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.G.A.1 Use a pair of perpendicular number lines, called axes, to define a coordinate system, with the intersection of the lines (the origin) arranged to coincide with the 0 on each line and a given point in the plane located by using an ordered pair of numbers, called its coordinates. Understand that the first number indicates how far to travel from the origin in the direction of one axis, and the second number indicates how far to travel in the direction of the second axis, with the convention that the names of the two axes and the coordinates correspond (e.g., x-axis and x-coordinate, y-axis and y-coordinate).

Descartes and the Coordinate Plane

Students learn how the coordinate plane was created with this animated tutorial.

The Coordinate Plane Animation

Students learn how to locate and name points on a four quadrant coordinate plane with this animated tutorial.

Billy Bug and His Quest for Grub

Students help a bug find food by moving him to given coordinates in the first quadrant.

Catch the Fly

Students type the correct coordinates to catch a fly.

Students enter coordinates to move a robot through a mine field to a target location.

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.4.G.A.3 Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

Students learn about line symmetry with an animated tutorial.

Students see lines of symmetry drawn on shapes.

Students use a grid to create a symmetrical drawing or can create half of a drawing and swap with a partner to complete each others.

Choose one of eight faces and explore what happens to its image in the Symmetrizer.

Students complete a symmetrical pattern on this virtual grid, or create a pattern of their own for someone else to complete.

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.3.MD.C.6 Measure areas by counting unit squares (square cm, square m, square in, square ft, and improvised units).

Students create shapes on a geoboard and find their areas.

Students use their knowledge of perimeter and area to build airliners and launch ships.

Students find the area of each zoo habitat by counting squares and half squares. (Some perimeter and volume questions are also included.)

Students count squares to find the area of each shape.

Students use their knowledge of area to solve a realistic paving slabs problem.

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 our library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2  Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

Firefighter Students practice discriminating between a main idea and supporting details.

What’s the Big Idea? Students practice finding the main idea of a paragraph.

Supporting Details Students determine the details that best support the paragraph.

Newspaper Headlines Students write newspaper headlines that will tell the main idea of an article.

What’s the Main Idea? Students learn how to find a main idea with this slide show and then practice what they have learned.

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 our library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.5  Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

Parts of a Nonfiction Book

Students learn about the text features in nonfiction books with this animated tutorial.  Features include the bibliography, glossary, index, and table of contents.

Textbooks

Students learn about the text features in textbooks with this animated tutorial.

Students use their knowledge of nonfiction text features to complete errands around town in this extended video game.

Students test their knowledge with a quiz about nonfiction text features.

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 our library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

Similes Practice

Students complete common similes and determine what makes a good simile.

Similes Quiz

Students are challenged to complete common similes.

Batter Up!

Students identify whether a sentence is a simile, metaphor, alliteration or onomatopoeia in this fast paced baseball game.

Metaphors Tutorial

Students learn the difference between a metaphor and a simile and are challenged to completed some common metaphors.

Students are challenged to match common metaphors.

There are two Common Core standards that specifically address stories told with multimedia.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.7 Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.7 Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

However there are several reasons beyond “because the standards said so” to incorporate multimedia stories into your classroom.

Multimedia can enhance the telling of a story in a way a book cannot be because of audio capabilities.  As teachers, our first thought is usually that voiceovers can help our students who are struggling with reading a text independently.  Yet there are other elements audio can add to particular stories that contribute to a richer understanding of the topic.

For example, the picture book Duke Ellington by Andrea Davis Pinkney is enhanced in a multimedia version by allowing students to hear Duke Ellington’s music.

The same is true for Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! by Lloyd Moss.  In the multimedia version, students get to hear the sound of each of the orchestral instruments.

Multimedia stories can also encourage student thinking about how stories can be told in different ways.  In an multimedia version of the short story, Zlateh the Goat by Isaac Bashevis Siger, there is no dialogue.  Students have the opportunity to experience a story told only visually and through narration.  They have to play close attention to non-verbal clues in the characters actions and in the setting of the story.  All information is not explicitly stated by the narrator which forces students to use higher order thinking skills and to draw conclusions.

How have you used multimedia stories to enrich your students’ experiences with literature?

When looking at the Common Core, it can seem as if our entire curriculum needs to be thrown out in favor of new materials and methods.  It is easy to see all of the differences the Core presents when compared to our current instruction, and it can be overwhelming to consider all of the changes that need to be made.  But, wait!  Before you say out with the old and in with the new, take a moment to look for pieces in the Core that are familiar and can be taught with your existing methods and materials.

