Anna Barham

How long have you been teaching, and how did you get started?

I’ve been working in Early Childhood Education for about 25 years. I was inspired to teach by my mother, a former teacher who ran a daycare in our home when I was growing up.

What age, subject, or specialty do you teach?

I have spent most of my career working with preschool students.

What are some of the traditional (non-digital) resources you use with learners?

I have a center-based classroom with areas for dramatic play, building, science discovery, art, literacy, and games. I love using hands-on materials so that students use their whole bodies to learn. I also love using songs, finger-plays, and puppets during whole-class lessons.

How did you first discover Boom Cards?

During the pandemic, our school went to a virtual format and I had to rethink my teaching strategies. Another teacher told me about Boom Cards, and I was instantly hooked!

Early Childhood centers enrich student learning by allowing students to create, explore, and to discover new ideas.

How did your students react to Boom Cards; what were their favorite parts of using them?

Now that we’re back in the classroom, my students love when they get to come up to the Promethean Board and click the buttons to show their answers.

What about you? What’s your favorite tool or feature?

I love that I can search for activities in so many ways: by grade-level, desired skill, or by theme. It’s been so easy to find relevant resources.

Do you have any favorite Boom Card publishers?

Made for Me Literacy and Ashley Rives are two publishers I’ve used often. The engaging graphics and targeted skill lessons are great for class review and appropriate for young learners.

early childhood centers
One of the hands-on center activities in Anna’s classroom.

Do you ever combine Boom Cards with other in-person learning activities? If so, can you give an example?

Sure! One of our big preschool goals is to learn positive social behaviors. Boom Cards are an easy way to practice taking turns as we go through the lessons. I’ll also often have the class vote “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to give their opinion of the correct answer (or hold up 1, 2, or 3 fingers, depending on the type of activity) so that everyone stays engaged in the lesson.

Do you have a favorite free Boom Card deck?

I have MANY favorities! One that we’ve used recently is Ladybug Counting by Pencils and Pom Poms. I love that students get to drag the correct number of bugs into the jar so that it recreates the same experience they would have with traditional math manipulatives (and as a bonus, I don’t have to worry about anyone putting toys in their mouths).

What kind of progress have you seen from learners who have played with Boom Cards?

I had a young class this year of mostly 3-year-old students. They had low language and communication skills at the beginning of the year. I used open-ended Boom Cards sets, such as ones where you searched for hidden eggs or designed a picture together to encourage and expand their vocabularies. I also used Boom Cards to practice pre-literacy skills such as letter matching and beginning sound identification. As the year draws to a close, I have been amazed at the class’ progress. Most students use complete sentences, and many are also able to name several letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make.  

How do you know that students have made progress? Do you have any specific benchmarks that you look for?

I use Boom Cards for informal assessment while we play as a whole class. I use a simple checklist to mark skills like letter identification and take notes about the language skills students demonstrate during the games.

What do you wish more people knew about Boom Cards?

 I wish people knew how easy they are to use and how many free and very low-cost options are available.

What advice would you give to someone who is new to teaching?

 I would encourage a new teacher to use Boom Cards the same way I do—as a way to maximize transition times and turn them into learning opportunities.

What advice would you give to a teacher who is about to retire?

 I would encourage more experienced teachers to just login and give Boom Cards a try! As a more experienced teacher myself, I can sometimes feel intimidated by technology, but Boom Cards are simple to use and will save you so much planning time.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could send a message back to 2019?

I wish I’d started using Boom Cards sooner and asked my district to pay for student subscriptions.

What advice would you give to parents who feel like their children are struggling because of remote learning during the pandemic?

Boom Cards are an easy way to help target specific learning challenges.

What are you most looking forward to about teaching this year?

I’m excited to get more organized and connect more resources, including Boom Learning, to my classroom units of study.

Do you have any words of encouragement for other educators?

Stick with it and rely on your fellow teachers for support, whether they are in-person at your school or connected through shared resources like Boom Cards.

If you want to be featured as a teacher of the month, email BoomLove@boomlearning.com.

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