Teacher of the Month

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

This is my 13th year of teaching. I had some phenomenal teachers growing up, and I was always playing school in my room. In high school, I participated in my school’s Teacher Cadet program and knew I was exactly where I needed to be. 

What age, subject, or specialty do you teach? 

I have taught 2nd through 5th grade, as well as a Tech Lab position. I currently teach 2nd grade.

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

I will always make my classroom as hands-on as possible.  I look for ways to make learning tangible, engaging, and fun. Manipulatives, songs, games, and movement are things that I incorporate each and every day.

How did you first discover Boom Cards?

I discovered Boom Cards from an Instagram post. I knew that I needed to find out more about this program.

How did your students react to Boom Cards?

My students absolutely love Boom Cards.  I used them in 4th grade, and now my 2nd graders beg to use them.  They don’t realize that they are practicing skills that they have learned. 

Courtney Teacher of the Month
Courtney keeps it fun in her classroom.

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

I love that you can include audio on your Boom Cards. The majority of my students need that this year, and I am glad that I have that support for them. 

Do you have any favorite Boom Card publishers?

I have so many different publishers that I am able to pull from that I feel produce quality content.  Just a few of them are Games 4 Learning, Lightbulb Moments Learning, and Fun Learning for Kids

Do you use printies, as well?

I have used printies, but I tend to stick to Boom Cards.

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

I like to use Boom Cards in whole-group instruction as well. It is a great way to model what they will do independently.  For example, students came up to the board individually and spelled the CVCe words by looking at the picture. They would “pass the pen” to another student. Students were engaged the entire time. Boom Cards are a great way to have high-quality materials readily available to use. 

Do you have a favorite free Boom Card deck?

Second Grade Smiles has a great CVC Boom Card deck. It was actually how I introduced my students to Boom Cards. There are a lot of free Boom Cards available, and I love to try out different ones.

Do you make your own Boom Cards?

I am currently in the process of beginning my journey of creating my own Boom Cards. I have numerous ideas of things that I want to make for my own classroom that will be uploaded and available for others. 

What was the most challenging thing about making your first set of Boom Cards?

Narrowing down what I actually want to put in a Boom Card deck is definitely the hardest part. I just keep a running list of ideas and things that I want to create at some point. 

How long does it take you to complete a deck?

It can take a week for me to complete a deck. I want to make sure that I am offering something that is worthy of being used in the classroom.

Do you share the decks you make with other teachers?

I currently only share my decks with my teammates, but I am working on listing them soon. 

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

I have seen my students become more confident in the skills that we practice. I saw a great deal of growth very quickly in my journey with Boom Cards.

How do you know that students have made progress?

Along with the other assessments I use in the classroom, I can see that my students are making progress within Boom Learning. The Boom Learning reports are extremely helpful when I analyze the data from the various decks that my students complete. I can see which students struggled and which ones were successful. It also lets me know what materials need to be retaught whole group or in small groups. With Boom Cards, I am easily able to differentiate which students get which decks. I don’t always have to send the same decks to the entire class. 

I also use my state standards to assess student growth. 

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

I saw a great deal of growth very quickly in my journey with Boom Cards. I have seen my students become more confident in the skills that we practice.  For many of my students, Boom Cards allows them a way to practice that is fun and engaging but does not seem to be a risk.  My lower learners have progressed in skills with basic math facts without the judgment of those students who are ahead of them.  They have learned more sight words because they are working on them in private in a differentiated deck assigned just to them. Boom Cards is a safe place for them to learn and make mistakes. I can also challenge my kids who are above grade level. They also do not feel the need to feel anxious about the new material because Boom Cards allow them to practice in a laid-back way, at their own pace. 

Have the reports ever surprised you, and shown different results than you were expecting?

I don’t know that I’ve ever been surprised by the reports, other than the actual number of times my students worked on a deck. I would tell them that they had until Friday to complete a certain deck.  I had students doing them over and over to get a great “best” score. 

Have you ever used the live monitoring feature?

Yes! It allows me to see immediate and ongoing results as my students are playing. 

What do you wish more people knew about Boom Cards?

I wish more people knew how easy Boom Cards are to use in the classroom and how much Boom Cards can offer in the areas of assessment, engagement, and differentiation. 

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

Find a balance.  Find tools that help you and your students be successful. Don’t get swept up in the need to have that Pinterest-perfect classroom. 

Teacher of the month classroom
Courtney’s 2nd grade classroom.

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

Don’t be afraid to try new things. 

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

Ask for help. The teacher is also navigating this profession over a computer.  It’s difficult for them too and different than what we are used to.  Work with the teacher to meet the needs of your child. We are all in this together.

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

New opportunities for sure. Moving to 2nd grade is a chance for me to grow as an educator. 

Do you have any words of encouragement for other educators who are having a tough time right now?

Stay the course.  Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Those students are in your class for a reason!

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

Follow Courtney on Social Media: Instagram Twitter TikTok

%d bloggers like this: