Browsing Category

Upper Elementary

Why I Love Using Boom Cards in the Classroom

Boom Cards are interactive, self-checking, digital cards that are highly engaging. Find out the many reasons why I love using these cards in the classroom here!

In recent years, digital learning tools have gained immense popularity in classrooms around the world. While there are many different options to choose from, one of my absolute favorites has become Boom Cards. Hosted on the Boomâ„¢ Learning Platform, these cards are interactive, self-paced activities that can be accessed on various devices, providing a range of benefits for teachers and learners. While I could go on and on about the various reasons I love using these digital cards, I’m going to highlight a few of my main reasons here:

1. Interactive Learning Experience:

One of the primary advantages of Boom Cards is their interactive nature. They offer a dynamic and hands-on learning experience that actively engages students. With features like drag-and-drop, clickable elements, audio features and instant feedback, Boom Cards encourage active participation and enable learners to grasp concepts more effectively. Furthermore, the game-like nature of many of the cards makes the learning experience fun and engaging for students. They often don’t realize just how much they are learning.

2. Immediate Feedback and Assessment:

Timely feedback is crucial for student growth and improvement. However, in classes with 25-30+ students, it can be challenging for teachers to provide immediate feedback on a consistent basis. This is especially true for elementary school teachers who are teaching a variety of subjects throughout the day. Boom Cards provide instant feedback, allowing students to receive reinforcement or corrective guidance immediately after completing an activity. This prompt feedback helps students identify and rectify errors, fostering a self-directed learning approach.

3. Teacher Data and Insights

The Boomâ„¢ Learning platform offers data tracking features. While Boom Cards can be assigned using a free account, the features offered with the very reasonably priced Premium account is well worth the cost. Educators can access detailed reports and analytics, gaining valuable insights into student performance, progress, and areas that require further attention. As a teacher, you can monitor student progress, track their performance, and identify areas where they may need additional support. One of the features I love about Boom Cards is that not only can I see what questions student got incorrect, but I can actually see what their response was. This data can inform your instructional decisions and help you provide targeted interventions. The page below gives just a small snapshot of some of the data you can access.

4. Personalized and Differentiated Instruction:

Every student has unique learning needs and abilities. Boom Cards allow you to easily differentiate instruction based on the needs of your students. You can create or find decks that target specific skills or concepts, enabling you to provide personalized learning experiences for each student or group of students. Teachers can assign Boom Cards based on student progress, ensuring that each learner receives appropriate content and support. This can be especially helpful if you are already breaking students into groups for centers or learning rotations. Boom Cards allow teachers to differentiate instruction without having to copy, cut, and laminate all the time!

5. Engaging and Motivating

Boom Cards are designed to be visually appealing and captivating, incorporating interactive elements, colorful graphics, and gamified features. By leveraging these elements, educators can create a vibrant learning environment that motivates students to actively participate and stay focused. Since I often use these as a rotation in centers or for independent practice, it’s important to utilize activities that keep students engaged – and Boom Cards do just that!

6. Accessibility and Flexibility

Digital Boom Cards can be accessed from various devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. This accessibility allows students to engage with the content both in the classroom and at home, promoting continuity in their learning experiences. Additionally, the digital nature of Boom Cards allows to students to repeat activities if needed or move ahead if they grasp the content quickly, enabling students to learn at their own pace. This flexibility empowers educators to create seamless learning experiences and accommodate diverse instructional needs.

7. Time-Saving Resource for Educators

While there’s certainly still a need for paper and pencil activities, these digital cards are a huge time-saver for teachers! Teacher prep is quick and easy! Just download the deck, assign it to your class or individual student, and you’re ready for a fun, engaging activity! There’s zero copying, cutting, laminating, or grading! These cards can be played over and over again, won’t get lost, and your students get instant-feedback! The BoomTM Learning platform provides a user-friendly interface for creating your own decks as well. You can customize content, add images, and embed audio to create engaging activities tailored to your classroom needs. Educators can also share decks they’ve created with colleagues, fostering collaboration and resource-sharing within the teaching community.

As you can see, the benefits of Boom Cards in education are evident. From their interactive nature and personalized instruction to their flexibility and immediate feedback, these are a must-try for any classroom.

If you’re interested in giving Boom Cards a try, click on the link below to grab your FREE set of multiply by 5 Boom Cards!

If you’re further interested in Boom Card TM resources, check out some of my activities below:

Multiplication Rockstars Self-Checking Cards

Division Rockstars Self-Checking Cards

Apple CVC Words Digital Cards

States and Capitals Digital Cards

Back to School, Freebies, Teaching, Technology, Upper Elementary

7 Tips for Successful Classroom Management

Effective classroom management is essential for a successful classroom. Learn my top 7 tips for classroom management this back to school season!

