Lessons from daughters of the heart

I had the gift of having German au pairs when our children where younger. Although they did not join our family until they were entering adulthood, they have become our daughters of the heart.

In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville, I asked them: how does the German education system teach about the Nazis? I’m sharing with you here some of our conversation in hopes it will help you in your classroom this fall.

Fun German vocabulary word of the day: “Vergangenheitsbewältigung,“, which means coming to terms with the past.

Continue reading “Lessons from daughters of the heart”

Discovering and Loving Boom Cards

by Belinda Givens reprinted from BVGSLP Blog

I stumbled upon Boom Learning a few weeks ago while searching Pinterest for digital resources.  A quick visit to their website and I was very intrigued.  Boom Learning is a site that allows teachers and educators to create interactive resources, very similar to task cards, for use in their classrooms.

The interactive digital cards are so cool!  They are very easy to make and once created, you have a fun engaging way to address targets while students feel like they are playing a game.  The Boom Cards provide immediate auditory and visual feedback to students and best of all, they are self-grading!!  Yes, that’s right, once students have completed a Boom Card activity their scores are presented as a percent accuracy to easily assess overall comprehension of the target skill.  This saves so much time because those scores can be recorded in your grade books for effortless progress monitoring.

Setting up an account with Boom Learning is very simple and FREE! If you are not the creative type and would rather search and find Boom Cards that have already been created, there is a long list of teacher created resources already on the site to purchase.

belinda 1I love to create so I decided to give it a try and started my first Boom Card activity. For me, it’s easiest to work in PowerPoint so I created my Answering Yes/No Questions activity in PowerPoint first and converted it over to my Boom Learning account (there is a great tutorial video on their website that will walk you through this process).

Once converted, I added my interactive elements to allow my students to easily click the Yes/No buttons in response to the questions on each card.  I opted to provide immediate feedback and viola, my first Boom Card lesson was complete.

For classroom teachers, this particular lesson is not only an awesome way to work on vocabulary with your youngest scholars, it also is a great differentiated activity for your ELL/EFL students and for your students who need a little extra support.  For all my SLPs, this lesson is perfect for pediatric clients however, it can also be incorporated into your sessions with adults to address Aphasia, following a CVA or TBI.

I have created several additional Boom Card decks and plan a complete series, so please stay tuned for more fun engaging ways to motivate your students and adult clients.  To learn more about Boom Learning or to register for your free account click here.

Belinda has been an 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).  Her Boom Cards can be purchased directly from her Boom Cards store. Her other products are available 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 16 years and resides with her family in Central Florida. 

Belinda Vickers Givens, MA, CCC-SLP

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Back to School Paperless

Back to School Boom Learning
For 2017-2018 set a goal of adopting self-grading, paperless resources where you can. More time to teach, less time with paperwork.

It’s August. Here in the Northern climes it is smoking hot, and if the actual fires weren’t enough, BACK TO SCHOOL IS HERE!

You can procrastinate, but it will come. Make your life easier this year and set a goal of cutting paperwork.

With Boom Learning you can find self-grading, paperless resources for your back-to-school reviews and assessments.

If you can’t find what you want you can DIY or ask the hive to make it. Today’s focus: secondary science and elementary reading. Stay tuned for mathematics and school rules.

Simplify Secondary Science

For secondary, create more time to focus on project based learning by using self-grading Boom Cards to handle the pre-tests and equipment checks. It is important to launch the year by making sure students are well grounded in the basics. Use these decks to find out who is ready to proceed, and who needs support. To encourage self-directed learning, offer homework passes or other incentives for students who achieve a number of Gems (mastered concepts) that you set.

FREE from The Lab this set of Boom Cards evaluates student mastery of basic lab equipment with 20 self-grading multi-choice questions.

For 300 points, you can add The Scientific Method by Amy Brown Science to your classroom library. With 40 cards, ranging from easy to advanced, this deck not only evaluates basic knowledge, it also determines if students understand how to use their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to apply that knowledge. Amy Brown also offers Parts of the Microscope and Their Functions to evaluate whether students are ready to for units involving microscopes.

Elementary Readers

The beginning of the year is a great time to use self-teaching materials to find out what students know and don’t know about reading.

For the youngest students, decks with sound let you know if they can match sounds to letters. Try Find the Letter – Scarecrow Fun from Della Larson’s Class for your PreK to 1st students (300 points).

