Here are some fun activities for your students this winter!
Cricut for Teachers
I’m not super crafty, and I don’t have a lot of time. So, obviously, I need a Cricut. Hubby bought me one for Christmas and I’m pretty excited to see what I can do with it!
So far, I’ve managed to unbox it and set it up on a table in a spare bedroom.
Will the spare room become my crafting room? Will Cricut take over my life? Will every item in my house be personalized by this time next year? How many custom cards and customized tee shirts will I accumulate? How long before my school bags are personalized? Will I write my students’ names on their desks, or custom cut labels for everything in my classroom? Only time will tell, but I think it’s a good bet that the dog will have a custom collar before winter break is over!
Follow along on this adventure by following me on TikTok!
Time Management for New Teachers
The teacher across the hall from me is in her classroom before me every day, head bend over her laptop. “Good morning!” I call into her door every day.
When I leave at the end of the day, she’s still there, head bent over her laptop. “Have a good night!” I usually yell into her room. But yesterday, instead, I stopped in the door and asked her if everything was ok.
She looked up. Her face was tired. She was slumped. Her desk was covered with papers, a half cup of coffee, three text books, a pile of photocopied worksheets, a pile of ungraded work, her cell phone, and two water bottles, one of which was lying on its side. “What’s up?” she asked me, a very tired but friendly smile on her face.
“Just heading out. Do you need a hand?”
She looked surprised and I felt badly that I hadn’t offered before. “No,” she said looking around. “I’m just catching up.”
I’m not a lecturer, but she needs to hear this, and you might, too. The work of a teacher is never done. There’s always something else you could be doing. But you don’t have to work constantly. You can walk away before everything’s done. In fact, you have to walk away before everything’s done because everything is never done.
There are tricks to time management for teachers, but we don’t always do a good job communicating them to new teachers. You can set boundaries and develop a strategy that allows you to go home at the end of the day without bringing work home. Here are the tricks to time management I wish someone had told me when I was a new teacher.
Why do teachers need Time Management?
Teaching is all consuming. I’m contracted to work for 8 hours a day, but I could easily spend double that and still never hit the bottom of the to-do pile. Even if all of the grading and planning and parent contact and administrative paperwork and student supervision were done, I would still be able to find piles and piles of training and development and decorating and organizing tasks to keep me busy for the rest of my life. No one is surprised that teachers around the country are feeling record breaking burnout, and there are obvious structural changes that need to be made on the administrative and district level, but individual human beings occupying the role of teacher have a responsibility to their families, their students, and, most importantly, to themselves to make sure that they don’t get sucked into the black hole. Managing the hours that you are at work helps create structure and reduce overload and, hopefully, reduce burnout.
12 Secrets to Teacher Time Management
Must be done but not necessarily today:
- grade papers
- contact parents
- administrative paperwork
- clean and put away used lab materials
- decorate my classroom
- professional journals, workshops, trainings
- volunteer supervision of students
3. Set a schedule. Once you know what your priorities, decide when you will do them. I teach 5 or 6 classes a day and have a prep period and a lunch period every day. The mandatory things I must do today are the things I do on my prep period. Some days, there isn’t enough time to get everything done. If they don’t get done today, then they will get done tomorrow! Some days, there’s extra time so I can chip away at the next lower priority items. The key is to be very purposeful in your prep time. My classroom door is shut, my email is turned off, and I do the things that I have to do. If I want to chat with a friend or make a phone call, I do that during my lunch period.
4. Pomodoro it. To help me with my focus, I use something called the Pomodoro method (I’m using it right now as I’m writing this article!). If I have a 50 minute block, I set my timer for 20 minutes and I work for 20 minutes. When my timer goes off, I take a 5 minute break or spend 5 minutes doing something lower priority but different. For example, if I was grading papers for 20 minutes, I might spend my 5 minutes cleaning lab supplies or making photocopies. If my 20 minutes of work time was intense lesson planning, my 5 minutes of break time could be filling out administrative paperwork or calling a parent or stapling up part of a bulletin board. The key is to do something different – a change is as good as a break. If you need a break, go for a walk around the school or have a cup of coffee in the courtyard, but keep it to 5 minutes. then, return back to your workspace and put in another 20 minutes of intense work time. Using the Pomodoro method – work for 20 minutes, break for 5 minutes, work for 20 minutes – I can get more done with better focus. Working for 20 minutes at a time is far less draining than working for 50 minutes straight, and I end up getting more done because I haven’t had a loss of focus.
