QR Codes in K: Capture the Voice

The following activity was my first successful attempt at using QR Codes in the classroom. You can use QR Codes in many ways but I specifically wanted to use them to capture the voices of my students explaining imaginary people they created.

The students practiced verbally explaining their people throughout the entire process of our culminating task. This was important, because if you leave practicing how to speak in a second language until the END of your task, you’re pretty much hooped. Practice is essential.

The students planned their people out, painted the backgrounds, drew their people, painted their skin and clothing, and drew and painted the finishing details.

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When they were all finished, they looked beautiful. We then added the QR Codes.

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Here’s how we went about it.
I used the app “Croak It” (on my iPad) because Audio Boo wouldn’t allow me enough storage unless I upgraded my account, which I wasn’t about to do. Croak It’s set back was that each student was only able to record for 30 seconds. This is where the oral language component gets differentiated. I had some students who could explain their person’s name, eye colour, hair colour, shirt colour, pant colour, and shoe colour in 30 seconds. I had other students who could only do one or two of the above. The 30 seconds was kind of nice as a teacher as well. Limiting the recording time to 30 seconds means this activity was relatively quick, and couldn’t drag on and on.

Create a Croak It profile, open the app, and do a test recording. It’s simple to use, and once you have the hang of it, you can fly through it with the students. My students like to do one final oral practice, then we record right after that.

After they have recorded their Croak It, title it with their name, and email the URL to yourself. I did this because I teach half day K, and I wanted to have a place to keep all their URLs just in case we didn’t have time to record and make the QR Codes in one day. Huge shocker, we didn’t have time. *detect the sarcasm*

The next day, we used the app “Zappy” to create our QR Codes.

Open the email containing the student’s URL.

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Copy the URL by holding your finger down on the link and selecting “Copy”.

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Open your QR Code creating app and select the URL option. This way when you scan the QR Code, it will lead you to the Croak It site containing your student’s recording.

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Paste your URL in the text box by holding your finger down and selecting “Paste”.

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After you tap “Go”, your QR Code will be created.

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I imagine at this point, fancy people could print directly from here. However, for personal and professional reasons, I needed to make it look perfect. Therefore, I emailed the QR Code to myself by touching “Share” and doing just so. I also included the student’s name (big orange mark) in the email subject line to limit confusion.

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I created a Word document of boxes with each of the students’ names and then inserted their QR Code into the proper box. Print, cut, glue on artist canvas, and presto. The codes are ready for anyone to scan. I included a few directions on the bulletin board so people would know what they are and how to use them.

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They are beautifully hanging in the hallway. I took this picture with less than half of them completed, and they’re still fabulous.

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Kindergarten Assessment: Quick & Easy

I recently shared an assessment template with my PLN on Twitter. I’ve had lots of requests to have the template sent to other teachers, as well as a few questions about how it works.
I give full credit to my good friend and coworker @mllekmn who shared with me this is how she does some assessment in her 4/5 combined class.

Here is what the template looks like. This specific template is to assess which students know what about patterns in math. The subject, unit, and outcomes are at the top of the page. This specific outcome is about identifying, reproducing, continuing, and creating a pattern. In each box there is the student’s name and then 4 bullets. Each bullet is a part of the outcome (identifying, reproducing, continuing and creating). Knocking it down to one word really simplified the look of this document, which I love.

I had a finger paint centre happening in the classroom. The students were asked to create patterns for me. This would allow me to understand where my students were at the start of our unit, before we went into any specific patterning activities.

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After student work had dried, I quickly went through the finished products and checked off who would create a pattern.

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It is clear this student above can create their own pattern. I found their name on my document, checked the bulletin off, and then stamped the date next to that bullet to let me know when that student had achieved that specific section of the outcome.

To take it a bit further, I wanted to be able to refer back to this document and know what student mastered which outcome with which activity. I flipped my document over, and quickly scribbled down the activity they did that showed me they achieved that outcome. I stamped the date next to my scribble writing so that there was correlation between the front of the page and the back of the page.