FREE YOUR HEART offers games for practicing beginning sounds and beginning words. Multiple choice and drag and drop games let students learn without needing to know how to type. Try her Building CVC Words Bundle: Kindergarten Word Work with Magnetic Letters for 750 points or her Alphabet Beginning Sounds Game (Space Theme) Phonics Activities for 400 points.

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Is there ever enough vocabulary practice for students? Overlearning is critical to reading fluency.

Teachers Features offers an 8 deck Boom Cards Phonics Bundle for grades 1-2 to practice digraphs, vowel teams and silent E. At 1000 points, this set will serve class after class in mastering these foundational reading skills. For 2-3 graders, try her BOOM Cards: Reading Bundle (950 points). With 131 cards for grades 1-3, students develop understanding of text structure, author’s purpose, genre, and text features.

Vocabulary matters. Marcia Murphy has decks for younger students to practice their back to school vocabulary while learning syllables and noun and verb identification (200 points each) skills.

These decks are timeless and time-saving additions to your classroom resources.

New & Improved Library & Assignments

We have added folder management to the Library, with more Library updates in process. Check out our video on using folders, assigning decks to classes, and how to human grade (for when you assign a free response deck).

We also have rolled out per-student assignment. Go to Classes. Find the student. Under the student name, you’ll now see an Assign folder icon. Click it to assign lessons to just that student.

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Making the Most of Boom Learning

Home Connections

Home Connections

Home Connections gives students the information they need to log in at home. Use it to maintain learning over the summer, for at-home pretesting before the new school year, and for homework.

Click the + button for a Classroom and select Home Connections. This will generate a printable list of your student usernames. Print (it puts 3 on a page) and manually add the passwords (we can’t see those).  Students who log on from home will have access to whatever was assigned to the classroom.

Flow Magic

Flow Magic Cover

Flow Magic lets you create decks with conditional logic. Click on the image above for a Boom Cards tutorial on using Flow Magic.


In a hurry? Watch the video.

No Time to Create Your Own?

The Spring and Summer Collection
The Primary Collection (Pre-K to 2nd)
Emerging Students (3-5)
The Upper El Collection (4-6)
Middle School Mash-Up (6-8)
High School STEM and Social Studies (9-10)
World Languages

Surviving and Thriving at the End of the School Year

I was volunteering in an elementary class Friday and the end of year phenomena was in full swing. The weather was warm and so were their tempers.

If you covered all your mandatory topics for the year and the kids are on track, this is a good time to mix it up and encourage curiosity and self-directed learning. Consider adding logic, puzzles, critical thinking, or world language materials to your library for choice time.

Screen Shot 2017-05-20 at 10.39.37 AMSometimes it is enough to switch to spring and summer themed materials. The psychological effect of bright colors and cheerful images might be just the thing. If you are finishing up a measurement unit, try a summer themed deck on Customary Measurement Word Problems by Tarheelstate Teacher.


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For younger students, expand their vocabulary with “I Spy” Beach Vocabulary by Teachering.




For the youngest students, we have a variety of multiple choice materials in mathematics, ELA, and French.

Summer little kids layout

Need more? Find the collection for you.

The Spring and Summer Collection
The Primary Collection (Pre-K to 2nd)
Emerging Students (3-5)
The Upper El Collection (4-6)
Middle School Mash-Up (6-8)
High School STEM and Social Studies (9-10)
World Languages

Self-grading Teacher Made Science Resources

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to test students once in grades 3-6, again in grades 6-9, and one last time in grades 10-12 on science subjects.

To perform well in science, students should have a firm grounding in mathematics, especially conversions, ratios and statistical analysis. If you have students struggling because they are not yet fluent with fractions or decimals, have them review these skills using Boom Card task cards.Science Math Prep (1)

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS standards provide a useful benchmark for teachers preparing students for 21st-century jobs.

For elementary and middle schoolers, the standards set expectations for learning in the fields of engineering, physical science, life science, and earth and space science.

Science Shopping Tiles

Middle school teacher and science geek, Kristin Lee has Boom Cards practice for the Periodic Table, Properties of Matter, Mixtures and Solutions, and Chemical or Physcial Change. Garden Full of Knowledge and Making the Grayd both have decks for teaching elementary students the states of matter and changes between states.

Exploring Coral Reef Systems by Line upon Line Learning and Light by Teachering combine science with reading comprehension and inference skills. The combination of informative text with review questions of these resources make them ideal for self-directed learning.

For elementary students, Plant Needs and Plant Parts by Having a Fields Day and Plant and Animal Adaptations by Fishyrobb support biology instruction.

You also can find decks for teaching elementary students earth and space science covering weather, the water cycle, the planets, and the solar system.

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