The Full Meal Deal

Sometimes you just need to plug a hole in a curriculum you already have or mix it up, but sometimes you want the whole deal—everything to address a standard in one place. Today we are going to introduce you to some full meals that include Boom Cards.

Primary Listening Center Unit on Aesop’s Fables

digital bundlePaisley Owl Aespo's FablesThis complete digital bundle by The Paisley Owl includes 7 of Aesop’s Fables. Each deck is a self-contained full story study. Students can choose to read the story or have it read to them using the embedded narration. When students finish listening to or reading the story, they answer a series of questions (each with its own narration). Questions evaluate understanding of characters, setting, problems, solutions, and the ability to sequence the story’s events. Listening and reading centers have never been easier.

5th Grade Volume Complete Curriculum

Screenshot 2018-01-20 14.12.18Stress-Free Teaching brings you complete 5th-grade curriculum for Volume (available at Teachers Pay Teachers). Completely paperless, it includes interactive practice pages, Boom Cards decks, and Google Forms assessments. You can use all 5 resources to teach volume or pick and choose.

To learn how to assign Boom Cards decks through Google Classroom, or any LMS, watch our video:

Secondary French Resource for verbs conjugated with avoir and étre

Mme R’s French Resources offers a complete resource to teach, reinforce and assess regular and irregular French verbs conjugated with avoir and être. This bundle, available at Teachers Pay Teachers, includes notes and exercises, exit tickets, activities, games, Boom Cards and traditional task cards, and a trip to Paris (Powerpoint) project that can be used as a final assessment. Try a Boom Cards free sample for a taste:

Boom Cards free sample

French avoir or être - passé composé
French avoir or être – passé composé

 

Find something just right for your needs today.

Google Proves What Teachers Have Been Saying for Years – And You’ll Never Believe What It Says

You already have the skills to future-ready your students for the world of tomorrow, but you may not realize it.

In the future, robots will take over most rule-driven jobs, such as driving, assembly, and more. At the same time, the knowledge for many fields will rapidly become obsolete. Your students are growing up in a world where the new normal is gig work: short-term, part-time, on-demand, with rapidly changing knowledge demands.

Dynamic Technology Solutions

We talk about the need for hard STEM skills as the key to making our students future-ready, but research from inside Google tells us a more subtle story. [Hint–you don’t have to love math or science to make your students future-ready.]

“Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.” Cathy N. Davidson, in Valerie Strausss, “The surprising thing Google learned about its employees – and what it means for today’s students”, Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2017.

A more recent study by Google shows that its most successful teams are marked by

“equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard.” Cathy Davidson.

Who has these skills?

Teachers.

Standards matter for your own job security, but to make your students future-ready, deliver those standards in ways that:

  • develop team conversational skills—the ability to share ideas with courtesy, receive feedback with grace and understanding, and navigate to solutions;
  • encourage risk-taking—including finding the inner strength to recover from errors and being able to admit to others what you don’t know;
  • teach students to learn how to learn—making sure every student has a fundamental reserve of grit to tackle the unfamiliar and difficult (for advanced students, pushing them to where their brain hurts a bit when learning).

Any student who gives up easily, who avoids work when it gets hard, who gets embarrassed by mistakes, who fears looking bad, or who bullies others is an at-risk student when it comes to being future-ready. Research is telling us what teachers have always known, social skills matter for success.

So go out there and use your superpowers to future-ready your students.

Give the Gift of Fundamentals: Why Sequencing is Critical

School breaks are a great time to assign optional practice on fundamentals. As Boom Cards will play on devices from smartphones to desktops, they provide an equitable method for helping students, catch up, stay up or move ahead.

Today Belinda Givens of BVG SLP talks about the fundamental skill of sequencing. Check out our store for more ideas for sequencing fundamentals.


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Sequencing: Why It’s So Critical

by Belinda Vickers Givens, MA, CCC-SLP

The ability to put things into sequential order is an extremely important precursor to organizing thoughts, retelling stories, following directions, reading comprehension, problem solving, and so much more.  It is a vital common core standard from as early as Kindergarten, primarily because it will prepare students for future academic success.  The sooner children are exposed to, and able to demonstrate mastery of sequencing, the better equipped they are for higher level critical thinking.  From putting numbers in order, alphabetizing words, recognizing a pattern, following directions, and even following a schedule, students are taught to sequence in EVERY subject.

