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10 Content Tips for Boom Card Authors

So you’ve set up your Boom Storefront, learned your way around the Studio, and now your ready to start filling those digital shelves with new decks of Boom Cards.

Stuck for ideas? Not sure what Boom Cards will sell?

Check out our 10 tips for topics and content. Each one is based on requests from educators and trends the Boom Team has noticed over the past year.

1. “Real Picture” choice cards

It seems that teachers and students would like to see decks using real photography more often. These requests have come for a variety of topics and subjects. If you’re handy with a lens, you can take your own photos, or you can seek out professional ones – just make sure your aware of copyright and use restrictions.

2. Reading Comprehension

Educators are looking for questions about stories or books. These could include stories your create followed by comprehension questions or questions based on established work, but be careful of copyright restrictions in the later case.

3. Emergent Reader Guides

There have not been enough emergent guided reading stories in Boom Cards to satisfy educators. These decks would have dots for each word to help students track, as well as sounded out words, pictures, and other audible or visual cues. They’d also like the decks to have comprehension questions, and to be leveled ideally.

4. Life Skills

Requests for these range from doing the laundry or shopping to tackling bills and budgeting. The goals can range from helping students build basic life skills to preparing teenagers for the real world after graduation.

5. Science, Geography, and Social Studies

There are a variety of sciences to choose from, but not a lot of quality decks on those topics in the Boom Store. Similarly, Social Studies and Geography have far fewer quality choices than most subjects.

6. Upper Grades

There are lots of decks in the Boom Store for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st-3rd grade, but this has left secondary teachers struggling to find decks for 6th-12th grade.

7. Phonemes

We’ve heard requests for decks that use simple de-codeable sentences or short passages that contain 3-4 of the common spellings for a phonemes.

For example: ‘AY’ and ‘ai’ as well as ‘a_e,’ ‘ey,’ and ‘ea’ in the same passage.

8. Timely Themes

While many people include seasonally appropriate themes and backgrounds or create decks of Boom Cards centered around major holidays, far fewer acknowledge themes such as National Nutrition Month (March). Topics range from Poetry to Bullying Prevention and can be great inspiration.

Here’s a few to get your started:

  • February: 100th Day of School
  • March: National Nutrition Month/National Crafts Month and Read Across America Day
  • April: Poetry Month
  • May: Physical Fitness Month
  • August/September: Back to School
  • October: Bullying Prevention Month

9. Languages (other than English)

Decks that either teach languages other than English or which are translated into other languages are also in demand. Spanish and French are classic, and commonly requested, options of course. American Sign Language, German, Japanese, Italian, and Chinese are also all in demand though.

10. Social and Emotional Wellness

It’s not hard to work out why this was highly requested, and there’s no reason to think the demand will dry up next year. Decks cover coping skills for stress, build emotional intelligence, or address bullying are all popular requests. In general though, you can’t go wrong providing decks on any topic the helps a student navigate their social and emotional landscapes.

Final Thoughts

One final insight we can share: there is a real push for more representation across the board these days.

Decks of Boom Cards that show characters from a variety of backgrounds and in every shade of the human experience are growing more and more popular.

Creating decks for Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), or Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May) are a great start, but more representation won’t go amiss any time of the year. Just be sure to do your research so you can ensure accurate and fair representation of lesser known historical events and cultures other than your own. Bonus: the more research you do, the more inspiration you’ll find along the way.

Share any insights or fun facts you’ve uncovered in the comments below, or join our Boom Sellers group on Facebook to give and get tips, tricks, and ideas with fellow Boom Card Authors.

If you haven’t started selling your Boom Cards yet, check our our Quick Start Guide for Authors to kickstart your store on Boom Learning.

Happy Booming!

Blue bar with Boom name and homepage URL: www.boomlearning.com

How to choose the right format for your teaching resource

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If you are creating for your own students, following this guide will help you choose the right tool for the task. If you are creating for others, this will help you decide what tools to use for each piece of your overall project. It will also help you develop your Blue Ocean Strategy for your online store.


Step One Table of Contents

  1. Teaching Model/Resource Fit
  2. Choosing the Formats

First, Find the Format that Fits the Role in the Teaching Model

So many digital tools, so little time. You can port your resources to a variety of different formats, but before rushing to do so, ask yourself:

Where in a model of Effective Teaching does each piece I am creating belong?

This will help you determine if you have all the right pieces or whether something is missing from your project concept.

Screenshot 2018-07-16 10.07.37

Let’s say Secanda is creating materials to teach homonyms to second graders. She has made a funny video about homonym confusion, a series of worksheets for students to draw and write each homonym and its concept, and plans to add task cards for matching spelling to concept, and an assessment. Before she sits down to create, she maps them to the Effective Teaching Model.

Slide1

After pondering the model, Secanda decides to add a Teacher’s Guide for the novice teacher, and to create two additional deck of task cards: (1) to review first-grade homonyms and (2) to look ahead to higher level homonyms for the early finishers. Now she has addressed review and added cards to increase complexity. In her Teacher’s Guide she recommends her Greek and Latin root words resources for students who are ready for more.


