What the heck are Boom Cards? If you’ve seen Boom resources floating around as a way to teach music virtually but have never tried them out, here’s a quick and dirty overview that will set you up to start playing in 5 minutes.
What are Boom Cards?
Physical task cards are like index cards with a question or directive. As students work their way through numbered cards, they write their answers on an answer sheet.
A deck of Boom Cards is a set of digital task cards. They are similar to PowerPoint slides, but after the student answers (by typing, tapping, or dragging and dropping), they hit the “submit” button. If the answer is right, they hear a bell sound, and the slide advances on its own. If they are wrong, they hear a “whoops” and have the opportunity to try again.
Here’s an example from my FREE Animal Rhythms deck:
Fast Pins – the easiest way to BOOM
Boom Learning’s Fast Pin feature is basically like having an interactive PowerPoint game but better. Why? Some great features are that the slides advance by themselves, students can’t edit the files, and it works on any web browser. There’s no need for special (and expensive) software that you will always have to upgrade. All you have to do to get kids playing is to send a hyperlink. Kids click on it and, ta-da, the game opens in their browser. Students could even play this on a cell phone if they wanted to, making it handy for secondary.
Here’s a 2-minute tutorial on Fast Pins:
Steps from the Video Above
- Make a free account at www.boomlearning.com.
- Go to TeachersPayTeachers or Boom and download a Boom Deck of cards.
- Here are links to a few free decks! Click an image and then, “Full-size preview” to play.
- Go to LIBRARY at the top and choose the deck you want to use.
- Click the blue ACTION button.
- Click FAST PIN and copy & paste the URL at the bottom of the pop-up window.
- If you want to print the cards for centers, you can do that here as well!
Points to Consider
- PowerPoint still has one benefit over Boom, you don’t need an internet connection to use a PowerPoint, but you do with Boom. If you are looking for a no-tech way to use them, there’s a Boom feature that allows you to print the cards. Just provide an answer sheet and you could easily use this with a sub.
- This was created with the general classroom teacher in mind. As you can see below, even their top tier membership level isn’t set up to handle the volume of students music teachers see every week. However, it’s free to use Fast Pins, the only thing you’re missing out on is Boom keeping track of student responses. I’ve used systems like Class Dojo in the past, and because my school was very transient, I abandoned it quickly as I had to update the roster constantly. For this reason, I would stick to the free Fast Pins feature regardless of Boom’s ability to grade.
- Each student needs a device. I never had a classroom set of Chromebooks or ipads so one workaround is to make Boom a centers activity, or play as a whole class. Kids could answer in teams to make it more interesting. It’s even more fun if your whiteboard is touch-sensitive.
Free Ultimate Accounts for Schools Affected by COVID-19
Boom wants to help during this crisis. You can get a free ULTIMATE account through June 2020 by going to https://wow.boomlearning.com/covid.
Want to Learn More?
Boom will start sending tutorials on how to use their more advanced options once you create an account, but they also have lots of tutorials on their YouTube channel. Here’s one that I find helpful: The Library
I hope this helped show you how to get started with Boom Cards. As you can see, Boom is an extremely versatile tool, great for individuals and groups, compatible with all kinds of learning platforms, and easy to access. I hope that becomes a tool that you can use to make distance learning less stressful. I also hope you, your families, and your students are safe and well.