5. To Do Lists. I use my old fashioned hand written plan book for my to-do list. In the spaces on my plan book where my preps go, I fill in tasks that need to be done. This accomplishes three things. First, it reminds me of what I have to do which is important because we juggle so many tasks that it’s easy to forget. Second, writing the task in the plan book sets it as a time bound item. This activity (call Johnny’s mother, write sub plans for personal day next week, whatever) will get done during that time because I’ve planned for it. Third, writing the task gets it out of my head. I don’t have to think about it until the time it’s schedule for, freeing my brain for all of the other things I need to think about. Another benefit is that I really enjoy crossing things off 🙂
6. Build routines. This is more of a mindset than an actual teacher time management trick or tip. To help me accomplish more in the time that I have, I set up certain routines that work for me by pairing activities together. For example, I do my photocopying on the way to the restroom. I pick up my coffee when I sign in in the morning. I take attendance while my students are doing their bellringers. I check email three times a day – when I first get to school, at lunch time, and before I leave in the afternoon. I’ve never missed an “urgent” email.
7. Collaborate. I work closely with other middle school science teachers in my building. We plan lessons, labs, and enrichment activities together and write assessments together and make copies for each other. We even share lab supplies. This serves a few purposes. First, it reduces each of our personal work loads. I don’t have to do my lesson plans this week because the other teacher did them. I don’t have to make copies because someone else made them for me. The DNA extraction lab is already set up on the cart. A second purpose of collaborating with my colleagues is that the administrators, guidance department, and special services LOVE that we’re all on the same page all the time. Parents never call to say this teacher gives more homework than that teacher. Every seventh grade science student has a test on the same day. Everyone’s work is easier. Time management for teachers often means working with other people who can manage your to do list.
8. Use self-grading assessments. I can’t stress this one enough. My own personal teacher time management has been 100% better since I learned how to use self-checking assessments. I use them for formative activities like do now and homework and I use them for summative assessments like tests and quizzes. Although they started as an answer to remote teaching in 2020, I will never go back to paper and pencil assessments because of how much time I’ve saved.
9. Use Doctopus. For lab reports and essays, the management and organization of them is just as hard as grading them, but I found an easier way. Doctopus is a Google extension that imports your assignments from Google Classroom and organizes them in way that makes them easier to grade.
10. Use small chunks of time. Students are finishing a test? Grade some papers. Assembly or hall duty? Bring your laptop and do some planning or write some parent emails.
11. Use teacher made activities. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. There are literally millions of resources on TeachersPayTeachers (and a few hundred on the JustAddH2OSchool store, too!). Teachers before you have created labs, worksheets, handouts, lessons, slide shows, and assessments and most are very inexpensive. If you’re running short of time and need a lab, spend $2-3.
12. Ask for help. When your supervisor asks you to do something additional – volunteer for a committee, help create a workshop, design a school wide program – be sure to ask for clarity. For me, it sounds like this: “Can you help me identify which of my responsibilities are priorities this week?” I want to send the message that I’m a team player – I’ll do what it takes for my students to be successful – but my plate is only so big. If you add to my plate with something new, then you’re going to have to take something off my plate. Suggest that you’ll work on this additional task instead of your non-instructional duty – hall duty or cafeteria duty or bus duty maybe, or attending a faculty meeting or supervising during an assembly. Teacher time management in this case is really just administrator management.
8 Test Prep Strategies that Work!
Life would be great if I could spend every day letting my students engage with phenomena and explore science concepts – aside from the relationships that build with students, it’s my favorite part of teaching. I love watching middle schoolers get curious, ask questions, and figure things out. I love the lightbulb moments. I bet we all do. But my administrators (and the parents in my District) still expect me to give traditional assessments and to prepare my students for standardized assessments in the spring. Middle school science teachers can help their students prepare for tests using best practices. Here are my top 8 test prep strategies that work – and don’t squash curiosity and still engage kids.
1. Be positive.
If you tell kids they’re going to fail a test, then they will fail a test. I’m sure you’re not actually saying the words “You’re going to fail,” but we communicate in many ways. Our own personal anxiety over our students’ performance is detectable by tone of voice, gestures, distractibility, and attitude. If I’m concerned over my students’ success on an assessment, they will know it. A little anxiety is good – students being concerned for their graded boosts studying – but too much is detrimental. “Of course you can do this,” is the atmosphere we want to create. “This is your time to shine!” I tell my students when they walk in. “It’s your moment of glory!” Encouraging post-its on their desks or repeating affirmations before an assessment can help built this positive atmosphere on a daily basis.
