Wednesday, November 18, 2015

All about QR Codes

This  is a post I have been meaning to write for months, but of course time continues to escape me.  Many of you may have heard of QR codes.  For those who haven't, this is a QR code:
A QR code is like a bar code, but even fancier.  They can be scanned in any direction to give you the information within them.  They can be read using smartphone apps.  My preferred QR reader is i-nigma. It has a mobile app that I have right on my phone.

This blog post will first tackle the purpose and usage of QR codes, not only in life in general, but specifically in the classroom.  Then, I will explain how to make QR codes and put them into your own activity.

How can I use QR codes?

You may recognize QR codes from advertisements and posters all over.  Depending on how the QR code is created, it can send you to a website, show you a video, give you contact information, send you to social media or even give you the option to purchase an item when scanned.  What one can do with QR codes is practically limitless.

I love using QR codes in my classroom.  Not only does it integrate technology, but it gets the students moving around and being able to apply their knowledge in a different way.  Below is a list of different QR activities I have made (along with my shameless plug to them my TPT store if you wish to purchase them).

1. Clothing QR Activity- The students got a sheet (in color) of 20 different people in different outfits.  Each QR code around the room, when scanned, showed them the text describing what one person on the sheet was wearing.  They had to match that code to the correct person on the sheet.

2. Interrogative QR Activity- In scanning each code, the students saw a simple sentence in French like "Pierre eats a pizza at the restaurant".  Their job was to come up with as many questions as possible about that sentence like "who eats a pizza" or "where does Pierre eat" as well as answer them.

3. Phone Number QR Activity- This was a two part activity.  The students had to first scan a set of codes that took them to a Youtube link of me speaking different phone numbers to them.  They had to write the phone number down on their sheet.  Then, around the room, were pictures of different cities and the QR code attached was a phone number that would match what they had on their sheets already.  Not only did it incorporate number practice, but they got to see what phone numbers from around the world looked like.

4. Telling Time QR Activity- For this activity, when the code was scanned, they were taken to a picture of a clock. They had to write down in digits as well as words what time the clock showed.

5. Object Pronoun QR Activity- When students scanned the QR codes, they were given a full sentence in French.  On their sheet, they were given empty sentences with only object pronouns included.  They had to figure out which sentence went in which spot as well as form it correctly.

As you can see, the classroom usage of QR codes is endless.  I generally allow students to bring in smartphones to do this activity, but we are also fortunate enough to have a set of iPads to check out from the library.

How do I make my own QR code activity?

The first thing you need to do is decide how you want the activity laid out.  What will the students have on their sheet?  What do you want the codes to actually do?  How will the codes be incorporated to what is on their sheet?

I generally start by making my worksheet and going from there.

The next step is generating the QR codes.  There are two different ways to do this.  If you plan on only having a link or text in your QR code, this handy template is a GODSEND.  You can literally type in all of your stuff and it generates the code for you.  Then, highlight only the columns that have the letters and that have the code in them and do "print selection".  I make it portrait style and I don't include the headers.  You get a few codes per page and all you have to do is cut them out.
*Note: If you want to use this for any projects, I HIGHLY recommend making a copy of mine to have in your own google drive.  Then make a copy of that each time you make a new project so that your base always stays blank.

If you are wanting something a little more in depth, works really well.  On the left hand side, you indicate what you want the code to do.  Then you type your text.  On the right, a code will be shown.  Download the code and print it.  This method is a little more time consuming, but it also gives you more options.

Have fun!

So go off, and have fun with this.  Students love QR code activities because it's different from the normal, plain worksheet.  It's engaging and is a great way to review things being studied in ANY subject.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tapette Vocabulary Game

So I will start with the disclaimer that I cannot take credit for this game.  A colleague introduced it to me, but it's so awesome, I have to share.  If you've ever played flyswatter game with your kids, it's actually quite similar.

To prepare, you take the current vocabulary you are working on and make a sheet with photos and English words if you need them.  This is my sheet for the clothing unit:  (Feel free to copy it and use it yourself!)

In class, you have the kids find a partner (groups of three work too, but I've found that partners work best) and give one sheet to each group.  Take your own copy of the sheet and project it on the board.  Then call out a vocabulary word (in the target language of course).  The students must touch the item with their finger faster than their partner.  Whoever gets it first gets to put their mark on it (usually have them choose Xs and Os).  If neither got it, just scribble it out.  Once you've called a certain item, you cross it off on your sheet too.

I played this with my French 2s yesterday and they were SO into it.  They were having a blast!  What's awesome about this is you can use it to practice just about any kind of vocabulary.  It's also something you can keep reusing if you have a random 5 or 10 minutes to kill at the end of a random class.  Another fun spin is to have students take turns doing the calling of vocabulary as well.