I have been trying to find new ways to incorporate technology into my lessons and “spice up” our fall alphabet letter practice. I recently discovered Boom Cards™ and fell in love! Seriously, when I visited the Boom Learning℠ platform and found out that I could have NO PREP, INTERACTIVE, & FUN learning activities that are SELF-CHECKING plus have an ASSESSMENT RECORD of students’ work I was instantly attracted and ready to commit! I knew this was the perfect answer!
Setting up my account and class were super simple with the helpful video tutorials on the Boom Learning help site. What I really liked about the classroom set-up was that I could create one easy to remember password for the class as well as an easy password for all students.
Since I teach young students I need easy log-in! I simply click the Student-Login link in my Classes section and we are ready to go (these student names are fictitious for this blog post to protect my students’ identity).
Students simply click their name and enter their password (since I made an easy 3 letter universal password for all students I post it for them which makes log-in very simple!).
Since some of my students still need practice with letter recognition and others have moved on to letter sounds I needed to differentiate their practice and assessment.
I created different seasonal Boom Card decks (a group of interactive task cards is called a deck) for letter recognition and letter sounds (beginning sounds).
Each set has a deck for letters A-M and a deck for letters N-Z so students are not overwhelmed when practicing. They can focus on 13 letters at a time.
I easily assigned the appropriate decks to specific students in the Classes section of the Boom Learning site. I clicked the plus sign by the student’s name, clicked Assign, and then checked off the decks I wanted them to use. Simple differentiation 🙂
Interactive, Self-Checking Practice for Students on any Device
Our big field trip in October is visiting the pumpkin patch so I made the pumpkin patch the setting for the letter and letter sound practice decks to increase student interest and motivation.
Since the Boom Cards have audio instructions and are self-checking they are perfect for independent practice and centers! They work on any device with a modern browser so we were able to use them on our laptops and with the app on our iPads (they can also be used on interactive whiteboards, desktops, or smartphones).
Letter Match in the Pumpkin Patch
The letter recognition Boom Card decks have audio and written directions on each card.
Students listen to or read the directions, visit the pumpkin patch, pick the correct pumpkins and place them in the cart by dragging and dropping.
The Boom Cards are self-checking so students receive immediate feedback which is very motivating!
If they pick 2 correct pumpkins, they hear a correct sound and they are automatically taken to the next card in the deck (cards are in random order).
If they pick an incorrect pumpkin, the incorrect pumpkin will automatically move back to the pumpkin patch after students hit the Submit button. They can then choose another answer and keep trying until they pick 2 correct pumpkins.
Try it for yourself! CLICK HERE to view a playable sample of Letter Match in the Pumpkin Patch Boom Cards (click the Full Size Preview button).
Letter Sound Match in the Pumpkin Patch
The letter sounds (beginning sounds) Boom Cards also have audio directions plus they also have audio that names the featured picture so there is no confusion or questions.
Students listen to or read the directions, visit the pumpkin patch, name the picture on the sign (or use the audio), and pick (click on) the pumpkin with the picture’s beginning sound.
The letter sounds Boom Cards are also self-checking so students receive immediate feedback.
If they pick the correct pumpkin, it is circled green and students are taken to the next card in the deck (cards are in random order).
If students pick an incorrect pumpkin, they hear an “oops!” sound and it is crossed out in red.
Try it for yourself! CLICK HERE to view a playable sample of Letter Sounds Match in the Pumpkin Patch Boom Cards (click the Full Size Preview button).
Easy Assessment with Student Reports
One of the best features for me as a teacher are the student reports. I love that I can view detailed class reports as well as reports for each individual student.
I can view the class report to quickly see:
- who has completed their decks (green circles are completed decks, red circles are incomplete decks)
- how many times they played the decks (the numbers inside the circles)
- the overall percentage score for each deck
- the time it took to complete the deck
I can then click on any of the circles or percentages to view detailed student reports that tell me with what letters students are struggling and with what letters they have mastered.
The green bars along the top show correct answers. The red bars indicate incorrect responses.
If I click on any of the bars I can see the card along with the student’s answers. I can see what letters they may be confusing or with what letters they may be struggling.
The blue bars along the bottom show student response times for each card. The red line through the center is the average time it took the student to get a correct response, therefore anything way above that line is a letter with which the student is struggling. I can click on any of the bars to see the letter card. In the example picture, the student seems to be struggling with recognizing uppercase and lowercase B.
Any blue bar way below the red average line indicates a letter with which the student is not struggling and most likely has mastery. In the example below the student knows uppercase and lowercase F rather well.
Fast Play / Home Practice Option
If you don’t want to mess with student log-ins and/or just want to set up play quickly, you can use the Fast Play option.
When you use this option you do not get any student reports, therefore I use this when we are using the cards for a fall party station or when students or parents request to play the cards at home. When it’s a party station I just want the students to enjoy play plus they can be easily distracted and/or excited so I don’t feel it’s a proper assessment of their ability. The same holds true at home, I can’t tell what distractions they may be experiencing or if they are getting any type of assistance so I don’t use the log-in or reporting.
It’s very easy to get a Fast Play link that can be entered into any browser and students are able to play the deck immediately. This URL can be sent home as well.
To get the Fast Play link, go to the Library section, click the blue action button pull down menu under the deck and choose Fast Pin.
Click the Generate New Pin button.
Copy and paste or enter the generated URL into any browser and instantly play the Boom Card deck.
If you would like to use the above letter recognition and letter sounds (beginning sounds) Boom Cards with your students click the links below.
New to Boom Cards? Purchase the Boom Card decks through Teachers Pay Teachers and receive a free account (yes, I said FREE) that lets you track student progress for up to 80 students. At the end of that year, you may renew or choose not to renew. If you do not renew, you will be still be able to continue using the Boom Cards with the Fast Play feature. Win-win!
To purchase the Boom Cards through Teachers Pay Teachers click the links below:
Alphabet Letter & Letter Sounds Match in the Pumpkin Patch Money-Saving Boom Cards Bundle (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Already have a Boom Learning account? Click here to purchase the Boom Card decks through Boom Learning.
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