2. Create a growth mindset.
Students will perform better when they think they can perform better. I know – easier said than done. But there is an abundance of resources available to help you with this. The best tools I know of to build that grit that we all know is so important are escape rooms. Not only are they super engaging, but they also provide intermittent intrinsic rewards as students solve smaller puzzles building their “I can” attitude. Here’s a free escape room for you to try out.
3. Chunk it
Each of my large units is broken up into 5-6 chunks, and each chunk takes about a week to cover. For each chunk I use the 5 Es to engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate the content. For example, a typical “chunk” might include a phenomenon with some time for students to explore independently and ask questions followed by a more traditional teacher led lesson with vocabulary and notes. I try to include a lab experiment or an activity for each chunk, and then I review the chunk of material and assign an assessment on that chunk of material. The assessment might be a lab report or a formative quiz or a poster or any number of different was students can demonstrate mastery.
At the end of the 5-6 weeks, there is a summative assessment of the more traditional style. If you review in chunks and assess in chunks, the larger summative assessment is more manageable for students.
4. Spiralize it
A spiral curriculum is one in which students are exposed to the same content at a higher level after a period of time. For example, we might teach what cells are in first grade, what a nucleus is in third grade, the parts of a cell in fifth grade, and by seventh grade we’re ready for more complicated things like photosynthesis and mitosis. The benefit of a spiral curriculum is that students are learning by building on prior knowledge. Over the course of your entire year’s worth of science curriculum, look for ideas that overlap.
For example, decomposition and the formation of organic matter in the development of soil is a topic I talk about in my first unit, but I also revisit decomposition and decomposers in the food chain unit later in the year.
Take advantage of opportunities like that to review and reinforce what your students have already mastered earlier in the year. This helps students build connections which helps them understand and retain information better.
5. Remediate it.
Using your formative assessments, identify students who are not keeping up and then give them extra attention. This doesn’t have to be after school or a special arrangement. Stand closer to them during direct instruction or independent work. Ask them easy softball questions to build their confidence. Identify what piece of the puzzle they’re missing and fix it for them.
6. Practice it.
If your assessment is multiple choice, then you should be practicing multiple choice questions with your students. Show them how to analyze questions and eliminate choices. If your assessment is short answer format, then you should be practicing short answer questions. Model using data to support their statement. Practice on questions with multiple parts and practice answer all of the parts of the question.
7. Use fun review activities.
My kids love games – honestly, what kid doesn’t (or what adult doesn’t)? So I have a ton of games for each unit we cover. Here are my favorite games to use for review:
2 player digital racing games – Man, these are new and steamy hot! My kids love them and beg for more. If you haven’t tried them, here’s a free one for you!
Quizlet Live – Too much fun. Students work cooperatively in small groups competing against the rest of the class. They’ll forget they’re learning.
Blooket – If you know, you know. This is the one I catch them playing when they’re supposed to be doing something else.
Kahoot – An oldie but a goodie. Never goes out of style. The music makes them dance.
Gimkit – Paid product only, but kids love the animations.
Quiz games – Games like Charades, Taboo, Jeopardy and Hollywood Squares are great because kids are already familiar with the rules.
File Folder Games – Kids love making these and playing these. Try it, you’ll like it.
I have Who has – I play this with a timer and record how long it takes each class to complete one round. I write each class’s time on the board and leave it there for every other class to see. They love being the class with the best record. If you’ve never played, here’s a free I have Who has template for you!
Scoot – Lay task cards around the room or hang them on the walls. Students travel from one card to another, recording their answers to each task card on a recording sheet. Sometimes I let students move to the next card at their own pace. Other times, I play music and they move when the music stops. I also might set a timer to let them know when to move.
8. Use fun independent practice activities.
When you’re not reviewing with the whole class, offer students fun ways to review and practice on their own. Here are some examples:
Boom cards – These digital task cards are super simple to create and free to use, although there is a paid membership that improves the data available to teachers. If you’ve never tried Boom cards, here’s a free deck for you. Use my referral link to sign up for Boom cards and save 10%!
Magic Pictures – When students get the answers correct, parts of a picture are revealed. Instant feedback helps students build mastery and take ownership of their own learning. If you’ve never tried one, here’s a free one for you!
Quizziz – Provides instant feedback to students on how well they’re preparing for an assessment. Once you create a quizziz for your students, you’ll be able to see how often they’ve played and how they scored so you get some formative feedback as well.
You’ve got this
In summary, what’s the key to successful test prep? Preparation.
