Christy Haynes shares #HowIBoomalang,

Marion High School (IL)

Artwork by Boomalang Speaker, Fabiola Granados, de Heredia, Costa Rica

#HowIBoomalang is a series of interviews with educators sharing how and why they implement Boomalang conversations. Below are selected quotations from the interview.

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"With these upper levels, we thought this would be great preparation for the Seal of Biliteracy test."

Classes: Spanish 3, 4, & 5


With a new language facility, Marion High School Teacher Christy Haynes was interested in fully maximizing the benefits of new technology.

"It allowed us to do more interactive activities with the students. We have web cameras, and I pair up the students to do video interviews with each other. I also create videos of myself interviewing them and they can answer them as a recording, and I can give them feedback. As you can imagine with a classroom of 25 students, it's challenging to do any kind of oral assessment, especially one-on-one with a student- nearly impossible! The language lab really opened that door [to allow for something like Boomalang]."

By maximizing the facility, Christy is striving for 100% of her students to be recognized by the state for the Seal of Biliteracy; last year, 93% of her students were recognized.


Boomalang caught Christy's eyes. "[Boomalang] would be great preparation for the Seal of Biliteracy test and more opportunities to use Spanish in a practical sense."

To fully leverage the new language lab, Christy hosts "Lab Night" twice a month for students to schedule a Boomalang conversation during that time window.

Students are required to complete one conversation a month [throughout the year].

"At first, I was reviewing every single conversation, and then it became quite clear that the speakers at Boomalang are really good at prompting the students and helping them speak Spanish. Now, I do more of a spot check. We worked out a cheat sheet together to remind them how to talk about various things, like the weather, so they have a little security blanket.

I do have them cover certain topics every month--usually they are thematic. This month Span 3 is focusing on relationships. Span 4 are finishing up a student adaption of Don Quixote, so that's their topic.

And the students had great ideas. I have some animal lovers in the class, and they asked, 'Can we talk about our pets? Can we show them pictures?' and I said 'Absolutely!'

I've also had a few students approach me and ask me how to ask certain questions based off of conversations they wanted to start."


"It's safe to say Marion High School is maximizing their new language lab with the addition of Boomalang. Once you get it going, there's not a lot of work on the teacher's end. You get a lot of profit for very little effort in that you don't need to prep, plan and prepare. The speakers take care of that.

You reap those benefits because Boomalang is available 24 hours a day. And of the conversations I've listened to, how the speakers handle the students when they aren't sure how to express themselves or don't understand the questions--the speakers are incredibly patient and thoughtful. They build the students up. They definitely encourage them. And that's one thing I would get unanimous agreement from my students that they feel more confident speaking Spanish.

I've had several students tell me that Boomalang helped them get over that affective filter when it comes to speaking Spanish, helping them with much needed practice outside of the classroom."

*UPDATE as of 5/10/18: 100% of Christy's students qualified for recognition on the Seal of Biliteracy testing this year. Congratulations to Christy and her students!

Have a story to tell? No matter the detail, help the community by commenting below, emailing, or sharing on twitter using #HowIBoomalang.

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Alison, Community Engagement