I often think about how my students from years ago would have greatly benefitted if I had been using BOOM cards in those adult ESL classes from the beginning. Of course, the BOOM Learning platform didn’t exist back then, so I’ve got a valid excuse. Maybe your reason is that you don’t see how to use them in an adult ESL classroom? You’ve found the right spot on the internet because I can give you nine reasons to LOVE using BOOM cards in adult ESL!
You’ll LOVE using BOOM cards in adult ESL classes for these reasons.
They help your students preview the next lesson.
Let’s say the next lesson will be on how to describe something. You want to increase the odds of all your students knowing a particular set of vocabulary words before the lesson even begins. So, you assign them a deck on color vocabulary. Whether they play the deck in class before the lesson or at home the night before, they will all have had exposure to the words, and depending on the deck you choose, the pronunciation of the terms, and maybe even the spelling.
Meanwhile, you’ll have had the chance to glance and see how well they’ve done so that you can dive right into the lesson or perhaps play the deck together as a class to fill in any gaps in understanding. Plus, because you’re using BOOM cards in adult ESL instead of traditional homework, you’ll know which they need thanks to all the information you can glean from the reports BOOM offers to those on a paying membership tier.
Think about the enrichment possibilities when using BOOM cards in adult ESL classes!
Many adult ESL coursebooks have themed units. Some are enjoyable to teach and others a bit of a pain. Likewise, some will really appeal to some of our students and bore the others. When the unit on cooking is over and you’ve got half your students breathing a sigh of relief, and the other half clamoring for more, how do you address the need to move on alongside the need to go greater into depth? Hand out extra reading or worksheets on food or cooking to those who weren’t ready for the unit to be over and they’ll feel like they’ve been punished.
Assign them decks on fruit vocabulary or cooking verbs and they’ll enjoy learning more about what interests them. Plus, those students who weren’t interested will appreciate not having to continue studying something that doesn’t suit their needs or desires.
Review becomes FUN when using BOOM cards in adult ESL!
You’ve already taught gerunds and infinitives, and it’s time to move on to something else. Still, you can’t shake the feeling that one or two or more of your students would really benefit from some further practice. Even if half the class needs some extra time with this concept, you need to move on. Maybe you’re teaching in an IEP and time is always a shortage, or maybe you’re thinking of the other half of the class that is ready for something new.
This is the time for BOOM decks! Thanks to the instant self-checking features, your students can practice more on their own time. They won’t need to wait for you to correct their errors–they’ll know right away when they’ve made a mistake. They can mark cards for review or simply play the deck again.
You can get data galore for any pre/post assessment.
Your next lesson is on subject-verb agreement, and you know your students are already familiar with this concept, but you’re not sure how proficient they are in it. Use a boom deck as a pre-assessment to see exactly what you need to cover and what you can leave out.
Finished that unit on heteronyms and want to know how well your students understand heteronyms? You could give them a quiz or a test, or you could let them have fun playing a BOOM deck. I’m sure they’d vote for digital, interactive fun, and you would most likely find something else to do with the time you would’ve had to spend grading.
Remember, you can use the reports feature (depending on your membership tier) on BOOM to see what percentage of the cards each of your students got correct and even how long it took them to answer each one. Imagine all the data you’d have if you’d started using BOOM cards in adult ESL classes last year. Don’t wait any longer!
Your adult ESL students will WANT to do this as homework.
When you teach adult ESL, you’re teaching people who have busy lives. They’re coming to your classes AND possibly caring for their families and working full time. They probably don’t cart their books and notebooks everywhere with them, but they do bring their phones and tablets. The convenience of playing a deck on their phone while standing in line at the supermarket, on a break at work, waiting to pick up a child, sitting in the doctor’s office, etc. can be the difference between having time to do homework and not.
The instant feedback of getting their answers checked as they complete each card makes BOOM cards an incredible homework tool. When the decks have audio, they can practice repeating the word(s) to improve their pronunciation. Colorful visuals can aid in understanding and increase appeal. You won’t get that from a worksheet.
How about some time fillers that don’t waste time?
Tell me that you teach classes where all the students always finish everything simultaneously and you’ll end up with me sitting in your classroom taking notes on how exactly you manage that. It just doesn’t happen, does it? What about finishing everything for a lesson exactly at the end of the class period? Possible, but stressfully difficult usually. Of course, you can still break out sets of task cards to give early finishers, but then you have to deal with answer keys, answer sheets, missing cards, etc.
Because BOOM decks are entirely digital, all you have to do is assign a deck or two or three and your student(s) will have everything they need right there on their phone. You can easily give everyone the same deck to keep everyone on the same page or each student a different deck to meet their individual needs.
They can be used as pair work.
Depending on what the pandemic looks like in your community, using BOOM cards in adult ESL classes as pair work is another option to consider. Try pairing up
- students who don’t share a language other than English to get them to discuss the answers
- students who share another language but whose proficiency levels in English are not matched. The lower-level student will be able to ask questions for clarification and the higher-level student will increase their own understanding by explaining/teaching what they know. (Be sure that that the gap in English proficiency is not large.)
- students who are competitive and have them keep track of who answered correctly the most
- students who are not competitive and like to help each other
This is also a great option if someone forgot their phone, the battery is dead, or someone just doesn’t have a phone. Most students love the social aspect of it, but for those who don’t, there is always individual work.
Their self-checking feature makes them fantastic individual work!
Maybe they prefer to work alone or their culture frowns on them working with an unrelated person of the opposite sex.
Perhaps they’re in over their heads at this level or it’s all too easy for them but a schedule conflict prevents them from attending a different class. They want/need to go slower or faster or dive deeper into a concept or theme. They prefer to preview; they’d rather review.
With so many personalities, learning needs, proficiency levels, and depths of motivation, finding a way to meet everyone where they are and help them on their path to where they want to go can be overwhelmingly challenging.
BOOM cards make it possible. You can have 30 different students doing 30 different things synchronously and NOT rip your hair out. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but possible? Yes. And that whole thing about having different proficiency levels in the same class is exactly why I make multiple levels of so many of my BOOM cards. Using BOOM cards in adult ESL classes can make your life easier!
Try using BOOM cards in adult ESL classes while observing your students one-on-one!
You know all about BOOM’s reports feature. You just don’t care to use it. Or you are on the free membership tier and have more than the allotted number of students. Perhaps you tutor students in small groups or one-on-one. Try having your students play BOOM cards while sitting right next to you. Pepper them with questions about how they knew the answer. Get them to explain why one answer is correct and another is incorrect on a multiple-choice question. Have them justify how they sequence something in a drag & drop question.
Yes, you might be bypassing one of BOOM’s most awesome (IMO) features, self-checking, but you’re still giving your student(s) a chance to use technology and to use their phone for something other than TikTok or whatever is popular when you read this. Plus, you could still assign BOOM card decks to be played as homework.
What role do BOOM cards play in adult ESL?
That depends on your students’ needs, and isn’t that just how it should be? They can play numerous roles at the same time anywhere that has an internet/wifi connection. How do you use boom cards with your adult ESL students? Drop a few lines (or questions) about using BOOM cards in adult ESL.