Is Odd Better?
Dr. Seuss famously said ‘You have to be odd to be number 1.”
Which brings up 2 important questions for me.
First, is it important to be a student’s “favorite” teacher? Do students learn better from teachers they like?
The second question Dr. Seuss’s quote brought up for me asks if odd teachers are better teachers? Do you have to stand out to be outstanding?
Follow along as I delve into these two thoughts…..
Everyone likes to be liked. Everyone loves to be loved. It warms my heart when a students says I’m their favorite and I’m sure it does yours also. But does that mean that they’re learning?
My second period this year was challenging. In terms of behavior, there were a few impulsive kids and a few inattentive kids which made crafting engaging activities tricky. In terms of ability, there were a few 504s and an IEP. I worked really hard to form relationships with them. I saved all my energy for that class so that I could entertain, keep their attention, and give them a little science in the most palatable way possible.
In June, just before school let out, one boy told me I was “sometimes mean.” I was hurt. I had bent myself into pretzels trying to build relationships with them. I had saved my best jokes for them, gave them down time and brain breaks as often as possible, and spent a few minutes every day chatting with them individually – “How’s your day going?” “What are you going to name your new dog?” “How was the softball game?” So I was hurt. What could I possibly have done that this student perceived as mean?
So I asked some probing questions. Without accusation but from a conversational tone, I asked “What did I do that makes you say I’m mean?” His answer: “You gave us homework.”
After some conversation, he told me that my standards were high and that was what he perceived as mean. “But you’re still my favorite teacher,” he added.
“But I’m mean?” I asked him.
“Yeah, but you help us learn everything even though you give us a lot of work.”
I’m ok not being their favorite – I work with many very talented teachers who are gifted educators and I don’t need to compete for my own ego. But I do think that kids learn better from teachers that they like, and, probably more importantly, from teachers that they think like them. If you don’t have a relationship with your students, they are not going to learn what you want them to learn.
What students call oddness might be interpreted as originality. If every class is exactly the same predictable class, your day would be really boring.
In my seventh period class this year, I had a student transfer in to the district in February. The winter is long and we were all getting bored of each other, so this new student was a welcome distraction. The day before he was supposed to come to class, I appointed one student to be the seat and lab partner for the new student and had everyone brainstorm ways they could help him get acclimated to our school. On the big day, many of my seventh graders stopped by my room to tell me they had met the new boy and share all of their intel with me. When he walked in to science, one girl said to him, “Science isn’t like the other classes. You’ll like this one.”
While science teachers are often perceived as “odd,” I fit well within the parameters of a middle school teacher. I don’t wear Ms. Frizzle clothes and my lessons are pretty generic science lessons – nothing ever explodes (much to my middle schoolers’ chagrin) and we never get into magic school buses for surprise field trips. But this promise that science wasn’t like the other classes felt like a blessing. What a compliment!
I don’t know what makes me “odd,” but I do know that I love my students and enjoy being with them. Is that what makes me odd? I know that I work very hard to craft activities that are relevant and interesting. Is that odd? I also know this – some of my favorite people are weird.
What do you think? Do you have to be odd to be number one? Should you even try to be number one? Let me know in the comments.
What do you need?
I’m a mediocre multitasker. I can make a phone call while I’m walking the dog. I can listen to an audio book while I clean the bathroom. I can grade papers on hall duty. But I still don’t have enough time to get everything done. At the end of the week, I haven’t reached the end of my to-do list. Ever.
Does that sound familiar? Maybe we can help each other out. For the past 3 years, I’ve been working on this little store. I’ve made middle school science resources and sold them to thousands of teachers around the world. I like to think that I’m making their lives easier because they don’t have to do the prep work, and they’re making my life easier because I can afford to put gas in my car this week. There are a few hundred resources in my store – click here for a catalog if you’re interested.
But here’s where I need your help. I’ve got it mostly all covered – every content area and every type of resource. Let me know what kinds of resources and what topics you need, and I’ll help you out by sending you something for free. Fill out this form if you’ve got 2 minutes to help me out!
35% off sale now through January 1, 2023
TWO giant sales are hitting the ground this week.
First, the JustAddH2OSchool store is celebrating its anniversary by offering 35% off EVERYTHING in the store! Use coupon code H2O22 to save 35% off everything from now until January 1, 2023!
Click here to shop:
The TPT Cyber Monday 2022 sale is here! Nearly everything on TeachersPayTeachers will be offered for 25% off on Monday, November 28 and Tuesday, November 29. Use code CYBER22!
