Tag Archives: QR Codes

Strengthening the Home-School Connection with Classroom Website

Communication is Key 

As teachers, we know it is beneficial to our students to have frequent, open communication with families.  We also know that this is time consuming (but well worth the effort).  An effective classroom website is a great way to help stay connected with families.

“So, What is the Best Way to Create a Classroom Website?”

This was a question that I was grappling with toward the end of summer break, while my boyfriend and I were vacationing in Savannah (it really is lovely there).  During our downtime, I was researching my options.  In the past, I had used Edmodo, however, I found that many parents didn’t take the time to set up accounts.  We also have a school Facebook page, so I post their frequently, and Edmodo just seemed a bit redundant.  Last year I tried out Kidblog  (see my post here) in addition to Edmodo, as a platform for displaying student work.  I found that Kidblog was a easy way to embed student work, but in 1st grade, we honestly aren’t going to blog in a traditional sense so having a blog of each individual kid seemed a bit unnecessary.

Assessing My Website Needs

As teachers, it is easy to keep doing the same things every year out of habit, but the Virgo in me always pushes me to do things better!  I wasn’t satisfied with my classroom website, and I was determined to find a platform that would suit my needs. So, I sat down and thought about what I was looking for in a platform, and I came up with this list.

  • User Friendly- I wanted something that would be easy for me to use, because at the end of the day, I don’t have a lot of free time!
  • Ability to Embed- A lot of the technology projects I implement with my students give you embed code, so I wanted to be able to embed student work directly into my website.
  • Privacy- My students privacy is extremely important to me, so that’s why in the past I leaned towards using platforms that required user sign in (Edmodo & Kidblog), however, I discovered this was a deterrent to the parents.
  • Easy to Access- I wanted the parents to be able to visit the website without having to log in.
  • Organized- In the past using Edmodo and Kidblog, things got disorganized.  It wasn’t easy to find what you were looking forward, as things get posted in chronological order.  I wanted something that looked more like a traditional website, with tabs.
  • Attractive- It obviously goes without saying, but I wanted it to be pretty!

So, What Did I Decide?

I began looking into Google Sites, but honestly found their templates a bit confusing (this is coming from someone who considers herself technology savvy enough to author a technology focused blog).  Then it dawned on me, WordPress!  I use WordPress for this handy dandy blog, so I was already familiar with the platform (user friendly, check!)  I honestly had it up and running in an hour!  You can obviously embed in WordPress (check!) It is easy to access because parents just have to visit the URL, https://missconroy1stgradeclass.wordpress.com/, or they can subscribe to my posts and they are delivered to their email!  (easy to access,  check!)  I also made a refrigerator magnet with a QR code (see below) that parents could keep around and scan to visit the website.  What is great about WordPress is that it allows you to set privacy on a post by post basis.  So I am able to password protect my posts that have student photographs or work, and I only give the passwords to parents (privacy, check!)  Wordpress had really cute education templates, so I think the website is attractive (check!) I also was able to make categories, so my posts about certain topics would show up under tabs, making the website easy to navigate and organized (check!)Classroom Website

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend using Word Press for your classroom website.  Please let me know if you have any questions or need help setting one up!  I am very pleased with the end result, and another added bonus is that Word Press gives you analytics, so you can see if parents are actually accessing your classroom website, or not!

The Great Gingerbread QR Code Hunt

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Every year one of Title 1 Reading Specialists at my school enjoys baking gingerbread cookies with the class. I recently read the book, The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School, to my class, and I thought it would be fun to coordinate a QR code hunt (much like the previous QR code hunt I did) that would have my class chasing an elusive gingerbread man around the school!
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Adventures of a 1st Grade QR Code Scavenger Hunt

 

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Lesson Background

We read the story titled On the Way to the Pond about two friends, Herbert and Tess, who want to go to the pond for a picnic!  On the way they misplace their picnic basket, and Tess goes back to find it.  She drops rocks along the way so she can find her way back.  In math we have been working on addition and subtraction.  I thought it would be cute if I sent my students on a QR scavenger hunt around the building.  My plan was to attach the QR codes to rocks like in the story, and in the end they would find a picnic basket filled with treats!

Creating the QR Hunt

I used the website QR Voice that I had previously used for my What’s in the Bag? project.  I typed in short addition and subtraction word problems, and QR voice generates a QR code.  There is a 100 character limit for QR Voice.  When students scan the code they hear the word problem read to them.  I copied and pasted the QR codes into a word document.  I also made a page with the word problems, so the teacher can reread the word problem if needed.  Additionally, I included  an answer key and a sheet where students can record their responses.

Going on the QR Code Scavenger Hunt

I printed the QR Codes and attached them to rocks with duct tape.  During my planning period, I hid the rocks throughout the hallways in the school, and placed the picnic basket full of goldfish crackers at the end.  I notified the teachers in my building that I was hiding rocks around the building, and asked them to inform their students.  The class had tons of fun scanning the QR codes and solving the word problems.  They were super excited each time the spotted a new rock!  When they found the picnic basket at the end we went back to the classroom, sat in a big circle, and ate our goldfish crackers!  The only snag we ran into was that one of the rocks got stolen!

Purchase the QR Code Scavenger Hunt

If you would like to use this QR Scavenger Hunt with your students, you can purchase it in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  Enjoy!

What has been your experience using QR Codes with your students?