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Elementary Music Lesson Ideas Innovative Ways to Use Boom Cards

Music Boom Cards are an important tool to develop music reading skills. Check out these elementary music lesson ideas for your classroom.

How can you seamlessly integrate Music Literacy Boom Cards into your lesson plans and get your students hooked on learning to read music?

Boom Cards may be used for many FUN activities in elementary music classes. And, they don’t have to be 1:1 activities where each student has their own device. See below to learn innovative ways to use Boom Cards as whole class activities and centers or stations.

Note: If you’re not sure what Boom Cards are take a minute to check out this post to see a deck of Music Boom Cards in action.

Innovative Ways to Use Boom Cards in Elementary Music with Children playing handbells

Develop a Well-Rounded Song-Based Music Reading Strategy

Simple songs should form the foundation of any elementary music reading program. After you lay that foundation Music Literacy Boom Cards are the perfect way to practice, reinforce, and assess students’ skills.

See the post below to develop a solid music reading strategy for your elementary music classroom – How to Develop and Assess Music Reading Skills.

Elementary Music Lesson Ideas

Many teachers discovered Music Literacy Boom Cards as helpful as 1:1 activities when we all had to transition to distance learning.

However, these activities may also be used as a whole class and small group activities.

Elementary Music Class Activity – Question/All “Write”

Display each question on the whiteboard while the entire class writes or builds their own answer on paper or individual write/wipe boards.

Rhythm Dictation Boom Cards

Option 1 Printable Templates: Download the Printable Rhythm Block Template for students to write their answers. To create reusable templates print the template on card stock and laminate it. Then students may use “write and wipe” markers to notate the rhythms they hear.

Option 2 Manipulatives: Use popsicle sticks or other manipulatives to construct the rhythm patterns they hear.

Teaching Young Children to Read Music | Stick Dictation vs. Standard Notation
Popsicle stick music notation

Melodic Dictation Sets

Download this FREE Printable and Digital Treble Clef Staff to use with simple manipulatives. The staff is perfectly-sized for use with pennies or small BINGO chips as note heads. You may use a piece of yarn or a pipe cleaner for a ledger line if necessary.

Elementary Music Class Activity – Answer with Sign Language or Signals

Display each question on the whiteboard and have ALL students answer with sign language and/or signals. Sign language works well with Treble Clef and Bass Clef Boom Cards sets. Students only have to know the signs for the first seven letters of the alphabet to display their answers.

Sign language and signals also works well for identifying musical patterns. Students choose a pattern they have heard from several patterns which are displayed on the whiteboard.

See these bundles for examples – Identifying Rhythmic Patterns and Identifying Melodic Patterns.

Small Group Activities – Use Boom Cards as Centers or Stations

I always recommend teachers have some way to hold students accountable at each center. If you use Boom Cards with individual student accounts, their scores will automatically be recorded. I do NOT recommend this option if you have large numbers of students as most music teachers do.

Instead, I recommend that you use the FastPlay Link option. This will not record individual student scores but the biggest advantages are you will not have to maintain student accounts and you can use the FREE teacher account.

To monitor students’ progress using FastPlay Links –

  • Create a simple score sheet for students to fill out and turn in their scores, or,
  • Require students to take a screenshot of their scores and submit the screenshot to “turn in” their assignment.

Whatever method you choose, be sure to teach students your process.

Use Boom Cards for Pre/Post Tests 

Boom Cards work well for pre/post tests. If students score above 90-95%, allow them to progress to the next set. If students score low on the pre-test, they may repeat and practice the same deck of cards until they reach proficiency.

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Repetition & Practice

Repetition is important in when students learn any concept but especially in music. Students may repeat and practice the same deck of Boom cards multiple times. Often students are not motivated to repeat or practice a skill. But the game-like atmosphere of Boom Cards motivates students to perform better and improve their scores.

All of our decks are set to randomize and present “tasks” or questions in a different order so students cannot simply memorize the order of the cards.

Differentiation is Easy

Teachers may assign specific decks to specific students or assign a sequence of decks for all students to practice and master at their own pace. This allows students who may be taking private lessons to excel while students who need extra practice can continue to work at their own level.

Fast Finishers or Rewards

Boom Cards may be used as an incentive for students. Allow students who earn a reward to use Boom Cards. This is a great way to keep students engaged in learning while recognizing positive behaviors.

Rhythmic Dictation Series

Music dictation is FUN with these drag and drop blocks as students listen then “build” the RHYTHM pattern they hear. They may listen as many times as they need to complete each card. Students should listen again and work until they get the correct answer.

Melodic Dictation Series

Similar to the Rhythmic Dictation sets, students listen and then drag and drop blocks to “build” the MELODY they hear. Again, students may listen as many times as they want. When students make a mistake they should listen again and work to correct their answer.

Melodic Dictation Blocks are also available in the Key of F and the Key of G. These sequential sets are helpful for young students who are not ready to read ledger lines and notes below the staff.

Boom Cards Facilitate Music Literacy

You still might be a bit skeptical that an online “game” which kids enjoy can facilitate music literacy. I used to be until I learned what Boom Cards can do. Boom Cards are an important tool to help develop REAL music literacy skills.

Add a couple of these ideas to your elementary music lesson plans. You and your students will be hooked. Music Literacy Boom Cards go beyond simple FUN. Real learning is happening here.

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Need More Information? Help Getting Started?

Learn about the advantages of using Boom Cards and the simple steps to get started in the post below.

6 Simple Steps to Get Started Using Boom Cards in Elementary Music

If you would rather watch video tutorials, the post below includes several short videos which will walk you through the process. This post includes a link to a site where you can earn FREE professional development credit if needed.

Using Boom Cards in Elementary Music Video Tutorials

If you need additional help, contact us through the form on our website. We’re here to help.

Meet the Author

Terri Lloyd is a former elementary music teacher with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Science in Education, and a Technology Certificate in Instructional Design.

She is currently active in music education through blogging, workshops, and curriculum development. She serves on the music staff at her church and volunteers for an after-school children’s program. Terri is an active musician in the community, performing in a local Big Band, pit orchestras, and various events.

More Ways to Connect – Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.