Click here to shop:
Two Secrets to a Great Jigsaw Activity
Is it just me, or are students a bit less motivated this year? My middle schoolers are far less prepared to dig deep and persevere through problems. They exert more energy finding excuses not to do their work than it would take to just do it. Some people blame the pandemic – after all, the seventh graders now were in 5th grade when schools got shut down around the world, and then the spent 2 years in a sort of limbo existence only to be thrust into seventh grade with little to no sixth grade skills.
Every middle school teacher I talk to now is looking for ways to increase accountability while still working on incorporating social and emotional learning. The past 17 months have been, for me, an exercise in trying new activity after new activity trying to find one that helps my students develop relationships with their peers but also helps them be accountable for their own learning. One activity that checks those boxes is Jigsaw.
Jigsaw has become one of my favorite Go-To activities in my middle school science classroom. In a Jigsaw activity, students are divided into teams. Each team masters one chunk of the content.. Every member of the team records what they learned. Then, teams gets shuffled and each person must share what they learned with a new group of people who had been part of a different team. Students link their own individual knowledge together like a jigsaw to form a complete body of knowledge of the content.
Being accountable not only for their own learning but also for the learning of their team has made my students more responsible. Increased accountability is just one of the benefits of Jigsaw. Another benefit I found is that repeating what the learned in a way that other students can understand it provides a wonderful opportunity for students to understand the information in a better way. Explaining what you just learned in your own words is remediation 101 – you can’t explain something if you don’t understand it. This leads to students having a stronger investment in the initial learning because they’re being held accountable by their peers, not by me or by a grade.
Social and emotional learning is the main reason Jigsaw was first used in the classroom. School psychologist Elliot Aronson first used Jigsaw in the classroom in Texas in 1971 as an attempt to help heal some racial turmoil. Students had to learn to get along because they could not succeed without each other.
To use Jigsaw in your classroom, follow these steps:
- Divide your students into teams. Teams should be roughly equal in size, perhaps 4-6 people per team.
2. Divide your content into the same number of chunks as you have people in each team. A chunk can be a section of a text book chapter, a handout, an online resource, or a step in a larger process (i.e. one part of Darwin’s theory).
3. Assign each person a chunk of content so that the whole team is assigned the entire body of content divided among them.
4. Have students meet in expert groups. The people in each group that are in charge of the first chunk of content meet together to become experts in that chunk. During this process, each individual expert will have his or her own knowledge reinforced and any gaps filled in. Expert groups can also prepare a presentation for each member to bring back to their teams.
5. Students leave expert groups and return to their team and share what they learned. All members of the team share what they learned while the other members take notes and ask questions.
6. Assess all students on all of the content. In a basic Jigsaw activity, students all receive an independent grade. In an advanced Jigsaw II activity, students also receive a second grade which is the average of their entire Team’s grades, therefore increasing accountability.
So what’s the secret to a great Jigsaw experience for middle school students?
Secret Number 1: Manage your physical space. Middle school students are notoriously easily distracted. When you’re completing a jigsaw puzzle at home, the secret to success is keeping the puzzle intact in a location where it won’t be disturbed. When you’re completing a jigsaw activity in school, the secret is in the layout of your room. Expert groups should be far away from each other – I sometimes send a group to work in the hall or in another classroom if I have a willing colleague. When teams come together, they should also be separated so that Johnny can’t go back to his friends in his expert group to ask for help when he’s stuck. Accountability is key here.
Secret Number 2: Manage time. When you’re completing a jigsaw puzzle at home, you wouldn’t take on a 1000 piece puzzle if you only had 1 day to complete it. Likewise, when you’re completing a jigsaw activity in school, the chunks of content should be small enough that a) Expert groups can master it in about 10 minutes, and b) Teams can all share their into in about 5 minutes each. As your students become more adept at using jigsaw, you can increase the time to 2-3 class periods, but try some very small chunks first – think 1 part of the water cycle per expert group, or type of plate boundary.
Jigsaws for Holidays
If I’m at an awkward spot in the curriculum on the day or two before a holiday break, I often add in a holiday themed Jigsaw just for practice. It’s a good way for my middle school science students to have fun and learn a little while taking a break from the curriculum. It also gives students something interesting to share with their families – on many occasions, parents have emailed me that they enjoyed learning about deciduous trees over Christmas or about the benefits of cranberries on Thanksgiving!
