Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Using BOOM Cards™ for Instruction

 Happy Tuesday morning, friends!

I read in the newspaper yesterday that over 80% of the teachers in my state felt overwhelmed or stressed by current teaching conditions. I get it! Frankly, I'm surprised those numbers aren't even higher. 

Some educators are expected to teach in-person in a school setting which is stressful due to possible COVID exposure, among other things. Others are struggling with being strictly online and all the stresses that go with it: spotty internet service, student attendance/participation, lack of resources, etc. And still others are trying to delicately balance a hybrid approach with both online and in-person learners.

Compound Words: Two Truths & a Turkey Tale BOOM Cards 

Oh my goodness, I can't even! It hurts my head and my heart just thinking what educators are currently going through.

While there are no easy answers and definitely no one right way to do things, I thought I would share something that I started doing last year during quarantine that was a lifesaver for all involved--students, parents, and myself.

I have previously discussed my love of BOOM Cardsand how engaging they are for my students. (If you missed that post, you can read it here.) Before we were quarantined in March, I mainly used these interactive digital task cards as a math center for practice AFTER my instruction.

Missing Divisor (Fall Edition) Boom Cards
And then came online learning. Folks, can we still be friends if I confess I am not good at juggling multiple things? Especially juggling things while 25 fourth graders and their parents and their grandparents and their younger siblings and their pets are watching on a computer screen? Oh, the anxiety!

Let's just say switching from my slide or video presentation to our practice work was usually NOT a seamless process for me. In fact, I dreaded the instructional part of online learning. When I was trying to change gears, kids (or adults!) would want to start talking, there would be computer glitches, etc. It can be tough to manage transitions in person let alone online--can I get an AMEN?!

It was also difficult to find quality online resources that aligned well with the lesson I just taught. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and so it was for me. I decided then and there to create my own BOOM cards with a little mini lesson included.

Whoo hoo! My life is changed forever!

Let me just give a quick rundown of the benefits from these handy little decks.

1. Whether I'm teaching online or in-person, my lesson with built-in questions is ready to go! I don't need a separate slide presentation or to waste valuable time (or suffer potential embarrassment, haha!) juggling multiple platforms. It's all right there.

Thanksgiving Synonyms (Using Context Clues)
2. If a student is absent during instruction, the mini lesson and the directions are included with the practice work. Parents and paras have commented how helpful that feature is for them. Students also appreciate being able to review concepts before they begin the work.

3. Educators using the hybrid model of instruction can easily use these decks. Students working in class or at home have the exact same resource available to them to help with lesson equity.

4. No trees have been harmed during the making of these lessons. This is a huge benefit to teachers and administrators...and trees. Paper (also known as $$$ ) isn't wasted and neither is valuable time making copies. There is no hassle trying to get work to students who aren't physically at school, and lessons can easily be assigned online.

5. Lessons are self-grading. Need I say more? Teachers have enough on their plates this year, and this is a HUGE timesaver! Reports can also be easily generated on the Boom Learningwebsite so teachers can track progress.

6. Students receive immediate feedback. Folks, this is a biggie! I believe with all my heart that the most effective instruction requires immediate feedback. Why do a worksheet with 25 problems if you're doing them all wrong? If a student tries a question or two on a Boom deck and misses them, they know to stop and ask for help.


Prime & Composite Numbers

I'm sure there are more benefits, but these are the main ones I've encountered so far. I do have to put in the disclaimer that while most of my BOOM decks have instructional slides, not all of them do. For example, a lot of the math fact practice decks do not have them due to the specific instructional vocabulary and methods many schools have in their math program. Please check out the previews to see if the teaching slides are included.

Whether you are teaching remotely, in-person, hybrid, or homeschool, I hope this post gives you some helpful ideas for making your life easier and less stressful. Please take care of yourselves, sweet friends, because if no one else has told you this today, YOU matter!

Until next time!

Awesome mockups created by Coffee Beans and Children's Dreams

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