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1 Way to Create Student Independence


If you feel like you're chasing your tail trying to figure out how to stop interruptions and get students more independent, QR codes in the classroom can help you achieve this.


Read Part 1:  

QR codes can be used to create independent learning lessons or activities. 1 way QR codes helped me accomplish this and can help you is by:

  • Inviting other experts into your room to teach through QR codes linked to video, audio, images or documents. 


QR codes are a tool that let you invite other experts into your room to:

  • Teach your students through media that you don't have the time or resources to create. 
  • Teach things that you have little to NO knowledge in or are not an expert in.
  • Save $$$ if you don't have books on specific topics.
  • Reach more students through higher engagement.

Use pre-made,
  • video tutorials
  • documents
  • audio
  • images 

as the media linked to your QR codes.  Remember QR codes are Quick Response codes that immediatly bring to the surface the content that the QR code is linked to. 

This requires a slight mindshift in thinking, it requires you to stop thinking:
  • you have to be the expert 
  • you have to be the one who teaches the content.  

Think of it like the flipped classroom.  You are moving into the role of facilitator or are able to work with small groups by either working with students in a specific spot or by roaming around the room and assisting students by staying in that center/station with the student(s).


This is a resource that uses QR codes.  The QR codes are linked to videos that are books about animals.  I didn't have many kid friendly books on animals so this enabled me to create a writing/research center that was age appropriate.  My kinder students,

  • Worked independently to select an animal
  • Listened to the book 
  • Wrote a book on the animal they chose
  • Repeated every time they visited the center but on a different animal.
I was able to,
  • Save space 
  • Save money on purchasing books
My students were happy, engaged, and Independent little learners.  WIN-WIN.
Resource Link

Self-Made Videos with Audio:
Here is an example of videos with audio that I needed to help with handwriting practice.  Instead of spending 10-15 minutes a day on letter formation, students were independently instructed through QR codes on letter formation.  Students,
  • Listened to audio on letter formation.
  • Traced the letter on the Ipad as the audio instructed them.
  • Traced the letter on the recording sheet using the same format.
I used this as a write the room activity in the beginning of Kinder and the kids loved it and understood! The resource wasn't originally made to have them trace directly on the Ipad. I never thought of it. They did that naturally and then I realized the resource had even more value than I originally anticipated.

I was able to,
  • send these home for practice and it ensured students were forming their letters correctly.
  • Use the time to work with other kids while students were being instructed.
  • ensure students were practicing writing their letters correctly in their center/station.


I Don't Teach Primary Grades
If you don't teach primary grades and are having a hard time envisioning how this can help you, it helps to start with an area of need.  
  • Anytime you say, I wish I had an aid or volunteer to  ________.  That particular task/activity could possibly benefit from a QR code.
Ask yourself, 
  • "How might a QR code help me (what you want it to do) so (achieve this)."  
  • Jot down your ideas. 
  •  Ask yourself, "What does it look like?"
How might QR codes instruct students so they are able to form their letters correctly.  

Checking for Ready Made Resources
It helps to see if what you need already exists.  I needed samples of sounds made by specific percussion instruments for a 1st grade sound and vibrations unit. I had 4 problems:
  • I am not knowledgable in music - at ALL. 
  • It is too expensive to purchase sounds for instruments.
  • I have no idea how to make those sounds with the instrument physically or digitally.
  • I didn't want to show a video with all the sounds.
Fortunately, a music teacher made a resource with pictures of the instruments and QR codes linked to the sounds for the instrument. Problem solved. No time wasted. My kiddos could now hear the instruments they were learning about and bring the instruments to life. See the resource below.
Link Resource
Next on the blog is, "Using QR codes to,
  •  personalize learning
  • give student more choice 
  • How QR codes can help you with a Makerspace in your own classroom. 
If you want to learn more on how QR codes can help you teach and reach more students, click on the button below.