As a Speech Language Pathologist, I work with students daily on organizing their thoughts for more effective communication.  A large part of thought organization involves being able to mentally put your ideas in order, before speaking, to effectively get your point across in a logical way that can easily be understood by your communication partner.  I find that my youngest scholars are most successful when they are presented with a visual that they are able to manipulate as they learn this vital skill.  Physically interacting with the content and moving pictures around allows them to visually see and better comprehend this concept.  As they progress towards being able to visually sequence an event or story, the goal is to graduate to fading the visual supports and ultimately independence without the need for verbal or visual cues.

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Presenting my students with picture cards for them to organize was very feasible as a face-to-face therapist, however, now that I’m working as a teletherapist (a service delivery model that allows Speech Language Pathologists to deliver therapy services remotely via the computer) gone are the days of tangible picture cards.  I love technology and embrace it with open arms as I have witnessed firsthand the enthusiasm and growth in my students when we are learning via a digital platform.  I have been very busy searching for and creating resources that capture my students’ attention to keep them engaged.

Boom Cards™ have been a HUGE hit with my students and I absolutely love the ease of use, interactive nature, and self-grading features of these digital task cards.  What I love most about them is that the cards I have created can easily be differentiated for use with all of my students regardless of their skill level.  With my lowest scholars, I can verbally provide them with increased cues or repetitions as necessary or scale back the cueing to provide less guidance as they gain independence.

 

I have started a series of Sequencing and Story Retell Boom Cards that are seasonal and timely to keep my students motivated and engaged all year long!

These cards include four complete short stories in each unit, multiple choice comprehension questions (to address story elements and answering “wh” questions), and interactive digital picture cards for students to sequence by dragging and dropping directly on the screen. I have also included visual cue cards with transition words to aid in story retell, as well as, an introduction to using context clues to address vocabulary by defining unfamiliar words.

My students have been very motivated by these lessons and are excited to manipulate the content directly on the screen.  I have found that I get the best outcomes for my students when they can interact with the material being presented.  They are not only engaged and enthused to actively participate, but they don’t require outside reinforcement to attend to the task and I can, therefore, maximize my time for increased trials.  They enjoy the ability to point and click their answer choices for immediate feedback and I really appreciate the fact that the Boom Cards are self-grading which saves me a substantial amount of time with data collection and progress monitoring.

I currently have a Fall and Winter themed unit available for purchase and will be releasing a Spring and Summer Sequencing and Story Retell unit very soon.  To find more of my digital interactive lessons, please visit my Boom Learning store HERE.


Belinda has been an American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) Certified Speech Language Pathologist for 11 years.  She is licensed in FL, CA, WA, and VT and is a member of ASHA’s Special Interest Group 18 for Telepractice.  She currently works as a teletherapist serving PK – 12th grade students.  She holds her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Education from Florida State University and her M.A. in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from the University of Central Florida.  She also earned an endorsement in Reading from UCF.

She is the co-owner of Infinity Rehabilitation, LLC with her husband who is an Occupational Therapist.  She is also the creator and owner of BVG SLP, which specializes in creating No- Prep, No-Print digital therapy materials that are great for use within teletherapy platforms or face to face therapy.  She is passionate about literacy and has written a children’s book (The Adventures of DemDem the Garbage Truck: Watch Out for the Bumps).  She tries to incorporate literacy into the majority of her therapy sessions. In addition to her Boom Cards store, you can find products from her at her Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Belinda is the mother to three amazing young boys and enjoys taking road trips, reading, crafting, and exploring.  She has been married for 15 years and resides with her family in Central Florida. Connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest

 

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Boom Learning wins Academics’ Choice Award for Mind-Building Excellence

Kirkland, WA November 26, 2017

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Boom Learning Inc. is pleased to announce that Boom Cards has been honored with the Academic’s Choice Award, a prestigious seal of educational quality, reserved only for the best mind-building media and toys. The independent Academics’ Choice Awards program and its seal of excellence are recognized worldwide by consumers and educational institutions as a mark of genuinely effective learning tools that stimulate the mind, and provide the potential for the student to fully develop higher order thinking skills.