One holiday Jigsaw I have used for years is the Science of Winter Jigsaw. In this jigsaw, students learn about how evergreen trees work, how the amount of daylight changes in the winter, and how snow forms. It is one of my favorites because it has engaging and easy to consume chunks of content.
My students loved the Thanksgiving Jigsaw this year. They learn about antioxidants, white meat vs. dark meat, and the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. Again, it has easily consumed chunks of content that are engaging to students.
Since Thanksgiving and Winter were such big hits, I tried the Valentines Day jigsaw this year. It has a very general overview of how the heart works, the science of chocolate, and weird animal mating rituals. My students really enjoyed the variety of information they learned!
How do you use Jigsaw in your classroom?
Here are some Thanksgiving activities you can share with your kiddos!
Thanksgiving Word Search
Thanksgiving Crossword Puzzle
Thanksgiving Spot the Differences
Boom Card Escape Rooms
Boom cards are a great interactive digital tool that students can use for vocabulary practice on the go. The Boom card technology can also be used to make digital games that students can play to practice skills and review content. One kind of game that Boom cards can be used to create is a digital escape room. Here’s how to create Boom card escape rooms for your students.
How do Boom Card Escape Rooms work?
Boom Card escape rooms allow students to click on parts of the screen to find clues and solve puzzles. The versatility of Boom Cards means that there are so many ways to do this. Look at this video of a rock cycle Boom Card escape room.
There are fill in the blank puzzles, drag and drop puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, multiple choice, diagram labeling, and matching puzzles. Your middle students will be so engaged with a Boom Card escape room that they’ll forget they’re having fun!
Steps to creating a Boom Card Escape Room
Step 1: Content. The first thing you need to do before you create an escape room of any type is decide what content you want to review in this activity. Jot down the vocabulary words you want students to know, sample questions you want them to be able to answer, or pictures you want students to be able to label.
Let’s do an example together. I’m going to create an escape room about the moon, so some of the things I want students to be able to do is to name the phases of the moon in order and identify solar and lunar eclipses.
Step 2: Sketch out the puzzles. Once you know what you’re going to have students practicing in your Boom Card escape room, you need to design a few puzzles that will help them practice that content.
Here’s another walk through of a Boom Card escape activity to give you some ideas.
The puzzles I’m going to use in this moon escape room are:
- jigsaw puzzle – diagram of a solar eclipse
- drag and drop – diagram of a lunar eclipse
- matching – how phases are created
- fill in the blanks – phases in order
- multiple choice – images of phases matched to name of phase
Step 3: Plan the story line. A story line, while not technically necessary, does serve to engage learners and builds excitement. Story lines can be as complex or as simple as you want but are more fun for kids if there’s some danger they must escape. For the moon escape room I’m writing, I’m going to have 3 astronauts in a capsule heading toward the moon. They need the launch code to land correctly.
Step 4: Plan the triggers. In an escape room, a trigger is an answer students must get correct in order to either get a clue or advance to the next step. For example, when students correctly label the parts of a lunar eclipse, they will receive a clue and when students correctly fill in the blanks with the phases of the moon, they will get another clue.
Step 5: Create a slideshow. There might be an easier way, but I haven’t found it yet. I create a slide show that is 7×5 inches (the size of a Boom Card deck) and I use that to plan out my images and puzzle pieces. This is by far the longest and hardest part of creating a Boom Card escape room. Slideshows for a 20 minute escape room might be as long as 40-50 slides and often take me days to complete. moon boom card escape room I created for the Moon escape room. You’ll notice that it doesn’t have any links or solutions – it’s just the images that I will turn into puzzles and clues in the next step.
Step 6: Upload to BoomLearning. BoomLearning.com is the site where I host my Boom escape rooms. A few pointers:
- In the “Details” tab, be sure to select “FlowMagic.” This allows you to determine the path your students will take through the cards and forces them to get the correct answers before they move on.
- Upload each of your slides from your slideshow to BoomLearning. Add empty text boxes for clickable places on the slide and use the “Link To” button under “Answer options” to set up the path for your students. Be sure to choose “Conditional Link” to make sure that students need to have chosen the correct answer in order to move on.
- Be sure to include “Go back” options and “Exit” options to allow students to redo part of the escape room or to quit if they are stuck.
Once your escape room is uploaded to BoomLearning, share it with your students is as simple as generating a URL (BoomLearning calls this a “Fast Pin”) and sharing it with students.
Here is a walkthrough of the final product of my moon phases and eclipses escape room:
Check out all of my Boom Card escape rooms here:
Use my referral link to sign up for Boom cards and save 10%!