Read Part 1:  


QR Codes in the Classroom for Mini-Lessons


Mini-Lessons can be given using QR codes.  If you have ever had that overwhelming feeling of helplessness and felt like you couldn't possibly reach all your kids, QR codes can help you reach and teach students.  When I started using QR codes in non-traditional ways, I was blown away by the impact, engagement, and student independence that was occurring.

What types of mini-lessons can QR codes work for?
  • Vocabulary support
  • Charts (graphics or class made)
  • Rubrics (when students forget criteria)
  • Phonics Skills
  • Refreshers/Reviews of content 
  • Front-loading
  • Behavior/Social Skills

Remember, you have the entire web at your disposal.  Linking QR codes to
  • content
  • images
  • videos
  • audio 
is a way to invite other experts into your classroom to do some teaching for you. 

There are a multitude of videos that are kid friendly and explain academic content in an engaging and kid friendly way. 


One way I was able to help reach my ESL students was I made vocabulary cards that were categorized by theme.  I found ESL videos that I was able to use to teach vocabulary like family, fruits, animals, colors, numbers, etc.  I was able to pair these up with units we working on in class and send them home.

Making simple videos to teach kids vocabulary while they practice sight words, simple sentences, and reading is one way to use QR codes.  Below are a few examples on how QR codes can be linked to lessons and offer student support.

Here are 2 examples of videos that are linked to QR codes.

Resource Link

                     Resource Link

I had made the resource specifically because I had 11 ESL/ELL level 1 students in a kinder class along with a few students who needed extra support with teen numbers.  I needed a way to work with my groups while others were working on something meaningful. 

How were my students who could not say the teen number names with one to one correspondence possibly going to trace the correct number on their recording sheet? 

Count the objects (animals), clip their answer, scan it.  A 1:00 minute mini-lesson with visuals.  Audio counts out the animals one at a time as the animals are shown to represent the number being said.  The final teen number that represents the amount of objects is repeated.  Students correct their answer then trace.  

What happened:  
Highly engaged students who you could hear saying the numbers with the audio each time they scanned.  That means they were practicing counting from 1-20 and number recognition 20 times in one center with audio and visual support while I was working with my math groups! 

Phonics Skills and REVIEW
Putting QR codes linked to short phonics videos or songs can be placed in centers for
  • reviewing phonics skills being practiced in center
  • early finisher activity
  • QR codes with audio is helpful for instructions for kids who forget
The QR codes can be placed with the center or copied onto the recording sheet so it can go home with students and shared with families.

Below is an example of a QR code linked to a video for review:

Resource Link

Rubrics and Charts
When using worksheets or recording sheets for students to complete, QR codes can be linked to images to show,
  • anchor charts made with the class
  • student tools such as number lines, alphabets, periodic table, wanted to throw that in there because, remember, it's the concept not the content that will help you teach and reach students.
  • rubrics 
I can't tell you how many times I had asked my own son, "Do you have a rubric?  Where is your rubric? What is the criteria?"  For the sake of time, saving paper, and parent support at home, QR codes linked to rubrics would be great!

Student Behavior and Social Skills
You know how you see all those wonderful calm down ceters on Pinterest, well, I don't know about you but in the lower grades it was difficult to use a "safe space" or calm down area in a managable way.  What I ended up doing was finding videos linked to specific behaviors so if a student did need behavior intervention after I tried A, B, or C, I could have them scan and watch the social story video. This bought me time to finish lessons, groups, or whatever I was doing, until I could get to the student. Plus it gave the student a place to take a break and reflect on what was going on.  You can see and download the social story book with QR codes HERE.


Making QR codes linked to ready made videos and images is quick and easy.  It takes a minute and is worth it!

Making QR codes with audio for instructions, reading a word, giving directions, etc. takes a few more steps but is a pretty simple process and can be done rather quickly.

Making QR codes linked to videos or lessons made by you takes a little longer and can be as simple or complicated as your skill set allows when making videos.  I have made some videos for QR codes that were simple and they got the job done. 

NOTE: ALL my videos were made in PPT (Powerpoint).

If you are thinking - GREAT! but what is the process for making these QR codes, audio, and videos? Subscribe below.   

