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Frequently Asked Questions

General

What ages and grades is BoomWriter more suitable for?

That all depends on who’s doing the writing and what content is being generated. Sure, BoomWriter’s avatars are kid-friendly but it’s the interactive writing aspect of BoomWriter that students and teachers love and why BoomWriter is used from Grades 2-12 and beyond! If your students want to write and share their work, then BoomWriter is ideally suited for them.

What is the recommended classroom size for using BoomWriter’s tools?

BoomWriter’s tools currently require a minimum of five (5) students, so you’ll need at least that many to start a writing activity. However, BoomWriter’s scalable platform allows teachers to run group writing activities ranging in size from five to 5,000 students and up! Ideally, though, BoomWriter works well for small groups, individual classes, and grade-level cohorts, but can also be used to engage entire schools and even school districts in interactive group writing activities.

When is the best time during the school year to use BoomWriter tools?

Any time! Seriously!!! BoomWriter’s free group writing tools can be used in a stand-alone fashion (e.g. a group story written on Books) or they can be easily integrated with the existing curriculum (e.g. a quick reinforcing vocabulary assignment on WordWriter). It seems the more teachers use BoomWriter’s tools, the more uses they end up finding for them.

Are BoomWriter tools really free or will we teachers or students be required to pay at some point?

It’s not a trick. BoomWriter’s three primary writing tools really are free for teachers to use as often and with as many students as they would like. Sure, we sell books written by groups of students and there are additional features, curriculum, and functionality that may come with an additional cost, but the old “If it seems too good to be true then it probably is” saying does not apply to us.

Can BoomWriter be used in International Schools in countries outside the US?

Of course! In addition to being used in all 50 states, BoomWriter has a presence in over 50 countries spread throughout the world.

Accounts

How are student accounts created?

Student accounts are easy to create and there are three ways of doing so:

  1. Students with school Gmail accounts can create single sign-in accounts by simply using their school’s unique BoomWriter school code.
  2. Teachers not using Gmail can create whole class/group accounts via Excel or CSV file uploads.
  3. Individual student accounts can quickly and easily be created on the site.

Can students work as partners or in small groups on BoomWriter projects?

You can absolutely have students work in teams! However, you may need to get creative with setting up the student accounts. It won't be hard. If, say, you have students named Jen and Sam working together. You might want to set up a student account for them. Using just their first names, the account will most likely be "jen_sam@boomwriter.com". You will create the password, and they'll be ready to go. Afterward, if you do not expect the students to work together again in tandem on the site you can then simply delete the account.

The one issue here, however, will be if you want to publish these stories because you'll have two first names making one student account (as opposed to a first and last name). As a simple writing project though, this approach should work just fine.

Can parents and families be involved on BoomWriter?

Teachers can invite the parents of their students to register on the child’s account granting them access to the student’s BoomWriter writing portfolio and other parent-focused areas of BoomWriter.

Can multiple teachers include students in writing activities and work together conducting projects?

Any teacher registered to a particular school can include students registered on that same account into an assignment. On BoomWriter, students are registered to the school account and not just the individual teacher’s account. However, individual projects can only be managed by a single teacher - a Books project 'belongs' to a teacher and only that teacher can access and approve any student entries for it.

BoomWriter Tools

Can teachers create their own story starts?

Of course! When creating your Book simply simply choose the "Write a New Story Start" option. You'll create a title then write the content you want the students to read at the start of the activity. Voilà! It will even be saved for you to use with future groups of students.

How does the voting work?

Asking students to read an entire class set of entries and then vote for their favorite would be an unreasonable task in most instances. That’s why we've designed the site voting process to be scalable so groups ranging from 5 to 5,000 kids can easily participate. BoomWriter uses an aggregate voting system and our clever techies created an algorithm based around scoring each vote (1 vote does not necessarily mean one point) to ensure that the results are fair.

Students are shown up to 4 anonymous entries at a time and asked to select their favorite. Students will never see their own submissions during voting, and they will never see the same submission twice. Plus, depending on the total number of entries, students are typically able to vote multiple times.

What is in the printed books?

The finished stories that are written on our Books tool by groups of students can be published and purchased as a real softcover book from the BoomWriter Bookstore. Best of all, these collaboratively written stories that serve as a wonderful keepsake include the name of each participating student!

What happens to the students’ writing?

Student writing remains on the site and in each individual student’s portfolio and can be accessed by the student or teacher who conducted the individual assignment. Parents registered on BoomWriter will also have access to their child’s writing portfolio.

BoomWriter is great for creative writing, but can teachers conduct other types of group writing activities using BoomWriter?

Yes! BoomWriter can be used by teachers in a variety of roles and educational settings: whole class, small group, during and after school. BoomWriter blends writing and technology use—two skills of increasing importance for success beyond the classroom—to provide an interactive writing platform that can be integrated into a variety of curricula. It’s not just for the traditional English class. BoomWriter can be used in history/social studies class, science classes, ELL, Challenge, and some teachers have even adapted BoomWriter for their math curriculum!

Grading & Analytics

What standards are the rubrics aligned with?

BoomWriter’s rubrics were developed by teams of teachers utilizing existing standards drawn from states throughout the country as well as The Common Core. Regardless of what state you teach in, BoomWriter’s Basic, Argument/Opinion, Information & Explanatory, and Narrative rubrics will serve the grading needs of any teacher at the elementary, middle, and/or high school level.

What type of analytics are provided?

BoomWriter’s analytics leverage BoomWriter’s simple grading functionality to track and demonstrate individual student growth and whole-group writing performance on a skill-by-skill basis in real time throughout the entire school year. This will inform your practice and allow you to best meet the needs of your individual students as well as groups and whole classes.

Other Information

What is the Writing Bee and how can my class get involved in the competition?

The Writing Bee starts in the classroom with schools and districts conducting locally-based writing competitions. Don’t be scared off by the competitive aspect though, as students participate in and are eligible to win any Bee qualifying round. Qualifying Round winners and top vote-getters then qualify for The Writing Bee Finals. Finals rounds are conducted outside of the school day with only the chapter winner and top vote-getters advancing in each round until The Writing Bee Champion is identified. Those interested in The Writing Bee can learn more and register here.