Wednesday, April 10, 2013

QR Love and Rockets! {FREEBIE}

Freebie Fridays


I am having an amazing week and have a lot to share with you today.

First up is QR love!  I am so excited to share some more QR ideas and freebies with you today. There are so many cool things that you can do with QR codes in the classroom. Once you start using them, I am certain that you won't stop.

Today's QR ideas focus on live content, creating a QR once and using it over and over again with new information attached to it. I personally do not like to take time to re-do, reprint, and re-laminate items in my classroom. It takes a ton of time and creates a lot of waste in the end. One thing that I love about QR codes is that you can create one QR and link it to a file that can easily be modified. I use the iGoogle QR Generator (free Google Chrome app) for my live documents. The reason that I do this is because I like to use Google Docs for the content and I have discovered that other QR generators do not always link up correctly to Google Docs, especially if it is a video clip.  The process for creating a live text document QR is super simple. First, go to Google Docs and select "create" and scroll down to "document." A blank document will appear. In this document you will add the current content that you would like displayed when the QR is scanned (there is a list of ideas in the next paragraph). You will then need to go to "file" and scroll down to "share." When the "share" dialogue box appears, click on the radio button that says "Anyone who has the link can view." Next, copy the "share link" at the top of the dialogue box, paste it into the browser bar, and open the page. When you are on the page, right click and scroll down to "Generate QR Code). When the QR code pops up, right click to save, and now it is ready to add to a document.
Here is an example, feel free to scan it and view the content.

There are many different things that you can use these live text QRs for. Below are a few fun ideas that I use:
CLASS NEWSLETTER:
*I created a simple Google Docs newsletter that is easy to update,
I generated the QR, and then I hung it by the door. Now when parents want to know what is "Happening" they just scan the code and then read it at their leisure.  I never have to change the QR code poster itself, but simply update the content on the Google Doc.
SOLVE-IT:
I have a few places in my classroom where early finishers can scan and then be given an enrichment/extension of learning. For SOLVE-IT Math Challenge, I often use open response questions from my curriculum and activities from my enrichment notebook. I change the content every Monday, but you could do it less or more often if you like.
WE ARE WRITERS:
For this QR, I have students record themselves reading their story when they submit it for publishing in writer's workshop. I just upload the audio file to Google Drive and then follow the share/link process detailed above. The students and parents can then scan the QR and listen to our classroom authors. I change these out as new stories are published. For this one, it is nice to have more than QR so you can post more than one audio file at a time.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
This one is just like it sounds. I simply add a new question each day that connects to our unit of inquiry. If a student finishes early, he/she can scan the QR, listen to the question, and then use the resources provided to find the answer (I have an iPad and a basket of unit books in this area for the students to do research). The questions usually come from question generating and teacher provocations.
CENTER INSTRUCTIONS:
This is one of my favorite uses of QR codes. It saves me from explaining over and over again what students are to do at a center. I create a general code for each center, print it, and place it in an acrylic photo frame that stays at the center. Then, I just record myself giving the instructions (or write them) and  upload them to the QR live document.  When I have new activities and need to change the instructions, I just modify the live doc that that QR code is linked to.

There are countless ways that you can use QRs in your classroom. If you try out one of these ideas, I would love to find out how it goes! If you would like the free set of QR poster templates, just scroll down to the bottom of the post.

Now it is time for a little rocket talk! As part of our exploration into forces and motion, today we created puff rockets (RAFT project link HERE) and paper rockets (link to the Instructables HERE). I did these last year as well and they are SOOO amazing and a great way to teach students about air pressure. We make both types of rockets in class and then went out to the playground to launch them. The students then had to figure out why one went further than the other. It was so cool to watch and listen to the them as they shared their knowledge and insights. It was definitely a proud teacher moment! Here are a few pictures:



Today's freebie is a set of QR poster templates. Simply upload the poster JPEG into a new document in your word processing program, generate the QR using the file link, upload it on top of the template, print, and display. Anytime that you want to modify the content connected to the QR, simply go back into Google Docs, make your changes, and save. Because the QR is linked to the live document,  when it is scanned the next time, your modified content will be displayed. To download the file, just click on the picture below.

I would love to hear how you use QRs in your classroom! Please let me know in the comments below.

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