If you're thinking, "I don't have time for that," start small and see how kids interact with the QR codes or check out some resources that are ready made with QR codes.  

Do you know my entire kinder class taught themselves their Christmas songs using QR codes?  They did.  Then I  took a bluetooth speaker with me and we walked into classrooms and around the school doing "flash" caroling in pajamas.  It was awesome! The resource below is what I used to accomplish this. Why am I telling you this?  Because I want you to see that QR codes can be used in a variety of ways and for different purposes.  They can be a valuable tool for lessening your work and reaching students.

Resource Link

If you want to know more about how you can create your own images, audio, and video to help you reach more students or to create resources to help teachers teach subscribe below.


3 Ways to Use QR Codes in the Classroom

Using QR Codes ffor Teachers

Read Part 2:  How you can use QR codes to teach mini-lessons and reach more students.

QR codes have helped me,

  • reach more students
  • cut down on interruptions
  • ensure students are learning and not just copying
  • teach vocabulary
  • teach numbers
  • front-load
  • offer scaffolding support
  • and more  

This isn't just for young kids. QR codes can help you teach at any grade level.

Here are 3 main ways I used QR codes to help me teach in the classroom.
  • Self-Checking
  • Mini-Lessons
  • Independent Activities
Under each of those 3 topics there are many different ways to use QR codes.  What I mean is this.  

Self-Checking can look very different depending on the grade, activity, and purpose.  There are 2 things, however, that remains the same for all students, teachers, and grades.  

  • Self-checking is a researched based practice that supports student learning by giving students feedback to monitor their learning.  
  • Giving students immediate feedback can be difficult for teachers.
QR codes can help you give students feedback on their work in a variety of ways regardless of age and grade through images, audio, or video. Those media files can be made by you or by others.

Mini-Lessons can be given using QR codes. But think of the different types of mini-lessons you might need.
  • Vocabulary support
  • Charts (graphics or class made)
  • Rubrics (when students forget criteria)
  • Phonics Skills
  • Refreshers/Reviews of content 
  • Front-loading

Independent Activities can help you reach more students.  If you have QR codes that lead to lessons, you can reach more kids. Sometimes that may require audio for your ESL students or non-readers but other times it can lead to lessons that are personalized for a specific student or groups of students. 

If you are having a hard time visualizing these 3 topics, here are a few examples of resources that demonstrate self-checking using QR codes.

  • Student support
  • Immediate feedback

Here is an example of a resource that uses QR codes linked to videos.

I worked with a wonderful lady who made me think harder and that is how the resource below evolved. She was a skeptic of centers and felt that many kindergarten kids probably practiced words that they couldn't read and if they could read and write them, then, why were they practicing them?

Point Taken. 

Resource Link

She was correct.  If you do centers or word work,take your kids who are struggling with reading and writing vocabulary words in any academic area, sight words, or spelling words in any grade level and I am certain you will find the same thing.  Ask them (struggling students) what the word says, means, or to spell it.  

In Kindergarten, I did that. My lower 3rd of the class were practicing words in word work centers and they had no idea what the word was that they were doing a word work activity for!  

A Solution:
QR codes on rings that students could scan and see and hear the word no matter what center they were in. They also used these in writing. Kids stopped coming up to me to ask, "what's this word?" They had the rule ask 3 before me interruptions were still happening.

Why it works:
  • Kids got immediate feedback when they needed it and when it mattered.
  • The QR codes addressed different modalities of learning: visual, kinesthetic, and auditory.
  • Students were using technology in a meaningful way.

Here is an example of a resource that uses QR codes for self checking linked to images. A QR code with audio would be a great option  for students who may have difficulty reading the text.

Resource Link

Students read and better understand how descriptive details lead to painting a picture (literally) but with crayons.  When they finish they scan the QR code.  If they read the description correctly then their picture should look very similar.

