Tune into Technology Linky: QR Codes (Plus a Giveaway!)

Welcome to our last link-up for this summer’s Tune into Technology series.  Thanks to everyone who has linked up and inspired us to try new techie things in our classrooms.  Keep the great ideas coming!  This week’s topic is the one I’ve been waiting for all summer—QR codes!  QR codes are such an innovative and versatile learning tool, and we can’t wait to check out how you use them in your classrooms.  You can link up at the end of this post or at Learning to the Core.
Graphics by Teaching Super Power and Ashley Hughes
If you’ve been following my blog, then you’re probably aware that I’m *slightly* obsessed with QR codes.  We use them on a daily basis during math workshop with self-checking QR code task cards.  I love that my students can get immediate feedback while I’m busy working with small groups. 

My students use both iPads and laptops to scan QR codes.  Many people are unaware that you can scan QR codes on a laptop/desktop, but here’s a post about the app we use called QR Journal.  In the picture below, you can see one of my kiddos checking her work after solving a multi-digit subtraction problem.
I have created many QR code scavenger hunts because my kiddos often need to get up and move around during math.  Here’s how my math scavenger hunts work:  Students find the phone that says “Start” and scan the QR code to reveal the first question.  Each QR code leads them to the next phone until they complete the hunt.  They record their answers and show their work on a recording sheet, which I check at the end of math. 

I like to have my students work in partners so they can work through problems together and discuss their thinking.  Since my hunts are different colors, I can leave several skills up at the same time to differentiate and also to avoid traffic jams.  Below is a picture of two of my girls working hard on a place value scavenger hunt.
Click HERE to try an upper elementary set for FREE!
Click HERE to try a primary set for FREE!

Another way I get my students up and moving around is with I Spy activities.  They solve a problem and get immediate feedback by scanning the QR code.  You could hang up self-checking QR code task cards around your classroom to create your own I Spy activity. 
Click HERE to try an upper elementary set for FREE!
Click HERE to try a primary set for FREE!
One of my goals for this past year was to do more student-created activities with QR codes.  A couple of my high-achievers created their own scavenger hunt for nonfiction text features.  They cut out pictures from nonfiction magazines and used QRstuff.com to create the QR code clues.  The rest of the class took turns solving the hunt, and brought it to the little smarty pants to check their work.  Here’s a picture of some of the cards from the hunt.
We used the two bulletin boards in the back of the room for student-created interactive bulletin boards.  One was an inference bulletin board for which the students used clues to describe something without giving too much away.  They checked one another’s inference puzzles by scanning the QR codes.  The other was a word problem board.  Students could create any type of word problem for their classmates to solve by checking the QR codes.  I’ve never seen my kiddos so excited to solve word problems!
Click HERE to see my previous post on this activity.
Another one of my favorites was our U.S. Regions QR code bulletin board.  My students worked in cooperative groups to research one of the regions and put together their choice of presentation as long as it included the basic information I asked for.  The QR codes you can see link to various PowerPoint presentations, iMovies, websites, and Prezis.

I’m not a big tutorial person, so if you’re looking for step-by-step tutorials on how to create some of these activities, I’d like to direct you to my friend Tabitha’s blog.  On this page you can find very detailed tutorials on how to scan QR codes, create QR code resources, attach text, hyperlinks, images, etc. to a QR code.  She’s got some great freebies too, so go check her out!

I’ve embedded some links to freebies within this post, but here’s a list with some more if you’re interested in trying out QR codes for yourself this year. 



As a thank you for participating in our linky and to give more teachers an opportunity to try QR codes in their classrooms, Amanda, Aylin and I are having a giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive their choice of $10 to spend in EACH of our stores.  That is a total of $30 worth of QR code products!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  This giveaway ends Friday night at midnight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tune into Technology Linky: iPads

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Tune into Technology linkup!  This week we are sharing how we use iPads in the classroom.  If you are fortunate enough to have iPads, we’d love to hear about any must-have apps or management tips you have.  You can link up at the end of this post or over at Learning to the Core.
Graphics by Teaching Super Power and Ashley Hughes
This year my students and I became infatuated with augmented reality.  If you're unfamiliar with AR, it essentially allows you to make images interactive by creating another layer—or “overlay.”  The first AR project we tried was a biography research project.  My students created “auras” of themselves speaking in the first person about the famous person they researched.  Each video was attached to a photo of that person, so when people held an iPad up to the photo, the video would magically appear.  You can read more this project and see a video of what it looked like here. 

My 4th graders also used AR to display their human body system iMovie projects.  In the picture below, you can see my students at the bulletin board watching iMovies about the various body systems.  You can read more about this project and see a couple videos of it in action here.

Here’s an example of a teacher-created AR bulletin board/science center.  After our field trip to the local zoo, I made some auras of various animals we observed.  The students watched the videos and recorded the physical and/or behavioral adaptations they observed.  Click here to see a video of this center in action.

The only app I’ve used for augmented reality is Aurasma, and it’s worked well for me.  Erin Klein has some great examples as well as tutorials if you’re interested in trying AR.

One of my kiddos’ favorite apps, Cyperchase Shape Quest, has an augmented reality aspect to it.  They have to use spatial reasoning and modeling to “patch” the path so the animals can get across.  As you can see in the picture, my student is holding the iPad over the game board, which makes it come to life.  All you have to do is print out the game board and hold the iPad up to it.. then watch the magic unfold!  This app has two other games included and it is FREE, so I highly recommend checking it out.

