Friday, April 15, 2011

Math Centers with QR codes

I should have known that when I first heard about QR codes that I would be in love. I have always been fascinated with things that scan. When I was 6 all I wanted was a Playskool Cash register that would scan the play food. I never got one, but thought the next best things was to work at a grocery store, because they got to scan things all day long. As I got older I realized that that was not my calling, but I still wanted to scan stuff so the days the librarian is gone at school and I get to check out my students books is wonderful.

Then I was introduced to QR codes and I was in a true state of wonderment, I can be a teacher and scan things perfect! I just had to figure out how I was going to do this to enhance student learning. I know people are doing things with flipping their classrooms. Students watch lessons at home for homework, and then come to school and do what was once considered the homework. I could send my students home with a sheet of QR codes and have them watch the tutorials on their smartphones or ipod touches. The is would be perfect if all my students had these devices. I would say only 1/3 of my class has the devices they would need for this idea. That is when I thought that they could be working in a style similar to what many teachers use for guided reading, learning centers.

I wanted to start with math because in my head this is what I thought would be the best area I could make short tutorials. We are working on adding and subtracting integers and plotting ordained pairs on a coordinate plane. I made three videos one for each concept and posted them to a youtube channel I set up. I then got to work connecting them to a QR code. Which is where I hit the roadblock I talked about in my last post. I contacted my tech director Jay, and he contacted a youtube aficionado, and we figured out the problem, which I'll share in another post.

I now had QR codes for each concept printed, and in a page protector. I divided up my class into groups of three, because I know they get goofy with bigger groups. I gave each group a QR code, ipod touch, headphones, and worksheets practicing the problems. I walked around in case they still needed help and watched the magic take place.

I know there is something behind flipping your classroom, and for those who might be skeptical it was proven today in my classroom. One student who struggles in math and can be a more difficult child amazed me today. I for one am not a strong math teacher, I have never taught math before, so this year I have been learning most of the 6th math over again. I have a father who is amazing at math and taught it in 6th grade for the last 15 years before he retired. I use him for ideas often. To start with subtracting integers is confusing, and about half my students were still lost after the first day of the lesson. So I called in reinforcements and my dad came the next day to explain it in a different way. My struggling student decided that he knew how to do this, wasted instruction time, tuned out, and made an alphabet book. He of course could not do the homework and get frustrated, even when I tried teaching him again one on one. In a five minute youtube tutorial taught by me he understood it and did the whole worksheet. WHAT!!!!

This generation of students have grown up learning things in this way. As educators we talk a lot of moving away from lecturing, which I guess the tutorial can be considered, but more time was spent learning hands on then listening. I also know that some of you, or my one reader could say that I didn't have them working on a project because they had worksheets, but that is my next goal. I want them to be working on real life issues or problems, and using the tutorials if the forget how to perform the tasks needed for the bigger picture to be solved.

Here is one of the videos I used.


  1. Cool Stacy! You are really doing a fantastic job in your classroom! Great blog too...excited to see more!

  2. Hi Stacy. Thanks for the post - it's given me some good ideas.

    I think your QR code has one too many "http"s in it.