While Boom Cards™ has been around for a few years, they are rapidly gaining popularity as we get more familiar with our new normal of distance learning. If you're like me, you love a good ol' task box to engage your students in an ongoing list of academic, vocational, and social learning topics. Boom Cards™ are essentially virtual task boxes that allow students to participate and have the same learning opportunities with familiar visuals, and promote progression in the topics we were working on before the school closures. Here are the top 5 reasons why I feel Boom Cards™ are so useful during distance learning.
1) Immediate Feedback
I absolutely love that my students receive immediate and automatic feedback when working through a Boom Card deck. In a classroom setting, there are times when my staff and I work 1:1 with students on task boxes, which means we are there to correct and teach them when they get things wrong. With distance learning and so many parents having their own work to do from home, it's comforting to know there is a way to give our kids the same correction while they work independently, which in time will help them to learn the topics they are working on. It's also important that the feedback is visual and audible, showing and speaking sounds and symbols that are universally connected to right or wrong. For example, a “Whoops!” for a wrong answer.
2) Data Tracking
When you add your students to your Boom Card account, you will be able to track their progress throughout the school closure. This will help you to stay up to date on where they are, and also give you guidance on what to assign next. Although it may not seem like it now, there will be a time when we can all go back to our classrooms and do our job in person, and while it's unrealistic to expect all of your students to have access to and use the Boom Cards you assign, it can still be a great way to determine where individual students have progressed or regressed when they return to school. The Boom Card website provides a “report” tab that allows you to see how students perform on the decks, including their progress, accuracy, and time. In addition to providing you with a benchmark for students when classes resume, it is also an excuse to ditch the task box data forms!
3) Audible Boom Cards
Like I mentioned above, a lot of our students are home with parents who are desperately trying to juggle working from home and tending to their child's education. Boom Cards are great because they can be worked on independently. However, just because our students can navigate them, doesn't necessarily mean they can read them. There are many decks available in the Boom Card store that come with an option for the cards to be read. While this is not an option for every deck, you can typically find a deck that includes a read-aloud for most topics your students are working on. Your parents will thank you for providing them with decks with this option!
|Most of my Boom Cards have audio included. The card direction is read aloud.|
4) Easy to Assign
Once you have purchased a deck, you can assign them a few different ways.
A: If you have a teacher account, you set up a classroom and assign your students user names and personalized passwords. You can assign decks by individual students or the whole classroom. I love that you can differentiate, which is so important in the special education world. There is a free teacher account, but beware, you can only have up to 5 students on that one.
B: You can also generate a hyperlink to send decks via e-mail or post them to a Google Classroom. Super easy. Student clicks on the link and brings them right to the exact deck that you have assigned. The website will prompt them to log in, so students will need a login for this.
C: In addition, you can also generate a “FAST PLAY” pin. This will give you a 4-5 digit pin that has a 14-day expiration. This pin DOES NOT need a login. Students go to the Boom learning website (or open the app on the iPad) enter the 4-5 digit pin that you have already generated and BOOM they go right to the deck that you assign, NO LOGGING in!
D: Lastly, Boom card decks can also be printed. Although the reason I love them is the whole paperless thing, some students are triggered by technology but you still want them working on certain skills, you always have the option to print them. This is a great option for those students who do not have access to technology at home. (Please note that you will lose all the features of Boom Cards when printed, such as the audio and the drag and drop features.)
5) Use them When You Return to Your Classroom!
Since familiarizing myself with Boom Learning and converting my own task boxes to boom decks, I have grown to LOVE them and have already brainstormed several ways they can be used in my classroom when we return to school. As you may know, I am a huge fan and advocate for independent centers. My students have made huge progress using them in my classroom and I am excited to incorporate Boom Cards into the independent center when we return. This will provide an even greater opportunity to gain independence as a staff member will not have to periodically correct students while they're working, they can do this by themself! In addition, we all know how effective flexible seating is, and Boom Cards allow learning to be portable. Students would be able to complete their assigned decks on an iPad in a seating area of their choice, and I believe giving students the choice to choose where they work within reason can be an easy way to increase success.
That's all for now!