The Academics’ Choice Advisory Board consists of leading thinkers and graduates from Princeton, Harvard, George Washington University, and other reputable educational institutions. Product-appropriate volunteer reviewers, combined with the brainpower of the Board, determine the coveted winners. Entries are judged by category (i.e. mobile app, toy, book, website, magazine, etc.), subject area, and grade level, and evaluated based on standardized criteria rooted in constructivist learning theory. The full list of winners is posted online at http://www.AcademicsChoice.com.

cropped-boom2001.pngAcademics’ Choice Awards Reviewers had a lot to say about Boom Cards.

This is a fantastic resource that I hope homeschooling parents and teachers will take advantage of! Boom Cards is the “Teachers Pay Teachers” of learning apps!

Reviewers were taken by the variety, interactivity, game-play and ease of use:

I love that learning is presented in a FUN and interactive way. Kids learn so well through game-play. The site was easy to use, and I appreciated being able to search both by subject AND grade level – allowing me to narrow down the decks available to those that were age-appropriate for my kids. I appreciate that there are both free and “for profit” games available, allowing for a wider range of consumers to use and enjoy the product. While I didn’t create any decks, I love the option to do so, and plan on utilizing that feature in the future.

The hundreds of submitted products that are not chosen by the Academics’ Choice Awards team (and many that are chosen) are donated to a variety of worthy charities and other organizations across the globe. About Academics’ Choice™: Academics’ Choice™ helps consumers find exceptional brain-boosting material. Academics’ Choice is the only international awards program designed to bring increased recognition to publishers, manufacturers, independent authors and developers that aim to stimulate cognitive development. A volunteer panel of product-appropriate judges, including parents, educators, scientists, artists, doctors, nurses, librarians, students and children, evaluate submissions based on educational benefits such as higher-order thinking skills, character building, creative play, durability and originality. Only the genuine “mind-builders” are recognized with the coveted Academics’ Choice Award™.

Boom Learning is the brainchild of Senator Eric Oemig and Mary Heuett Oemig. Its modern form resulted when a good friend introduced them to the extraordinary Rachel Lynette. Boom Learning puts the power of the digital revolution in the hands of teachers, data they need, tools they need, and freedom to innovate. Teachers personalize learning while saving time and money.

Combining Standards-Based Learning with Actionable Data for Differentiation

In our modern, highly mobile culture, standards give students a relatively uniform exposure to content when they move between states. Most states have adopted some form of standards derived from the Achieve American Diploma Project. Both the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and the Common Core State Standards have their roots in Achieve’s work.

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Whichever set of standards your state uses, a survey of high school graduates indicates that setting high expectations and pushing all students to take advanced coursework results in students feeling better prepared to face the challenges of work or college, whichever they choose after graduation.

The textbooks in your classroom may be everything you need for at-level work (or not). But, for your students who are ready to reach higher, or your students who need more repetitions, you’ll want to supplement. Boom Cards supplements, with their self-grading elements, give you actionable data so you know who is ready to move on, and who needs more practice.

Actionable Data

We talked about proficiency and mastery in this blog. The best-prepared students have not merely mastered the data, but are proficient: they can respond correctly, quickly, and without hesitation.

Watch and learn how to read Boom Cards reports to track progress towards mastery and proficiency.

Differentiating with Boom Cards Decks

Standards-based Boom Cards decks allow you to combine rich student reports with dialed up or dialed down content for specific standards. Here are just a few examples of how you might deploy Boom Cards for differentiation.

4th Grade Place Value 

I heart 4th Grade creates standards-based supplements for her classroom. She has materials aligned to third, fourth and fifth grade standards. When teaching place value you can use a combination of her decks to assess, practice, differentiate and intervene to get your students to proficiency. Here is a sample pathway through some of her materials for Numbers in Base Ten:

Place Value 1.png4.NBT.1 Identify Place Value

Students

  • identify the value of a specified digit,
  • determine how many times greater a number is,
  • practice with base ten.

Need more practice at level? Assign

For the student who needs to a slow start, revisit the prior year’s standards with

Students who show they’ve mastered 4.NBT.1 can be quickly moved on to 4.NBT.2 with Compare Numbers (using place value). You can use the deck for independent work or clustered groups.

English Language Art Language Standard 5: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

WiqwJRzKqxDNZ8H5Z-Slide06.jpgUsing the search “CC.ELA.L.5” in the Boom Learning store provides a variety of materials spanning up through eighth grade. Many authors in the ELA area offer bundles that span the evolution of a standard across grade levels.