Chicken Coop Fraction Games was another app that we loved.  It has an estimating fractions game that’s free and super engaging.

Oh No Fractions is free app for which students have to determine whether the fraction on the left is greater than, less than, or equal to the fraction on the right.  I like that it gives the option of showing a visual model of the fractions if needed.

Marble Math Lite: Multiplication is unique in that students actually have to tilt the iPad so they could roll the marble around the board and come up with the solutions.

If you’ve been following my blog, then you probably know that we get a lot of use out of QR code scanning apps on the iPads.  I frequently put up scavenger hunts and I-Spy activities to get my students up and moving around the room.  
There are tons of free QR code scanning apps when you search in the app store, but one of my favorite free ones is i-nigma.  Next week's Tune into Technology theme is QR codes, so I will share more then.. but if you want to try an activity for free in the meantime, click on any of the images below.




Tune into Technology Linky: Integrating Technology into Math

Welcome to week two of our Tune into Technology linky!  This week is all about math.  You can link up your ideas at the bottom of this post or over at Learning to the Core—it all goes to the same place.  We are keeping all four linkups open until August 5th, so you can always come back and link up to a previous post if needed.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by and linked up last week for reading.  We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us this week for MATH!:)
Clipart by Teaching Super Power and Ashley Hughes
This past year video tutorials became an integral part of my math workshop routine.  I used them with “flipped” lessons for which my students would watch a video and take notes for homework.  My students also used them frequently in class while working on their practice problems and centers.

One of the major benefits of assigning videos for homework was that my mini lessons were short and sweet so we could get right down to business applying the concepts in small groups.  My above level group would usually “get it” after the previous night’s video introduction and could start with independent practice problems right away.

My on level group usually started with self-checking QR code task cards, and I almost always had them working with their partner or table group.  Because they got immediate feedback after each task card they completed, my students could monitor their own understanding.  If they noticed they were doing something wrong, they would often go back and watch the video tutorial again, pausing and rewinding when needed.

Here’s a picture of one of my boys watching a long division tutorial while trying to solve his task card problem.
Since my on level and above level students were fairly self-sufficient, I could focus on providing my struggling students with support and remediation right away.  Then once they “got it,” I could move onto the other groups to support and/or challenge them.    

Because of the way I changed up my math routine, I was able to see every group every day.  This was the first year I truly felt that I was able to give ALL of my students the time and attention they deserved.

I didn’t do flipped lessons every night of the week or even for all of my math units; it really would depend on the content.  When my students got traditional homework, such as a worksheet, they would often watch the videos at home while doing their homework.

I got most of my video tutorials from Learn Zillion or Khan Academy, and I kept updated links to all of the videos on my class website.  I also printed QR codes that linked to the videos for my students to glue into their math notebooks.  This was helpful for the students that didn’t have internet access at home.  Their parents were great about letting them use their Smart Phones to watch the videos. 

Here is an example of one of my student’s interactive notebook pages with a QR code that links to the video tutorial.

Throughout the year, I loved watching my students gain independence and try to figure things out themselves before immediately putting their hand up when things got tough. 

Tune into Technology Linky: Integrating Technology into Reading

Welcome to our second annual Tune into Technology linky series!  Every Tuesday for the month of July we will be sharing how we integrate technology in our classrooms.  The button below lists the themes for each week so you can plan ahead.  We will leave all four linkups open until August 5th, so if you miss one you can always link up later.  You can use the InLinkz tool at the bottom of this post or link up at Learning to the Core—it all goes to the same place.  This week’s linky is all about READING, and we can’t wait to see what everyone has to share!:)
Clipart by Teaching Super Power and Ashley Hughes

I’m a big fan of integrating current event articles into my reading instruction, and my two favorite online websites for this are Tween Tribune and News ELA.  What I especially love about News ELA is that you can change the reading level of the articles by clicking a specific Lexile level (as you can see on the right side).  This way, my entire class can read and respond to an article with the same content and be successful. 

During reader’s workshop—whether we’re reading an online article, a mentor text, or our own independent books—I really love having my students respond online before our whole-class discussion/share time.  One of my favorite sites for responding to reading is Padlet.  I will set up a wall using my personal account and pose some type of question or task, then link it to my classroom website.  Students don’t need their own login to type on my wall.  I just have mine type their names above their response, and they show up in real-time.

The screen shot above shows a Padlet wall of my students’ literal vs. inferential questions from their independent reading.  One of the reasons I like to do these response activities online is so that my students can get ideas from one another and my struggling readers can have a model of what the reading strategy should look like.

Here’s another Padlet wall of examples of figurative language my students found during their independent reading time.
You can check out my previous posts on how I use ChatStep and Today’s Meet in a similar manner for reading response. 
Kidblog is another website we use a lot for responding to reading, and my kids even posted their lit circle jobs on their blogs.  Here they are having their lit circle meeting.
The last idea I want to share with you is our “Books in the Spotlight” bulletin board that stayed up all year in our classroom library.  My students used either iMovie or Photobooth to create book trailers about a book from our classroom library.  We used QR codes attached to a picture of the book cover to display them.  Students could come up to the bulletin board with an iPad and scan the code to get a good book recommendation from one of their peers.  Every couple of months we switched out the books so there was always excitement over finding new books.