Part 3 - Creating An Interactive, Independent Classroom
We're finally at my favorite part of this series! There are SO many ways to use QR Codes in your classroom. I hope this post will spark some ideas of ways you might want to incorporate them into your classroom.
I love to decorate my classroom. One thing I love to post on my walls are informative posters. Students see them, but I feel that they rarely use them as a resource, which is why I post them in the first place. One of my goals as a teacher is to help my students become more independent and responsible for their learning. Instead of asking me where to find an answer, I want students to be able to find an answer on their own.
One thing I have done to help with this is add QR Codes to my posters. If students have a question, I often send them to a poster. As is shown in the photo above, if students have a question about short and long vowels, I send them to the poster. The QR Codes will link students to videos about short and long vowels. After watching the videos, students should have the information they need to answer their question.
QR Codes can also help transform your classroom library. Confession time. I am OCD about my classroom library. I guess I have a weird attachment to the books I put out. I want them returned. I can't stand to have missing books.
To help with this, I created a Book Sign Out/Sign In. Using the Google Form method I talked about in the previous post, I have students scan a code to check out a book. The code takes them to a form where they write the title of the book, their name, and the date. The Sign In code asks the same things. Google Forms compiles all of the data into a spreadsheet for me. It's an easy way to also keep track of what books students are reading and the level.
If you have a lot of time on your hands, you could also create a code for each individual book. Personally, the method I talked about is much easier!
Another one of my favorite ways to use QR Codes is to create comprehension checks! I tape them into books, and when students reach the pages they are on, they scan the codes which take them to questions, websites, etc. This is a great way to ensure that students stop and think about what they are reading. If you are covering a particular skill, create questions pertaining to that skill, and tape the codes into books. Students can either respond to the question using a Google Form, Reader's Response Journal, or using paper and pencil.
There are other ways you can incorporate QR Codes into books.
You might want to have students create a book preview video every month or quarter. Tape these codes onto the books, and you have another way to get students excited bout their reading.
For your literature groups, have them create a book talk. They could either record a video about their discussion or a podcast (audio). Upload the file and create a code to link to it. As other groups read the same book throughout the year, they could listen to and discuss the book talk from the previous group.
I will discuss how to use QR Codes for vocabulary and pronunciation in the next post!
During money units, many teachers often create a store to connect their students to real world experiences. QR Codes offer a fantastic way to make that experience even more real! Simply create a code that links to a price. Students can scan the code (very similar to a real store!) to find out the item's price. Then, have students add up the prices or subtract it from a balance. You could also add this to your classroom economy store to go along with your classroom management.
Jigsaw Activities put learning in students' hands. Simply create codes for a variety of topics. Pass out to groups, and let them research. Groups then come back together to teach each other. This is a great way to sneak in some higher-order thinking. In the example above, the codes link to videos about different animals. Groups would watch the videos, record their learning, and then come back together to teach the rest of the class.
Scavenger Hunts have long been a popular tool to review and check students' learning. QR Codes just make the hunts more interactive and hands-on. Students will scan the code, which tells them where to go next.
If you want to create a scavenger hunt for your class, I highly recommend using the website Class Tools. Creating a scavenger hunt can get tricky (even though it may not seem like it!) when you're trying to link each station together. Class Tools lets you enter all of the questions you want to ask students, and then it compiles it together to create the hunt for you. It does all of the QR Code creation for you as well! It's a MAJOR timesaver!
QR Codes allow students to become independent learners. One of the most effective ways to do this is to create self-checking worksheets. As shown in the example above, students answer a problem and then check their answer by scanning the code. If their answer is correct, they put a check mark in the triangle.
Here are some other fun self-checking activities.
For this activity, I used Sight Word Bottlecaps. Students must read the word. Then, they flip the cap over to scan the code. The code will read the word to them (I will explain how to do this in the next post!). Students can do this independently or with a partner. With a partner, if they read the word correctly, they get to keep the cap. Whomever has the most caps at the end, wins!
Using the same method as above, I created math bottlecaps as well. Students pick a cap, answer the problem, and then scan the code on the inside to check their math. You can get the bottlecap labels here, and the jar labels here.
This next activity came from Flapjack Educational Resources. Integrate technology into a game. In this example, students must answer a subtraction problem. The opposing player scans the code to check the answer. If the answer is correct, students get to make the move. If not, they lose a turn. To make my codes, I just printed them on a sheet of sticker paper, which you can get here.
Students love to use technology. One way I like to do this is by having students participate in online discussions. Some teachers use Twitter, especially with older students. When using Twitter, teachers have students use a particular hashtag (# followed by a word) so everyone can see their comments.
With younger students, I prefer to use either the message board software that comes with my class website (Some school websites have this, so make sure to check about yours! It is secure and students are assigned funny, unique screenames.) or Padlet.
Padlet is kind of a combination of Twitter and an online bulletin board.
It allows users to post comments, text, videos, photos, links, etc.
Below is an example of it being used as part of our Christmas Around the World unit. Students were assigned a country and had to research it. In the example, you can see where students posted their findings, and some students followed up with more research.
Click here to see a larger example.
Padlet offers far more privacy and security options than Twitter as well. You can password the boards. It also offers plenty of sharing options, and even automatically creates a QR Code to link to the board! This would be great to post on a website or put on a paper to give to students.
QR Codes can also be linked to test reviews and assessments. Test reviews are what I prefer to use them with. Instead of creating a paper and listing the page numbers, create a QR Code. Have the QR Codes link students to either questions or page numbers to find their answers.
The website Quiz Star will create assessments for you. Simply create your assessment, and then create a QR Code to link to it. Just give students the QR Code!
Another fun way to assess students is to have them create a video or podcast showing what they have learned. Students can turn in their work using a QR Code. You could also combine all of the codes onto a page to give students as a study guide or notes.
Finally, QR Codes can be used to spice up writing.
When students come into the classroom, have them scan a code that takes them to a photo. Students can then write about what they think is going on in the photo. You could also create pieces of paper with these codes and stick them into a writing center.
You can find great photos to use at the following sites:
Pinterest (Some teachers have boards created specifically for this!)
Another way to spice up your writing is to have your class create "Choose Your Own Adventure Stories". Remember those classic Goosebumps books from back in the day? Students could write a story, and then create QR Codes for different endings!
The limits are endless when it comes to using QR Codes in the classroom! These are just a few ways you can use them to help your students become more independent.