For example, Rachel Lynette’s Context Clues bundle spans third to sixth-grade levels. Students can move from one level to the next as they demonstrate mastery and proficiency.

Try a search or two to find materials you can use for your classroom.

Boom! Glorious Chaos Tamed

by Elizabeth Clarke, Poplin Elementary

The Differentiated Classroom

Highly Gifted Girl in SchoolA differentiated classroom is a remarkably busy place. Children can be seen working several different objectives and doing any number of activities: games, small groups, online activities; it runs the gamut. Somehow, a teacher keeps her thumb on all of it, keeping the work at a steady hum.

In addition to being a differentiated classroom, mine is also the gifted education room. I teach compacted math and above-grade level reading to identified-gifted fourth and fifth graders. All of my students have aptitude scores at or above the 90th percentile and achievement scores (generally on state tests) at or above the 93rd percentile in their area(s) of service.

So, yeah, in some ways my job is easier. My kids pick up concepts pretty quickly. Most of them like school because they’ve been successful with it. On the other hand, I’ve got a challenge because my standards reach across three grade levels and, like any other teacher’s class, I still have a range of learning speeds with a variety of kids’ issues. I differentiate because, my kids, despite being gifted, are still different from one another (… and what’s the point of having pull-out instruction if some are still sitting in class, bored because they’re waiting on others to get it?).

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Student playing Order of Operations-No Exponents by The Big Kids’ Hall

Teaching my math standards in a way that allows my sharpest kids to continue moving forward while not rushing my thoughtful-and-methodical (and quick to stress themselves out, because AIG kids have a real knack for that) students has been my biggest obstacle. I also need to know that the practice is appropriate for each child and whether he or she is actually succeeding with it. My highest fliers often feel pressure to keep up the appearance of knowing everything, and would rather do just about anything than ask for help, including being less than honest about their progress, looking for a way to cheat, or avoiding the work altogether.

Enter Boom Cards

As a 1:1 district, my students come to class equipped with Chromebooks. When my students finish a ‘level’ or grouped set of objectives, they complete a sheet that asks them to consider which of the activities they did during the level helped them best learn the content. Boom Cards regularly appears on those lists. I think they’re a game-changer.

Here’s why:

They can be assigned individually.

The obvious plus here is that I can assign different decks to different groups, but this feature also allows me to set practice for an individual who is missing a requisite skill or re-assign one that isn’t yet grasped on the down-low. A chunk of my kids, despite lots of talk about growth mindset and ‘my size fits me’ education, fear the perception of failure. I can set up a video lesson and a Boom Cards session for a kid and allow him or her to get caught up without drawing unwanted attention. Paper task cards mean I have to sit just with that child at my table and everyone can hear the conversation. Not cool.

They give my students – and me – instant feedback.

Self-grading Boom Cards let the kids know right away if they’re right or wrong. I can access a report showing progress, accuracy, and fluency with each skill for each child. Mine is a data-driven district, so this is a must for me.

Boom Cards are inexpensive.

Again, I teach across grade levels, so I’ve got a lot of standards. I can typically buy a set of Boom Cards for half of what a similar set of paper cards would cost, and that’s before I print and laminate. The wide variety of sellers offering Boom Cards means I can find quality resources whether I’m working with an elementary or a middle school objective.

I can make my own.

My district uses Singapore Math as its base curricula for AIG students. Singapore works with numbers and asks questions in a unique way, and it’s not easy to find supplemental work for that. Boom Cards’ studio lets me create decks that better prepare the kids for Singapore assessments. The process for building a deck is reasonably intuitive and well-explained through video tutorials.

The kids think they’re fun.

Okay, this one I don’t get, since they really are task cards, which aren’t my students’ favorite activity. Somehow, though, the little ‘you got it right’ bell and watching their progress through the set turns it into something else.

They can be done from home.

Yes, ‘the gifted kid is an allergic wreck’ idea is a stereotype, but it may be a true one.* Fall and spring allergy seasons seem to hit my class harder than others’, and my parents are pleased that this is one way they can keep their children on track.

Adding Boom Cards to my classroom routine has allowed easier, more effective differentiation for my students. Better yet, they have made it simple to meet the quirky nature of my students without sending me to the poor(er) house. My classroom hums along nicely, which means I can too.


*Karpinski, Ruth I., et al. “High Intelligence: A Risk Factor for Psychological and Physiological Overexcitabilities.” Intelligence, 2017, doi:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289616303324.