The day had finally arrived. I had just graduated from college with my teaching credential a few months earlier. My classroom was organized, decorated, and prepared for the year. I anxiously awaited the arrival of my new 34 students! I was only 22 years old, and while my carefully laid out lesson plans, strategies for differentiation, and sheer excitement for teaching gave me confidence, one area that I realized I was not prepared was classroom management – specifically, how do I get 34 completely different students to cooperate, listen, and “buy-in” for the year. Thankfully, I had a wonderful grade-level team and an incredible principal and mentor who helped me establish classroom routines, procedures, rules, and expectations that made that first year a success. I could not have done it without them!
So, for all of you first year teachers, and even those who may have been in the classroom for a long time, here are my top seven tips for successful classroom management:

1. Articulate Your Expectations

If you fail to clearly communicate what you expect from your students, they will inevitably fail to live up to your standards. Now, this requires that you actually decide what your expectations are. Begin by selecting what behaviors you want to teach. What expectations do you have for transitions? Turning in work? Needing to use the restroom? Getting books from the classroom library? Noise level? Sharpening pencils? Asking for help? Dismissal? The list goes on and on. However, choose which procedures you have specific expectations for and go from there. Remember, you can’t teach the behavior unless you have determined your expectations for it. So, spend some time mapping it out – it is time well spent!

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

I always spend the first few weeks of school practicing the different procedures in the classroom over and over again – making sure the students know exactly what it looks like and sounds like to carry out the procedure correctly. Yes, we literally spend time walking from the playground to the classroom, passing in blank papers, pretending it is the end of the day – multiple times! Although it can be incredibly tempting to fly through the teaching of classroom procedures and expectations to get to all of the academic stuff, don’t do it! If you want to have an effective learning environment, you are going to have to spend time teaching and practicing procedures. If you do it the beginning of the year, you can establish clear expectations with a receptive audience in a positive light. Otherwise, you will inevitably spend time during the year battling for control of your classroom or trying to get your students to “un-learn” what they have been doing for their procedures all year. Trust me, taking time in the beginning is SOOOO worth it!

3. Look for Every Opportunity to Catch Kids Doing the Right Thing

Everyone appreciates praise for doing something well. So, especially in those first few weeks of school, help your students learn and apply the classroom rules, procedures, and expectations, by highlighting the students who are doing these things well. Be specific in your compliments so that others can learn from their example. Rather than say, “Great job, Leah!” you might say, “I really appreciate how Leah quietly came in from recess, took her seat, and now has her eyes on me.” Or “Thank you, James, for raising your hand before you speak.” The kids usually catch on pretty quickly. When students are receiving specific feedback and attention from you (and even the rest of the class), it gives them less reason to act out in hopes of receiving negative attention.

4. Establish Classroom Rules

This might be a “no-brainer,” but having classroom rules in place is an essential component of a successful classroom management plan. Now, the debate goes on as to whether to create rules as a class or to have your own rules established when you begin the first day. I have used both and both have been effective – the choice is yours (or perhaps your schools). However, when establishing rules make sure that they are fairly global in scope – otherwise you will end up with way too many. So, rather than “Don’t lean back in your chairs” or “Only walking feet in the classroom,” use a rule such as “Be safe.” Both of the previous rules are encompassed in that general rule without having to create a list of 25 different rules addressing safety. On that note, however, spend some time discussing what that general rule might look like in the classroom. In my classroom, we always brainstorm at least 10-12 examples of what following that rule looks like and what following that rule does not look like. for the younger kiddos, having picture cards also really helps! Again, just like procedures, spend some time on this one. If your students truly understand the rules, you will have far fewer struggles enforcing them.

5. Be Consistent with Consequences

This perhaps is the hardest one for me – especially in those first few days and weeks of school. I so desperately want the students to know how much I care about them, that it can be incredibly difficult to “reprimand” those cuties for what might seem like small offenses. The reality, however, is that those adorable little kiddos are smart. And if they know they can smile, sniffle, or plea their way out of a consequence, they will! So, be consistent! If your students come in the classroom unacceptably, make them do it again, and again, until it is right. If you use a behavior clip chart, colored cards, or some other method to hold students accountable, start using it right away. I don’t usually send home a weekly report for behavior that first week of school, so this is a perfect opportunity to teach your students that you have expectations and that you will be consistent in holding them accountable. Believe it or not, students actually find comfort in knowing boundaries, and being consistent assists in making those boundaries clear.

6. Establish Positive Teacher-Parent Relationships Early

While building relationships with parents may seem out of place in a discussion about classroom management, I have found that building positive relationships with parents makes a huge impact on what happens in the classroom. When parents understand that you want the best for their child and that you want to partner with them in helping their student grow, they are much more receptive to a phone call or meeting in which you have to address a challenge that has arisen. Begin by making a positive phone call in the first 2 weeks of school. Most parents dread the “phone call from the teacher,” so make the first call purely positive and be specific. As a parent myself, nothing warms my heart quite like hearing a specific compliment about my child. Communicate with parents early and regularly. Ask them questions. Let them know that you are on their team and you are invested in each student. Building these relationships is a tremendous asset in understanding student behavior in the classroom. Parents are able to share insights from home and you are able to share insights from school. Together, you can partner to make the school year successful for each student, which aids greatly in classroom management.

7. Make Sure Your Students Understand that You Are On Their Team

While I have alluded to this in other tips, building relationships with your students and reminding them that you support them, believe in them, and want the best for them is the essential component that binds all of these strategies together. Look for the best in each of your students, and as your relationships grow, I have found that issues with classroom management dwindle. All of the rules and procedures will not be nearly as effective unless the students first believe the teacher is in their corner.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my tips. I hope they give you some strategies to implement as you begin this school year. I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on successful classroom management strategies! Comment below with your favorite classroom management strategies!

Back to School, Teaching, Upper Elementary