forms our author
coordinates with our executive editor to create six different reading levels
for each text (One above grade level, three at grade level and two below grade
level). That’s twelve different versions
of the same text! These texts are then
sent MetaMetrics for official Lexile scoring.
This is one of the features that sets this solution apart. All
students can read the same text at their level.
professional graphic designers assist with the graphics and layout of each
text. Because the texts are
informational, we use photographs whenever possible. Each
text has one or two graphics created by our talented designers that are unique
to that text such as diagrams, timelines and text boxes. You might know Common Core standards at
several grade levels speak to the importance of illustrations. In our text customization process, teachers
can choose which graphic aids to include in a text, so graphics are an
important part of our process.
texts are sent to another writer to create our Common Core-aligned
comprehension questions and comprehension supports. This writer has years of ELA assessment
writing experience and has worked with major publishers. She is also another set of proofreading eyes.
questions and comprehension supports are edited and proofread, they are added
to a recording script with the texts. As
teachers, we believe there is a lot for students to learn from the way a text
is read from pacing to inflection. This is why we take the extra time and
great expense to record audio supports for all of the text a student sees on
the screen rather than using an inexpensive auto-reader. We also think listening to a text should
be enjoyable for students. Afterall, who
likes listening to a robot for an extended period of time?
The audio supports are recorded at a studio with a sound engineer and a voice talent with decades of experience. Two editors are also in each session to listen for accuracy, pacing, pronunciation and inflection. The finished sound files are each listened to and compared with the script.
whole set of texts, graphics, questions, supports and audio files are sent to
our programmer to work his coding magic.
Finally, each text is tested by our editors, as well as by students and
teachers in classrooms.
Whew! That is just a brief description, so you can
have confidence that when you use StarrMatica
Texts: Science Your Way with your
students, you are using a high-quality product designed to integrate with your
curriculum. For more information about the research-basis for the texts, check
out last month’s post. And feel free to
contact us if you would like more information about StarrMatica Texts: Science Your
Way or any of the steps above that go into creating each text.