 

Tips and Treats for Boomers

“I think autumn is such a wonderful time of year! It is so easy to find ways to make learning fun for our students. The changing leaves and shorter days provide the perfect opportunity for science discussions. Candy collected on Halloween can be used for graphing activities, and the vibrant hues of autumn are the perfect inspiration for artistic creations. Halloween-themed task cards on Boom Learning are also sure to motivate students to engage in learning and practice!”

-Shelly Rees

The ghouls have been working hard in the pits of code. They’ve put together tricks and treats for your Booming pleasure.

New in the Store

New For Fall

Our authors have been busy too.

Look for new items and last minute Halloween.

If you like to plan ahead, we have seasonal materials for

Holidays

Winter for the Northern Hemisphere

And don’t forget to look for value bundles.

 

More Deck Options in the Library

In the Library view for a deck, you have new options now. You can take a number of actions, including contacting an author with general feedback.

Screenshot 2017-10-29 07.19.33Don’t forget to take some time and “Rate” products you use. “Contact Author” is a private conversation between you and the deck author. “Rate” is a public review of the product. The “Feedback” option in deck play is also private. Use it to comment on a particular card.

“Delete” will remove a product entirely. Choose wisely as you will need to repurchase any product you delete.

 

Report Sorting and Data Resets

In the Reports view accessible from the Library you can now sort using the header fields. Below I’ve sorted by the number incorrect, but you can sort by any of the bolded title fields.

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“Reset All Data” does just that. It wipes out all student data recorded to date and resets the deck as if students had never taken it. Choose wisely, you can’t recover the data once deleted.

Studio Widgets

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The “Caption Pic” widget in the studio is the one to use when you want to have a specific word stay with a specific picture when randomizing.

The Fractions widget gives you a jump start on formatting fractions. Both are “container” widgets that combine elements of other widgets.

Be sure to watch our video on working with Complex and Multi Containers to make the most of widgets.

Boom.Cards

You can direct your students to Boom.Cards for simplified login. You can also post Fast Pin or Hyperplay links (available in the Library) in your LMS to take your students directly to their assignments. Although the video is titled Boom Cards + Google Classroom, you can use the tips in it about Fast Pins and Hyperplay links in any LMS.

Hipster Avatars

Your students probably already know about this, but in case you don’t: students can now choose from a selection of avatars that includes some … hipper versions.

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Happy Halloween!

The Boom Team

Using Boom Cards to prepare for the ACT, SAT, or PSAT

While younger students are getting into the swing of curriculum, older college-bound students are doing final preparations for SAT and ACT scores. Prep courses, practice tests, and flashcards are all useful tools in preparing to take a college entrance course. Boom Cards resources provide on-the-go practice (available on iOS, Android or Kindle) for students preparing for these tests.

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Here are some specific resource collections to help your students prepare.


Mathematics Prep


 


English Language Arts Skills


Boom Cards resources supplement traditional study aids where students need to refresh or build skills around topics like:

Students can practice reading comprehension skills with a book unit, such as Gay Miller’s book unit on Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet.”


Social Studies, History, Science, and Humanities


A variety of materials is available for the student who needs to extend understanding of areas of social studies, history, science, and the humanities to have the foundations to perform expected critical analysis.


Healthy Strategies


Beyond test prep courses, test prep booklets, Boom Cards supplements, flashcards and other tools, make sure students also develop habits to make studying effective: prioritizing quality sleep, regular exercise, and a distraction-free studying environment. Attention to these preconditions for success will make enable students to get better results from their preparations.

 

Secondary Science Tech Talk

Today we are talking with Amy Brown Science, The Lab (Liezel), and Kristin Lee Resources about combining technology with hands-on science instruction in secondary. Science teaching resources are among Boom Cards top sellers!

Professor With Students In Chemistry Lab

What is your favorite part about teaching science in secondary?

Kristin: The best part about teaching middle school is seeing how much growth there can be in such a short time. They come to you a little unsure about themselves and what this new experience will hold for them – and you get to watch them grow more confident and sassy every day! They grow into these funny, independent, whole people right in front of you. Teaching them science is amazing because you can see it absolutely ignite some of them, the way it did for me back then.

Liezel: One thing that I love about teaching high school is being able to go into more detail in the lessons. High school students are amazing to work with. My students are mature, motivated and hard working. They love to really explore the topic we are studying and always come and share examples and stories that they have found.