Common Use in Classrooms
Typically, and what you will see a lot of, is teachers who use QR codes for the ever so popular "write the room activities."  That's where kids at any age or grade level and any academic area area walk around the room and scan QR codes to reveal a picture, word, or answer to what they are trying to solve. The QR code can reveal an image, text, audio, or video, depending on what you are trying to accomplish. 

An example in a primary classroom would be a picture taped or stapled to a wall. The student writes the word, then scans the QR code to see if they spelled the word correctly.  That's not the only way but you get it.  In the example below, students counted how many animals were on the card and then used a clothespin to clip the number. Students then scanned the QR code to check their answer and get a mini-lesson. I'll show you the mini-lesson in part 2 of this series. 
Resource Link FREE
In older grades it might be a math problem or vocabulary word.  Students write the definition, scan, and reveal.  These are forms of self-checking that help them monitor their learning.

There are so many things and ways to use QR codes in the classroom and you don't have to have Ipads.  Chrome Books work with QR codes too.   I'm wondering how you might be thinking you can use QR codes to reach your students and help you teach or what questions you might have?  Leave a comment or questions below.

Subscribe below if:

  • You are interested in learning more about ways to use QR code in your classroom.
  • You want to learn how to create your own resources using QR codes  
  • You want to be notified when part 2 is posted, "How to use QR codes to teach mini-lessons." 
  • You want to be notified when new content is posted on this blog.


A St. Patrick's Day Activity

St. Patricks Day Math Activities

Give yourself some grace and let go

Planning for classroom holidays doesn't need to be a stressful and overwhelming time.  Find things that the kids will love and that will also make your life easier.  We as teachers put alot of pressure on ourselves by holding ourselves to these expectations that only we know about.  Give yourself some grace and let some of it go.  

These St. Patrick's Day counting cube pictures are a step in the right direction whether you use them as a math center, St. Patrick's Day classroom holiday activity, beginning STEM for little ones, or an early finisher activity. If you've never tried them, I have a FREE picture mat for you to try further down in this post. 

Teachers, I really need you to know that these snap cube building pictures are the easiest prep you can possibly have for the amount of learning that takes place. 

How are they used?

Kids build 3D pictures by counting and snapping the cubes together to create the picture.  Kids have to think critically to turn the cubes and snap them together so the object stays together.


Snap cubes, linking cubes, counting cubes, whatever you call them - kids love building these pictures.  Here's the thing.  Please don't think these math build-it counting cube mats need a worksheet.  The minute your kids get a hold of them you will see them:
  • counting
  • problem solving as they turn cubes to make them work
  • collaborating
  • fine motor skills at work
  • critical thinking
  • working on symmetry
  • spacial reasoning
  • creativity

Kindergarten St. Patricks Day Centers

How are teachers and librarians using Counting Cube Pictures?

Teachers in grades Tk - 3rd have given an overwhelming response to how their kids absolutely love building the pictures and how the pictures have encouraged creativity.  If you are wondering how teachers have used them in their classroom, here are a few ways they have mentioned.

  • Morning tubs
  • Early finisher work
  • Math centers
  • Fine motor tubs
  • Holiday party activity
  • Librarian uses as an activity after read aloud
  • Makerspaces 
  • Paired with read alouds

You can also print multiples of the same mat and pair it with a book. I have used them in our Makerspace as an emergency sub activity for kids too.  

If you love the linking cube activities you are seeing on this post, I think you and your kids will love this FREE resource with lesson plans for creating fidget spinners (spinning tops) with linking cubes HERE.

If you absolutely have to be over the top

Okay, if you absolutely have to be over the top when you and your kiddos celebrate holidays in the classroom, have you seen those rainbow colored pancakes with fluffy whip cream clouds and Lucky Charm marshmallows?  OH. MY. WORD.  but St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday this year (so I am told) and was curious if any of you take full advantage of that and just skip right over the holiday.  Asking for a friend.  

FREE Surprise Picture you can pair with any St. Patrick's Day Book!

You can get a FREE suprise St. Patrick's Day picture straight to your inbox. You will be able to pair it with any St. Patrick's Day book! All you need to do is click on the button below and subscribe. 

Warm regards,


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