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When this math unit is completed, I hope to have many checks on the front, many dates stamped on the front, and many scribbled boxed off activities on the back.
With all the student work nice and dry, I added page protectors and cardstock to a duo tang to create a class book of examples of patterns they created.

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I also threw a sticky note on the front so we could tell which book belonged to the AM class and which book belonged to the PM class.

If you would like me to send you the template, DM me on Twitter.

Creating a Class Slide Show: Sonic Pics & Pic Collage Apps

With any great technological success in kindergarten, sharing is an absolute must! My class and I just experienced the use of purposeful technology in our classroom using two apps: Sonic Pics and Pic Collage.

We are continuing our unit entitled “The Colours God Creates” and have been talking lots about our skin colour, eye colour, and hair colour. To practice their oral French language skills, I wanted to have the students create a slide show as a whole class show casing their different hair colour and eye colour. We had been practicing the sentence structure (“Mme Kathleen a les yeux verts”) for many days.
As per usual, the start of this plan was a disaster. I experimented with Explain Everything, and it seemed to work well. The students could insert a photo of their eye colour onto their slide, type their text at the bottom, and record their voice. This did not go as planned. Each time we used the app, it crashed, lost our photos, and had difficulties saving their work. I managed to push through and save the afternoon class’ work about their eye colour, but the morning class’ work was totally lost. The afternoon class watched their slide show with glee and delight, their eyes shining as they listened to their voices boom through the speakers and their pictures show up on the interactive white board. The morning class’ posture slumped down and they looked up at me with shocked and sad little faces as I told them all of their work was lost. It was pretty much the saddest sight ever. “HAVE NO FEAR!” I said. “We are STILL going to use the iPad to make a slide show about our hair colour!” They squealed with delight. “And this time, we will use TWO apps, not just one!” This seemed to make up for the bad news I had just broken to them.
After I threw Explain Everything out the window, I KNEW I wanted to use Sonic Pics to create our slide show. I had used it before. It was simple, and exported well. The only problem was that I couldn’t add text, or so I thought. Therefore, we used Pic Collage to accomplish the goals that Sonic Pics couldn’t quite meet. We inserted a photo of the students’ hair colour, then the student got to choose a font to use for their sentence. Of course, some students could type the whole thing, others I had to give them the letters to use, and others I needed to type the whole thing for them. After they had finished, the students resized the photo and the text to look aesthetically pleasing, and they exported the photo to the camera roll.
Of course I had to cross out the names, but here is how their photos looked after they were finished.

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The next day, I quickly dropped all the photos into Sonic Pics, and I had the project ready to record in minutes. Here is how the set up looks in the app after all the photo have been dropped in.

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Sonic pics divides projects, and recordings, which is nice in case you need to add any more photos before you start to record. Here is how my screen looked when I had the first student with me, ready to record their voice.

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Instead of that “play” button at the bottom of the photo, there will be a red button that tells you the student is ready to record. I pressed the button, the student recorded their voice, I pressed pause, swiped to the next student, and just kept going from there. After you are finished, the recording saves nicely, and is easily exportable in many different ways. I export my videos to YouTube, and set the privacy settings to “unlisted”. That way, only individuals with the link can view the video, and parents can send the link to other family members to watch.
I can’t post a link to the final product yet, because the slide show had my students’ names in it, and I must ask permission from my parents to post this type of work on public sites. As soon as I have permission, I will post the link to our final video.
This was a great digital citizenship activity for my students. After my morning class lost their work, we talked about how we wouldn’t be able to post it on the Internet anyways because it had photos of our faces. It was a great chance to talk to them about how they are still learning how to use the Internet safely, and that it is not ok for them to post pictures of themselves online at such a young age. These activities reinforced our two mantras about technology in the classroom: “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t!” and “When we are working with technology, we have to have lots of patience.”