Amy: I have always been a high school teacher of mostly juniors and seniors. I love teaching this age group because they are at a point in their lives where anything is possible. They act all grown up and so sure of themselves, but they still love a compliment, a smile, and a hug just like they did in Kindergarten! Juniors and seniors suddenly realize they have decisions to make about universities and majors, and that they will soon be on their own. It is an honor to help guide them through these times of their lives.

Science is such a hands-on field. How do you incorporate virtual learning into your teaching without losing the hands-on aspect?

Amy: I am by far the oldest in this conversation. As a result, I have seen many strategies come and go over the years. An effective teacher does not use one strategy exclusively. Teaching requires an arsenal of techniques and tools, and multiple ways of implementing them. Virtual learning is just one more tool in my teaching arsenal. My students are in the lab at least once, but usually twice, a week. Nothing will ever replace the hands-on labs I do with my students. Virtual learning gives me another way to teach, review and reinforce the concepts I already teach.

Kristin: Like Amy said, it’s important not to rely on a single teaching tool too heavily. The more tools you can use to build knowledge on a topic, the more multi-faceted your teaching will be. Technology has opened up avenues of learning I hadn’t thought were possible! It will become increasingly important as our students come to us more tech-savvy and connected than ever – just not as a replacement for a hands-on lab experiment, dissection, or engineering challenge.

Liezel: I teach in a very small school (only 19 high school students) so it is not always possible to do practical work for all topics due to limited resources. Virtual labs, etc. are crucial to overcoming this problem.

What are some of the ways you have used Boom Cards decks with your students?

Liezel: I mainly use them for review work before exams. My students are currently busy with their Cambridge exams and Boom Cards decks are perfect for them to go through topics at home, identify problems and then come to me for help. They are now sending me requests for decks that they want!

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Amy: One thing I love about Boom Cards decks is that I can assign them for homework. Students hate homework, and many of them never complete it. Students like the idea of virtual homework because they are already on their mobile devices anyway, and it is a unique way of assigning homework.

Kristin: I’m not currently in the classroom, I’m home with my young son. But until I get back, I am really excited to start using Boom Cards decks with my tutoring students! They are great for test prep and review, to assess prior knowledge, and to gauge the effectiveness of my tutoring. I also include them in nearly all of my middle school science units to serve several different functions; some reinforce science vocabulary, some assess concept comprehension, and I’m even working on some that will deliver content in a student-led capacity. There are so many possibilities!

What is the most exciting thing that ever happened to you in a science classroom?

Amy Brown: My high school and another high school a few miles away are big rivals. We have a competition between the two schools called “Battle of the Brains.” Students are required to identify an ecological problem and develop a possible solution to the problem. My proudest moments as a teacher is seeing the amazing ideas that come from my students. They believe that anything is possible!

Liezel: I will never forget the day that my science teacher showed us the properties of alkali metals. He took a big piece of potassium and threw it into a pond. From an ecological point of view, probably not a good idea, but it made for an awesome chemistry lesson!

Kristin: My first year teaching was in 8th grade science. Eighth-grade students, in particular, presented lots of challenges on top of first-year teaching struggles. Their time and focus are being pulled in many different directions as they prepared for a big transition to high school. I wasn’t feeling like a particularly effective teacher by the end of the year, but I returned from the graduation ceremony to find a note on my desk. A student wanted me to know what a great year she’d had, and how she felt empowered to pursue a career in the STEM field. I always hope I’ll run into her one day so I can tell her that she empowered me and maybe the reason I didn’t quit teaching after that first year! I’d love an update on how she’s doing.

Get started with Boom Cards self-grading homework by trying a science FREEBIE today!

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Amy Brown resides in Tennessee. She is married to her husband of 35 years and has two incredible daughters. Amy loves nature, the environment, and tries to spend as much time as possible outdoors. She loves to travel with her family to national parks and other outdoor locations, trips which her family lovingly refer to as “Mom Adventures.” Amy has 31 years of teaching experience in the biology and chemistry classrooms. She joined Teachers Pay Teachers as a teacher-author in 2006, shortly after the site was launched. She recently started making interactive Boom Cards products. Amy’s hands-on approach to teaching science instills a love of science and nature in her students and encourages them to make science a part of their everyday lives. In Amy’s words, “I just love to get kids hooked on science!” For more teaching tips and ideas about how to make science come alive in your classroom, visit Amy on her blog, AmyBrownScience.com. You can also keep up with Amy’s activities on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram.