Choosing Your Formats

After thinking about where what you plan to create fits in a model of effective teaching, you need to think about outside constraints. What resources and tools are available to you to make your resources? We’ll talk about video and sound in future installments. For today, we’ll discuss:

Is the format permitted with the clip art I want to use?

If you plan to share or sell your resources and you will be including purchased clip art, you have to choose a format that will meet the conditions of the license you purchased. For most formats (but not all), you will have to take steps to protect images you include from being easily copied or pay extra for a digital license.

Let’s say Secanda loves Melonheadz clip art. She reviews Melonheadz terms of use and discovers that

  • She needs to provide credit
  • Boom Cards usage is allowed with no additional steps or license
  • Downloadables for printing must have the content flattened and be in a locked pdf
  • PowerPoint and Smart Board usage requires that images be flattened as part of a background
  • Can’t be used in App Store apps, Facebook apps, or Tiny Tap apps

She’s not worried about the last item. But she realizes she needs to do some research about flattening and locking. She decides to investigate Boom Cards as an option.

Secanda also likes Glitter Meets Glue’s License. That license says

  • She needs to provide credit
  • Boom Cards usage is allowed (both moveable pieces and background)
  • Distribution in PowerPoint, Google Slides, and other files types requires that the image be inserted into the background so they cannot be lifted
  • Google Drive™ and Microsoft OneDrive™ moveable pieces usage is not allowed

She’s been learning about moveable pieces and is excited to create with them. She loves PowerPoint so plans to do more research on inserting images into the background. She knows some people are converting PowerPoints to Google Slides, but since she has elected to use Glitter Meets Glue images for this project, she decides to try that another day.

Before she moves on, she bookmarks several resources for future reference:

  1. How to export PowerPoint images to Boom Cards
  2. Creative Cloud at Adobe so she can purchase Adobe Acrobat as needed to flatten and secure images into the background
  3. Teaching in the Tongass’ instructions on how to use Adobe Acrobat Pro to flatten and secure the images
  4. Flat Pack for PowerPoint for when she wants to selectively flatten images in a PowerPoint
  5. Study All Knight’s Digital Express App for flattening her PowerPoints to import into Google Slides

Will the format work for my teacher user’s classroom?

After considering your resource constraints, you need to consider your teacher users tool limitations (remember your blue ocean strategy—serve your niche; not every niche). How do you expect your teacher users will use the materials?

  • Projected presentation?
  • Interactive whiteboard presentation?
  • Printed?
  • Print, copy, laminate?
  • Shared tablets?
  • Shared computers?
  • 1:1 computers?
  • Take home/at home devices?
  • Distance education via browser?

Secanda knows her customers are using interactive whiteboards and shared tablets. They are trying to reduce paper use.

Her friend Elem creates for upper elementary. His customers are using Windows netbooks shared with a second classroom. They are 1:1 for part of the day, but no take home use. They also have interactive whiteboards.

Elem’s wife Maddy creates for middle school. Her customers have 1:1 Chromebooks that they take home at night and over the weekend.

Pulling it all together for your project

Let’s look at each of our example teachers and how each might proceed:

Secanda decides to design in PowerPoint to have a consistent look between her task cards and her presentations. She does just the backgrounds for her task cards in PowerPoint and exports them as images to Boom Learning where she imports her moveable pieces and adds drop zones to create drag and drop tasks. She is so taken with making Boom Cards, that at the end creates a Boom Learning “teaching” deck that contains her funny video, an everyday language statement of the learning objective, a few cards to aid the teacher in presenting the material, along with a wrap-up card on meta-cognition skills for homonyms (how to use a dictionary).

Elem also likes Glitter Meets Glue. Some of his customers are die-hard fans of his PowerPoint games so he also plans to create in PowerPoint. After creating, he selectively flattens the clip art, leaving live the items that should be clickable and playable. Elem wants to reach new buyers looking for self-grading features and student reports. So after chatting with Secanda, he also exports his PowerPoints as images and creates Boom Cards versions of his resources. He knows his resources will be used for test prep. So he also prepares a teachers’ guide to explain how to use his decks with reports to selectively intervene using greek and latin root resources he created to correct homonym errors.

Maddy is all about open resources and DIY. She only uses free curriculum, images, free fonts, and prefers to create in Google Docs, using Slides, Docs, and Forms. Unfortunately, class sizes are growing at her school and performance is declining and she needs better information about where her students are struggling. Elem convinces her to give Boom Cards a try. She converts a Google Slides deck to Boom Cards. After importing, she adds text boxes, buttons and fill-in the blanks to enable self-grading. She assigns the deck to the whole class, having them screenshot the final screen. She takes the 5 worst performers and has them play the deck again as logged in students. She learns that three need practice with a few specific greek and latin roots, and assigns those materials improving their performance. Two others have challenges specifically with homophones. After further assessment, she recommends referral for evaluation of possible dyslexia.