Since StarrMatica is a teacher-owned company, we would like to introduce one of our team members whose commitment to educational texts helps to make us who we are today. Shannon McElroy is one of our writers who creates comprehension supports and Common Core aligned questions for StarrMatica Texts: Science Your Way and for StarrMatica Texts: Social Studies Your Way. Shannon has a history of writing stories, informational texts, assessment items and learning support materials for kindergarten through college-level students. She loves it all. Creating content for a wide age range keeps her engaged year after year, as well as toggling between Language Arts → read more
My 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. Since 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 → read more
3-PS2-3 Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. As we create informational texts for each of the Next Generation Science Standards, there are tons of amazing, interesting, and just plain weird facts we are learning. I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you, so this is the first in a series of posts that tell interesting science facts! Magnets are also used to protect the health of animals and keep our food safe. Cows that are bred for their meat → read more
It sounds like a silly question if you are a teacher. We know students need to understand what they read, but maybe you haven’t stopped to really think about the question in awhile. It may seem counterintuitive, but just because your students read fluently doesn’t mean they understand what they read. This is a dangerous pitfall, because if we hear a student reading fluently, we often assume they are a good reader. Assessing reading comprehension is further complicated when students who are able to comprehend fiction passages, may not be comprehend informational texts. Literary passages simply do not require the → read more
There is never enough time! As a fourth-grade teacher, I felt the time squeeze every day in my classroom; not enough time to prepare meaningful lessons, not enough time to teach and not enough time to address individual student needs. Five years into teaching, I was at the point of thinking, “Enough is enough!” If you are a teacher, I’m sure you’ve had this feeling at some point. My particular tipping point came one day in 2004. I was handed a projector and asked to use it in my classroom. My excitement to use technology quickly turned to dismay as → read more
Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from StarrMatica’s library to use social studies manipulatives to foster concept development. Map Maker Interactive Create a customized map! Zoom in to a chosen area of the United States. Then select the features you would like to see represented by checking and unchecking boxes. It includes a point tool, line tool, ruler, and icon set. Landscapes Map Skills Click on each of the four map skills (compass skills, grid references, symbols and keys, scale) to learn about them and practice what you have learned. Adventure Island Learn how → read more
Here are four pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from StarrMatica’s library to use science manipulatives to foster concept development through visual models. Earthquake Animations Learn the basics about earthquakes with these animations. Earthquakes and Plates Drag the slider back and forth to explore the relationship between earthquakes and Earth’s plates. Earthquake Experiment Discover how different building materials can minimize earthquake damage. 1906 San Francisco Earthquake View photos and footage of the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
STEM teaching encourages students to solve authentic problems and to collaborate with others to design, build, test, and re-tool until a solution is achieved. A library of content supports this integrated vision of STEM learning with its library design which allows educators to choose content that complements and supports in class hands-on investigations. In this way, educators can integrate technology into instruction in flexible ways to teach foundational STEM skills and to encourage problem solving and group collaboration. The following are concrete examples of digital content from each STEM area. Science: Keeping Healthy Students control Ruby’s actions to determine what → read more
Here are five pieces of digital content a teacher might choose from StarrMatica’s library to use ELA manipulatives to help students develop concepts and demonstrate their understanding. Exploring Onomatopoeia Create onomatopoetic words to describe each sound you hear. Persuasion Map Plan a persuasive essay using this online persuasion map. Character Trading Cards Create your own character trading cards. Myths Brainstorming Machine Use this Myths Brainstorming Machine to help you write a myth of your own. Create Your Own Comic Strip Create your own printable comic strip! How do you use ELA manipulatives in your classroom?
If you haven’t joined us yet, set a reminder on your calendar for this Wednesday at 7:15 pm CST to join us for our next Facebook Live Video! Every week, I go live on Facebook for 5 – 10 minutes to share specific digital content that may be helpful in your classroom. Past video topics are hyperlinked below: Discover two interesting alternatives to common math manipulatives Learn an easy way to differentiate your instruction using digital content Discover my favorite free online graphing activity 5 Digital Getting to Know You Activities for Back to School Fun! 5 sites that make → read more