Kristin Lee combines creativity and scientific literacy to craft classroom materials to support students and teachers in their science classrooms. Prior to launching her online teacher-author business, she spent many years working in education outside of Chicago, IL. When not creating new ways to get kids hooked on science, Kristin enjoys playing with her young son, technology, and other wibbly wobbly timey-wimey stuff. You can find her on Boom LearningTeachersPayTeachers, Pinterest, Instagram, and her website KristinLeeResources.com.

Liezel Pienaar lives in Somerset West, South Africa. It is about 40 km from Cape Town. Shee has a degree in Biochemistry and have been teaching for 15 years. She met er husband while they were both working in the UK. They have a 5-year-old daughter, Maja, and a Jack Russell Terrier named Milo. She teaches Biology, Chemistry, Geography, and Maths at a Montessori school situated on a wine estate! It is one of the most beautiful places in the world, with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Her husband is the Facilities Manager and my daughter attends the pre-school. “It is amazing to all come to the same place every day.” Liezel authors science resources as The Lab on Boom Learning and Teachers Pay Teachers. You can follow her on Instagram (@thelab_by_liezelpienaar), Facebook and in her newsletter.

Mastery for Monsters

“In kindergarten, our kids need a variety of practice with learning math skills. It may take multiple months for kids to become secure in their understanding of counting and cardinality. By using seasonal resources we can keep the lessons exciting and engaging. Although the skills remain the same, by using seasonal themes the lessons feel different. ” Della Larsen.

When a child is at standard a teacher’s work is done. Correct?

Nope.

The work is done when a student is proficient, you know, able to respond correctly, quickly and without hesitation. At that point, the concept has been so deeply ingrained that only a wee bit of brainpower is needed to retrieve the knowledge. That means more oomph to learn new things!

Proficiency training is for everyone. Seniors maintain or build connections. Career changers revive atrophied proficiencies or develop them for the first time. Middle school and high school students remove barriers to tackling advanced materials. Upper elementary students solidify math facts and word attack skills. Primary students need to learn, learn, learn!

Proficiency for the Win

Proficient learners have several advantages over non-proficient learners.

  1. Higher endurance.
  2. Less easily distracted.
  3. More brainpower to apply to new tasks.
  4. Improved retention.

These advantages are particularly apparent when students tackle tasks for which the proficient skill or knowledge is a component.

What are some examples of proficiency?

  • The ability to read aloud without conscious attention to adding expression.
  • The ability to recall and apply a math fact when performing advanced operations without hesitation.
  • The ability to drive from home to school without having to think about each turn and stop.

Overtraining without Injury

How do you get to proficiency? Overtraining.

What is the downside of overtraining? Boredom.

Sustained, ongoing practice of materials can get dull. Learners need to practice a skill when it is taught, and at regular intervals. Research shows that materials must be studied for three to four years to get 50 years of retention. Otherwise, the skill is lost within three to four years. Yipes!

Variation for the Win

Offering the same lesson in novel variations, ranging from theme to answer types, builds proficiency without turning students away from learning. With Boom Cards decks, you can find resources ranging in skill level from simple single answer multiple choice, to drag and drop, to multiple response, to fill in, allowing you to gradually increase the challenge and vary the presentation.

At this time of year, there are an abundance of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and fall-themed Boom Cards resources available. “My students always get so excited when October comes in anticipation of Halloween!  I like to direct that enthusiasm by creating Halloween themed activities for them,” says Boom Cards author and teacher Linda Post.

Sheila Cantonwine finds that students can be excited and distracted during the holiday season. She uses themed resources to keep them on track academically while spiraling math topics and providing more practice where needed. With Boom Learning’s reporting tools, teachers can see if the students are gaining proficiency.

Read about resources for K-Middle School in our newsletter or shop our store for current seasonal items.

 

 

 

 

References

Kathleen M. Doughterty and James M. Johnston, Overlearning, Fluency, and Automaticity, The Behavior Analyst, 1996, 19, 289-292.

Daniel T. Willingham, Practice Makes Perefect-but Only If You Practice Beyond the Point of Perfection, Ask the Cognitive Scientist, American Federation of Teachers, Spring 2004.