Did the summer go by in the blink of an eye or was that only for me? A new school year is here and while some of us lucky ones are back on campus, others are either in hybrid/blended learning mode or continue to be fully virtual this year too. If distance learning has taught us anything, it is that as counselors, we have had to step up our game and we have each done it in a number of interesting and innovative ways.

Personally, Boom Learning was a life-saving discovery for me during my virtual counseling sessions. If you haven't heard of them, Boom Cards are paperless, no prep, interactive, self-grading task cards/activities hosted on the Boom Learning platform and are ideal for digital learning! If you're unsure of how to use them, read this blog post.

Last year, Boom Cards helped perfectly replace those engaging in-person activities such as discussion dice and board games. If you still haven't tried them and are scrambling for activities to use in your sessions this year, Boom Cards should be among your go-to resources, whether virtually or in-person (that's right, you could use them offline too!) and here are 10 reasons why:

1. They are highly engaging

Boom Cards have a great visual appeal and kids get really engrossed in the activity, often not fully realizing that active learning of specific skills is in progress. Some decks of Boom Cards also have videos embedded in them, making the activity more engaging.

Questions on Boom Cards can be set up differently. From multiple choice and drag-and-drop, to fill-in-the-blanks, click-and-go, and image based multiple choice questions, the possibilities are endless. Your kids are sure to get hooked to these activities and are likely to want to use them in your face-to-face sessions too, whether on an iPad or on the white board during a class lesson.

2. They can be used across grade levels

Depending on the topic and the type of questions, Boom Cards can be used with students of all ages. Also, unlike worksheets, the text is kept to a minimum and therefore, age and reading levels don't matter as much when using Boom Cards. Being mindful of the different learning styles of your students, these activities should be among your must-haves! And all of my Boom Cards have included audio for early readers.

3. They are versatile

Boom Cards can be used in all with students in all three tiers. Here’s how:

Tier 1:

If you are live streaming class lessons on Zoom or are sending weekly activities out as part of your Tier 1 SEL lessons, you could send out a link to the deck of Boom Cards you want them to access. Boom Cards can also be sent out via Google Classroom. If you have a projector in your physical classroom/office, you can have students pick and choose live as you teach them in person.

Tier 2:

In a virtual group session via Zoom, after you run through your typical group procedures, group rules and feelings check, you can share your screen with your kiddos to play Boom Cards together. All you need to do is flip through the slides and have your students tell you which answer to select. The kids love it, trust me! If you are back in your office, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to use them in a similar manner, perhaps using a projector again.

Tier 3:

For individual students that you are meeting online, you can do the same thing or you can send them the activity in advance and have them share their screen with you so you can watch them play the Boom Cards and provide feedback. If it's a face-to-face meeting you're having, you could send out the Boom Cards link as a follow up to your session to check for understanding or as a practice activity before your next session.

4. They help you cover a plethora of SEL and counseling topics

From mindfulness, stress and anxiety, expected vs. unexpected behaviors, social skills, growth mindset, empathy, and anger management to size of the problem, coping strategies, social filters, feelings recognition, and self-regulation, there isn't a SEL/counseling topic that cannot be covered using Boom Cards!

5. They are reusable

One of the things I love about using Boom Cards with my students is that these activities can be played over and over again, especially when you are revisiting a particular topic or skill or when you want to check for progress pre and post group or individual sessions.

6. They help collect all of the data you need

Data is the buzzword when it comes to using Boom Cards. Apart from receiving immediate feedback on how a student is doing, you have the option to view their work while they are still doing the activity. The reports tab gives you details that include when the test/activity was done, if the activity has been completed or not, time taken to complete the deck, time spent on each question, final scores, errors made, and even the number of times a student has attempted the task. Now that's a whole lot of data right there!

data collection

7. They help plan your next steps

Once you have all this data on hand, planning your next lesson or intervention is easier. For example, based on errors made, you now know which specific concept or skill requires more teaching, scaffolding, or practice. If you're creating your own deck of Boom Cards and you notice that most students in your group spent more time responding to one particular question, perhaps the way you framed the questions was the issue, so you could always go back and correct it.

8. You can create your own or buy ready-to-use decks

If you're up for a professional challenge, you could always create your own decks of Boom Cards to use. Creating your own resources definitely involves a learning curve but it sure is fun to customize exactly what you need. However, if you are short on time or ideas, then there's always the option of buying these resources. Check out my Boom Cards here.

9. They are time-saving and eco-friendly

Boom Cards are your perfect grab and go activity. If you prefer to purchase them, these activities are ready to use or send to students. Boom Cards require no prep. Also, since it is all digital, you don't have to waste precious time checking for the right answers or tracking data individually. It's all done for you. Of course, the added advantage of going paperless is a huge reason to use Boom Cards.

10. They are affordable and easily accessible

Getting an account on Boom Learning is FREE and your students have access to these interactive games right away. There are also membership plans with add-on benefits that range from $15/year to $35/year which you can choose from based on your/your school's needs.

All set to try Boom Cards yet? They are sure to be a game-changer for you and your students! If you're ready to jump on the bandwagon, check out my 12 pack Super Bundle of school counseling Boom Cards here that will give you a head start.

Good luck! Comment and let me know how it goes. You've got this!


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