For example, there are ELA standards at 3rd, 4th,and 5th grade that focus on main idea:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.2
Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.2
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

Finding the main idea is an important skill you already teach in your classroom and can continue doing so to meet these Core standards.  While the Core shifts focus from teaching skills to teaching concepts, students still need to know what a main idea is and how to find it before they can start applying that knowledge to the literature they read.

This StarrMatica practice activity can help students practice discriminating between a main idea and supporting details.

Firefighter

The StarrMatica activity encourages students to write a newspaper headline that will tell the main idea of an article.

There are also ELA standards at 3rd, 4th,and 5th grade that focus on context clues:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from non-literal language.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

Before students can comprehend and analyze a text, they need to be able to identify the meaning of unknown words.  This is another skill you were already teaching in your classroom that can be continued to meet these Core standards.

StarrMatica’s learning animations teach students how to find Synonym Clues, Definition Clues, Contrast Clues, Experience Clues, Example Clues, and Explanation Clues to figure out the meaning of an unknown word.

This StarrMatica activity then encourages them to use what they have learned to determine the meaning of new words.

Leaping Lilies

Some tried and true teaching methods and resources are tried and true for a reason.  They teach timeless skills and should remain in your classroom as an important, effective part of your Common Core instruction.

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 our library to support and enhance the teaching of: CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.C.6

Measure angles in whole-number degrees using a protractor. Sketch angles of specified measure.

Measuring Angles Animation

A teacher could use this animation with students on laptops/tablets/Chromebooks or an interactive whiteboard to review how to use a protractor to measure an angle.

Random Angle Explorer

A teacher could use this activity to challenge students to estimate the measurement of a random angle and then to measure the angle to check their estimate.

A teacher could use this animation with students on laptops/tablets/Chromebooks or an interactive whiteboard to review how to draw an angle.

What’s My Angle?

A teacher could use this virtual manipulative with students on laptops/tablets/Chromebooks or an interactive whiteboard in many different ways.  Students can create angles, estimate the measurement of angles, and measure angles.

Super Math Golf

A teacher could use this game to challenge students to use angle and distance estimations to score a hole in one!

This is the fifth in a series of posts dedicated to helping teachers understand specific changes the Common Core requires them to make in their instruction and sharing how StarrMatica’s content can help facilitate that transition.  The first four posts can be viewed here, here, here, and here.

One of the major Common Core Math shifts is that students will be required to use manipulatives and other technology enhanced items to demonstrate mathematical concepts.  One way to assist students with concept development is to help them visualize abstract concepts with manipulatives.  Manipulatives can be anything from hundreds charts to number lines to decimal squares—anything that helps students to visualize mathematical concepts.  An obvious example is base-ten blocks. These virtual manipulatives allow students to visualize the “sizes” of numbers indicated by their places in our number system.

Manipulatives also help students to understand the concepts behind mathematical procedures such as using base ten blocks to illustrate “regrouping” in a multi-digit addition or subtraction algorithm.  Manipulatives give students a concrete visualization to hold in their minds when they are computing to understand what is really happening mathematically.  Using a variety of manipulatives in your classroom allows students to choose a tool that works best for them.

In addition to traditional manipulatives, you should also expose your students to virtual manipulatives.  There are hundreds of online manipulatives available which provide you with a variety of instructional options that would be cost prohibitive with traditional manipulatives.  Virtual manipulatives may have added features that bring value to your demonstration, and they may be used to help students learn through inquiry by providing teachers with easily adjustable visual tools.  Students can test their ideas, explore the effects of changing variables, and formulate theories based on results.

Virtual manipulatives provide value in their accessiblity on interactive whiteboards, tablets, laptops, or Chromebooks at school and at home.  Virtual manipulatives are used on both the PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessments.  Students are asked to drag fractions to the correct locations on a number line or to draw a rectangle with a specific area.

It is important that your students have experience demonstrating their understanding with these types of online tools so that during the assessment, lack of understanding about how to use the tool doesn’t get in the way of them successfully showing their mathematical knowledge.

In StarrMatica’s library, teachers have access to hundreds of virtual manipulatives for ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Art, and Music.  Many Math manpulatives also include content guides–lesson plans for using that manipulative to meet specific Common Core Standards.