Common Sense Review
Updated May 2013

More.Starfall

A range of clever activities for early literacy and math exploration
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • The home page has links to math and literacy games, songs, and extra activities.
  • The extensive Teacher's Lounge offers customizable, printable worksheets and full lesson plans.
  • The e-library offers a wealth of animated books to read or listen to.
  • A video presentation of 3 presents the number in multiple ways and concludes with a short, interactive game.
  • Kids must determine whether the first quantity is more, less, or equal to the second.
Pros
Fun, engaging, and often cleverly designed games and activities focus on a variety of math and early literacy topics.
Cons
The experience can't be personalized, and no student tracking means limited use as an individualized teaching tool.
Bottom Line
This great resource for fun games and animated books has intrinsic educational value.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Kids will like interacting with a variety of interesting and attention-grabbing games. But there's a lot to look at, including a fun but irrelevant collection of songs, which makes the home page a little overwhelming.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Activities provide in-depth coverage or at least a solid introduction to a number of early literacy and math topics. Unfortunately, there's no way to adapt the experience for particular needs, and feedback is limited.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Extensive support materials bring the learning offline. A system for tracking progress, giving feedback, or showing accomplishments would greatly improve utility.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

One major strength of More.Starfall is its Teacher's Lounge, which features full curriculum guides, customizable printout activity sheets, and a variety of other teaching resources. Use these resources and guides to plan lessons, enhance existing lessons, or assign classwork or homework.

 

Teachers can use More.Starfall as a supplement to drive home classroom topics or introduce them in a different way. There's also a chart for selected literacy activities that outlines the topics addressed and the learning scope and sequence in the selected videos and games. Games are for individual play, so they're best used in a computer lab, at an individual learning station using a classroom computer, or as homework. Using the site requires some oversight, as teachers will need to be specific and proactive about which games kids should use if you want to align exploration with a specific classroom topic.

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What's It Like?

More.Starfall offers a hodgepodge of songs, animations, books, and games designed to teach a range of early literacy and math skills. Reading activities go from letter and phonics exploration to an online library of animated picture and short chapter books. Math games focus on early math topics such as numbers and addition but also introduce more advanced concepts such as multiplication and fractions. The page dedicated to first graders conveniently organizes activities according to Common Core standards.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The quality and scope of More.Starfall's content is, for the most part, excellent. It uses a clear and deliberate teaching approach to introduce concepts. For example, kids can watch videos and play games that explore different ways to represent what the number 3 means. More.Starfall also provides opportunities to practice and explore new skills in creative ways. In an addition game, kids first answer that two frogs plus three frogs equals five frogs, and then they see all five frogs line up on a number line to show how 2 + 3 ends up being 5.

 

There's a wealth of reading content for new readers, though the original books focus more on offering good skills practice than on being quality children's literature. The most significant downfall is the lack of personalization options, like an ability to create playlists tailored to a specific student's needs. In addition, there's no feedback on performance; games are engineered to only accept correct answers so kids will end up responding correctly, but they'll get no feedback on their errors. More.Starfall would benefit from the addition of tracking tools to monitor how kids use the site and their progress.

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