In March of 2020, I (and most teachers) went from teaching from their classroom to teaching virtually from their home . This pretty much happened overnight because of COVID-19. When this first happened my team and I quickly put together a plan with what knowledge we had about distance learning platforms. As the days of distance learning turned into weeks and eventually the rest of the school year, I explored various online learning tools to add to my virtual teaching toolbox. One of the online tools I discovered was using Boom Cards™.
What are Boom Cards?
Boom Cards are interactive, self-checking digital resources that your students can use on any internet connected device. Boom Cards are fun and engaging for the students, but sometimes as teachers, it’s hard to know where to begin when you learn of a new teaching tool. Looking ahead to the next school year, many of us may still be using online learning in some format. As teachers, it can be hard to know where to begin when we hear of a new tool for our teacher toolbox. I am here to show you the basics of using Boom Cards in x simple steps. As a bonus, I will also show you how to use them with Google Classroom™ and Seesaw™ learning.
1. Learn the Boom Vocabulary
The first thing you will need to do is sign up for an account with Boom Learning. There are different levels you can choose from, including a free version. Below is a chart that gives an overview of each level.
Let me explain them a bit further. Before you chose which membership you would like, you need to know some basic Boom vocabulary :
FastPlay– Fastplay allows the user to enter a Fast Pin to unlock play. Fastplay is useful if you are using a free account or using Boom Cards with Google Classroom or Seesaw, or in a group activity (like a smart board). Where using Fastplay does NOT collect individual student data, so it is not appropriate if you want to track student performance.
Section – The number of classes that you can create. If you are in a self-contained classroom you might only want one section. Sections can also be a great way to differentiate. Group your students by academic need, and you can push different assignments to different leveled groups.
Decks – Each Boom Card set is called a deck. Each deck contains a group of task cards that usually focus on a particular skill. Self-made decks are decks that you create yourself, that live in your library. Creating your own deck is easy and a whole lot of fun once you get the hang of it (but not required). If you want to make decks and sell them to other teachers, then you would pick the Ultimate membership.
Points – When you wish to purchase a deck of cards you look to see how many points it costs, and how many points are in your bank. Depending on the membership you choose, you will start out with some points and can spend those as you see fit. Once those points are used up, you can purchase more points within the store.
2. Choose a Membership
So which membership should you choose? You will need to decide if what you want to get out of Boom Learning.
Starter– If you just want to share the activity link with your class and not monitor the progress of your class, then the free membership works great!
Basic– If you want the ability to assign to up to 3 sections, choose the basic membership.
Power– The power membership allows for more sections to be created and live monitoring of your students. This means you can track the progress of your students.
Ultimate– The ultimate membership allows for all of the previous plus more sections and the ability to sell your decks.
If you are ready to sign up, I have an affiliate link here. Sometimes Boom Learning offers a free trial for an upgraded account, so be sure to check that out! Now that you have an overview, you may be ready to sign up!
2. Setting Up a Classroom
Now you’ve got your account and have chosen your membership, so now it’s time to start adding in some students under the classes tab.
When you click the new student tab, a pop-up asks you to enter the name and password. You get to choose their password, which is nice. If you want to add multiple students at one time, you have that ability as well.
3. Getting Boom Decks for you Class
You have your class set up, now you are ready to get Boom Cards for your students. There are a so many cards to choose from. You can find them from Boom Learning and TPT. If you purchase Boom Cards from the Boom Learning site, you purchase them with points. Points can be purchased in different increments.
Do you want to try a set for free? Click on the picture below to access a free Boom Card deck.
Once you make a purchase or download a free product, you will find it in your library. If you purchase a deck from TPT, you will receive a link that will add the deck to your Boom library. When you are looking to buy a deck, you can often preview some of the pages before you purchase.
4. Assigning Boom Cards
When you go to your Boom library, there are many options for you when you click on the assign tab of each deck.
Here is a a brief overview of your options:
Assign – You can assign it to any class you have set-up. To assign it to an individual student, you need to go to the class tab and click on that student individually.
Fast Pin – This allows your students’ quick access to the cards where they don’t have to log-in. Doing this can make things faster, but you won’t get the reports on how the student did with the cards.
HyperLink – If you want to attach this deck of cards to another document, you can get the hyperlink here.
Print – prints out PDF versions of the cards.
Custom play settings – you can choose different options for your students, like showing the answer when they get it wrong or allowing for multiple plays of the same deck.
View reports – you can check out your students’ statistics on this particular deck.
5. Using Boom Cards with Google Classroom and Seesaw
You may be in a district that requires you to use a specific platform for distance learning. Guess what? You can still use Boom cards! As long as you have a way to attach a link to the platform you are using, you can add a Boom card deck.
If you want to track your student progress and each student has their own account, you would assign the Boom card deck to them. Your students will need to log in to their Boom learning account. Once assigned, you can add the link to your Google classroom or Seesaw.
If you just want your students complete the Boom deck activity and not track their progress, add the fast pin link to your Google Classroom or Seesaw. When you use the fast pin your students do not need to log into Boom learning.
So, if you do not already use Boom cards are you ready to try them out? Don’t forget you can sign up for a free account here.