Elementary Spotlight: 3 Ways to Use QR Codes with Curriculum Pathways


As an elementary school teacher, I strive to develop engaging lessons. I am also concerned about differentiation, matching curriculum to standards, assessments, and ... the list goes on.

Creating Quick Response (QR) codes has made planning and implementing resources a breeze. A QR code connects users to a link such as a website, an image, or a video/audio clip. Using a QR code generator when planning has proven a powerful way to connect students to content both inside and outside the classroom. Try these 3 ways to use QR codes with your K-5 students.

1. Learning Centers

When young students can quickly access content independently, they have more time to explore and complete the activity. For your reading and math centers, you can create QR codes that link to a chart, a game, an online book, a video, or a class notes page. Here's an example:

Second graders are learning patriotic songs in music class by rotating through centers. Each center has a QR code that links to Explore! Primary Sources, a repository of primary-source documents.  Each group listens to the following songs: "My Country Tis of Thee," "Yankee Doodle," and "The Star Spangled Banner." Students then answer a reflection question at each center. Cross-curricular connections with QR codes offer exciting possibilities for deeper learning.  

2. Interactive Bulletin Boards, Word Walls, and Notebooks

Many teachers create bulletin boards, word walls, and notebook pages for students to reflect on key vocabulary, examples, and content. You can create a QR code linked to an image or to a video that helps students visualize and remember content. Consider this scenario:

Third graders are learning about how to talk about their families in Spanish. Students bring in family photos to create a bulletin board on which the teacher puts up a QR Code that links to the Curriculum Pathways video called "La Familia."  The teacher also includes the QR Code in the parent newsletter to continue the learning at home.

3. Differentiation

Differentiating lessons becomes easier when using a QR code to connect students to their learning. You can add a QR code to a video or a form that includes remediation or extension activities. Here's an idea:

After speaking to a 4th grader about revising his persuasive essay to include stronger verbs, hand him a Task Card with a QR code that links to the Curriculum Pathways Strong Verbs video lesson. Have the student complete the task before the next conference.

QR codes are especially useful in elementary school because they eliminate the need to type--a developing skill for this younger audience. Went to eliminate url errors and spelling mistakes? Just generate some codes and have students dive right into the content!


About Author

Kerri Wadsworth

Kerri Wadsworth is a member of the Curriculum Pathways Summer Institute and is a Reading Specialist for grades PreK-5 at The Langley School in McLean, Virginia. She earned her undergraduate degree from St. Joseph’s College of Maine in Elementary Education and Master’s degree from University of North Carolina Wilmington in Language and Literacy Education. Kerri taught for 8 years in Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia in the roles of classroom teacher, Advanced Academic Resource Teacher and STEAM lab teacher for grades K-6. She is passionate about creating innovative, engaging and personalized learning experiences for her students. You can connect with her on twitter @kerriwadsworth1.

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