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Lowering the BOOM on Middle School!

In the midst of exploring distance learning tools to engage students, I stumbled across Boom Learning. My first impression was that it was WAY to babyish for Secondary students (Middle through High School) as many of the early adopters of the platform focused on Elementary topics. However, after a little exploring, I discovered MANY developers and users on the site that are creating content PERFECT for Secondary Educators.

The BOOM platform features interactive flash cards that allow for self-correcting, interactive features such as fill in the blank, drag and drop, click to respond and multiple choice. I have found them to be the perfect compliment to Hyperdocs and great for use in supporting your curriculum, expanding understanding, use as a supplement/homework assignment and PERFECT for distance learning.

Check out BOOM Learning

Try out a set of BOOM Learning Cards in Fast Play mode.✨

What really had me hooked was the ease of getting my class set up in BOOM.  Boom Learning talked nicely to my Google Classroom so I was able to import all of my students.  They logged in and accessed their first assignment with just a click on the class URL.  The student reporting on Boom is great!  I can see who attempted the cards, how many attempts made, time spent and progress towards mastery.

I encourage you to give BOOM a try. There are SO many card decks to choose from, but the best is CREATING YOUR OWN! (Warning, it CAN become a little addicting!)

This week we are studying Magnetism, here's the card set we are using:

Magnetism BOOM Cards

My favorite set it this one on Newton's Laws of Motion:

My newest set features Electromagnetic Waves

Whatever you discover, I hope you like BOOM as much as I do!  I can honestly say that the feedback from my students was terrific.  They thought they were fun and a great way to learn!  (Those were THEIR words, not mine!)

As always, thanks for

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Distance Learning: Video Conferencing Suggestions

As distance teaching has become the norm, I've noticed that students are clamoring for interaction, engagement and connection with each other AND with me.  A good portion of my distance teaching strategy hasn't been the 'assign them work and then check if they did it' strategy.  Just like inside the classroom, relationships come first.  To help maintain and foster classroom community with my students, I've adopted a strategy of morning meetings twice a week that are about sharing, connecting and spending a little 'fun' time together.  If you're looking for some ideas, here are 7 8 games that I've played with my students that genuinely helped foster that connection we ALL need right now.

Video Meeting Games

Below is a description of each game, and a link to download your FREE copy!!

The "What's Missing" Game

The whats missing game is a google slide with an underwater image on it.  Each item in the image is editable.   You reveal the scene and students can study it.  You then hide the scene and delete an item.  Students have to figure out what's missing!

Video Conference Game

The "Close Up Image" Game

The Close Up game is just that, students are provided a close up image of an item and they see if they can guess what the item is!  There are DOZENS of images in this slide deck for you to share!!
Video Conference Game


This game is SO much fun!  A digital randomize generates a letter and a category and students try to come up with the most unique items suitable to a specific category and letter.
Scattergories Ideas


This game is a game of luck and a 'little' bit of skill.  Students avoid getting "Snaked" during a 5 round challenge of dice rolls.

Distance Learning Game for Video Conferences

Parachute Game

This game is a slightly more positive spin on the age old "hangman" game.  Students work as a group to see if they can identify the missing word BEFORE all of the parachute cords run out!

Game for Zoom Meetings

Scavenger Hunt Game

In this game, students retrieve designated items. The first 3 students to show the requested item wins!

Video Conference Scavenger Hunt

The Cartoon Silhouette Game

Forty Four cartoon silhouettes are in this slide deck of characters.  Students have to see who can be the first to identify the mystery silhouette!

Cartoon Silhouette

Emoji BINGO!

Emoji BINGO was so much fun!!  Spin the digital spinner and have students use a digital bingo card to keep track of their BINGO!


As always, thanks for Using Your Smarticles!



Using an Interactive Notebook 5E NGSS Science Classroom

Adopting the Next Generation Science Standards can be a challenge!  When we adopted, I KNEW I wanted to use an interactive notebook to guide my learners.  I opted for a paper notebook as I felt it would facilitate more movement (and less worry) allowing my learners to work outside, on the floor, and in some cases near messy things!  To plan our notebook use, we referred to the work of Kellie Marcarelli in "Teaching Science with Interactive Notebooks". 

As our year progressed, we used a LOT of the concepts and ideas from the book, but then modified them to suit our purposes.  As the 5E model was our framework for instruction, we wanted the notebook to follow the format of our investigations, Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate. 

Each unit of study began with a colorful cover page with a thematic phrase followed by an AHA Connections Page.  As phenomenon were introduced, students would attempt to describe/summarize the phenomenon they saw and then engage in a QFT (Question Formulation Technique) or activating knowledge activity.
When the students reached the Explore phase, the notebooks reflected which Science and Engineering practice the students were engaged in.  Sometimes they created models, conducted investigations, designed solutions or collected and analyzed data.
As we came to conclusions and discovered new information, we would refer back to our AHA Connections pages and record those discoveries. Sometimes we would write Claim Evidence Reasoning reports or build investigative reports.  As units were complete, student were asked to compete exit ticket strategies or self-reflect on their experiences/discoveries.

Below are some of the highlights of how we organized our notebooks:

NGSS 5E Interactive Notebook
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NGSS Assessment

As always, thanks for,