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!

teenager with smartphone

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.

For the Love of Français: Languages of the Americas

English, French and Spanish are frequently taught languages of North America. In Canada, English and French have equal status as official languages. Today’s blog is focused on resources for French language instruction.

We’ll cover Spanish resources at a future date. But if you just can’t wait, you’ll find them in the store.

Teach French

“Prior to Boom Learning, students were merely just going through the motions of learning another language.”

-Najda Zada of Garden Full of Knowledge

Engaging Digital Natives

Like all instructors, Najda has her share of reluctant learners. Digital natives engage with the world visually. Najda says her students “love using Boom Cards because it gives them an opportunity to be able to use their handheld devices to practice their French language.”

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In her classroom, she selects a French language Boom Cards deck and then has the whole class work through it, enunciating each French word and deciphering the response.  At other times, she divides the class into two teams. Each team is given a question that they must answer within an allotted time. She finds these methods motivate her digital natives to speak French. “With Boom Learning, learning another language has been fun, engaging, and motivating to all types of second language learners.”

Surviving Teaching French

Boom Cards are not just for learners, they are also for novice teachers. At ISTE 2017 we spoke with a number of attendees from Canada. They were excited about using Boom Cards to assist teachers who were new to teaching French. With many authors adding sound features, teachers now how a variety of pronunciation resources.

Teaching French involves skills ranging from phonological awareness, les rimes, to sight words, to vocabulary building, to grammar. Materials available from our authors include sound, writing, and cross-curricular content. Here is just a sample!

les phonemes prof numericLes élèves raffoleront de ces cartes à tâches digitales autocorrectives qui sont totalement compatibles avec tous les types d’appareils mobiles ou écrans interactifs. L’apprentissage des phonèmes, via les sons AUDIO inclus dans cet ensemble de jeux interactifs, augmentera l’engagement des apprenants assurément.

by Prof Numeric – available individually at Boom Learning or as a bundle at Teachers Pay Teachers

Les Rime Michelle DupuisRhyme is a key component of phonological awareness. This fun resource will help students practice rhymes and review vocabulary words. Cette ressource contient 15 cartes qui permettront aux élèves de développer leur conscience phonologique.

by Michelle Dupuis Education French–Français

 

sight words for french immerssion

There’s no such thing as too much sight word practice. With these decks, kids will be able to listen to correct pronunciation and work on recognizing the written words. Kids won’t even notice how much work they’re doing while listening to a native speaker other than you. Try the free sample.

by For French Immersion – available individually on Boom Learning or as a bundle at Teachers Pay Teachers

verb tense mme r

These 25 cards will help students identify common reflexive verbs and practice present tense conjugations. There are ten multiple choice cards for verb identification, ten fill in the blank cards for conjugation and five fill in the blank cards for negative constructions.

by Mme R’s French Resources 

 

La rentree Madame Angel

Second language learners need lots of opportunities to practice new vocabulary in fun and engaging ways. This bundle of Boom Cards decks allows students the opportunity to read, listen to, identify and write school themed vocabulary.

by La classe de Madame Angel

 

Les r saisons Peg Swift

 

Investing in cross-curricular resources is always a good idea when you are building a well-rounded program. Here’s one that combines science and language.

by Peg Swift French Immersion

 

Quel temps Toujours Francais

Build vocabulary knowledge for students. This deck incorporates both listening and writing. It can be used both for assessment for learning (as a pre-assessment) or assessment as learning (used to determine if students are understanding the material).

by Toujour Francais

 

 

Find the Boom Cards collection for you

More French teaching resources available at Teachers Pay Teachers

Engage Students with Visual Resources for World Language Mastery

“Prior to Boom Learning, students were merely just going through the motions of learning another language.”

-Najda Zada of Garden Full of Knowledge

Like all instructors, Najda has her share of reluctant learners. I recall struggling to learn world languages, but then I’m a primarily visual learner. My husband, whose strength is auditory learning, can pick up languages in a flash.

Digital natives engage with the world visually. Najda says her students “love using Boom Cards because it gives them an opportunity to be able to use their handheld devices to practice their French language.”

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In her classroom, she selects a set of French language Boom Cards and then has the whole class enunciate each French word orally.  As a group, they work together to decipher the response. Other times, she divides the class into two teams. Each team is given a question that they must answer within an allotted time.

She finds these methods motivate her digital natives to speak French. “With Boom Learning, learning another language has been fun, engaging, and motivating to all types of second language learners. Boom Cards have just given us a new twist to learning French!” With Boom Cards, the learning experience is enhanced with visual and kinetic modalities.

You can also find materials for French as a second language from Mme R’s French Resources. For a different shade of romance, try Italian resources from Hand in Hand Learning.

Engaging Younger Students

It can be challenging to find world language materials targeted for the elementary grades. Most materials are for middle school to adults. With Boom Learning, you can find ready-to-use decks made by teachers.

If you need something special, it only takes an hour or two to make a DIY deck you can use for years (no reprinting, no hand grading). If your deck turns out to be just what students need, you can add a little polish and put it in the store, for free or for a fee. Everyone gains: students and teachers. Worksheets and task cards both can be translated into Boom Cards, along with books. As Lucy from For French Immersion says “The fact that Boom decks work on computers, tablets, and interactive whiteboards is benefit you don’t get from regular apps.”

Lucy’s best selling French Verbs Growing Bundle is a great value, as you get all new decks she adds. For French Immersion designs materials for younger students in immersion classrooms (they also work for second language instruction). If you want to enjoy the season with French, we recommend this deck. You can also find French immersion resources from La classe de Madame Angel.

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We are also lucky to have linguaphile and designer Miss Mindy creating for Boomers in some of her many languages. She has spent the last 7 years teaching Spanish at a small independent K-6 school in Vermont and is now homeschooling her daughters. Mindy started studying Spanish when she was 13 and was enthralled. She minored in German and also studied French and Latin. Expect a variety of language resources Miss Mindy’s store. Here is a sample of her seasonal resources:

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After three German au pairs and high school Spanish we joke that we speak Danglish in our house. In Mindy’s house they must speech Flandanglish. What do you speak in your house?

Do you need more elementary resources? Rebecca Reid of Line upon Line Learning has elementary Spanish resources.