QR Codes to Increase Literacy in the Kindergarten Classroom

I would like to begin the New Year with a guest blog post from one of my former graduate students. She recently completed my graduate course called Universal Design for Learning through Regional Training CenterJessica Lewars has been a teacher within the Wilson School District for the past seven years. She has taught ESL, first grade, and is currently teaching kindergarten.

QR Codes to Increase Literacy in the Kindergarten Classroom

By: Jessica Lewars

In my kindergarten classroom, I have students who are able to write complete stories with a beginning, middle, and an end and others who can barely write a complete thought on paper. These students are able to verbally say an entire story; however, when it comes to writing it on paper, they have difficulty formulating the sentence, stretching out words and writing down the letter sound correspondence.

I wanted to plan a lesson in which would boost the confidence of my less experienced writers and have them be able to share their stories with the class, despite their lack of writing skills. I took a different lens this time when planning for instruction and thought about my students who are in the margins. I implemented a normal writing workshop time as I always do; however, when students completed writing and editing their stories, I had them record their story on an iPad.

I downloaded the free app, Voice Record Pro, and had students read their story into the microphone. I was able to email the document and save it in my Google Drive. From there I created a QR code using the website QR Generator. I printed out the codes and taped it to the back of each student’s paper version of their story, which will be placed in a basket in my classroom library.

Students were  able to use the QR reader app on the iPad to listen to each other’s stories, while visiting the classroom library. The students not only loved hearing their own voice reading, but it has also enabled everyone in the class to listen and “read” each other’s stories. Even my lower students are able to have a story they can listen to.

Since doing this in the classroom, it has boosted the confidence of my writers and has them really excited for writing workshop time. This entire process allowed me as an educator to step out of my comfort zone and implement new technology which I was unfamiliar with. As I reflect upon this process, we are the ones holding students back thinking they are not capable or ready to utilize such technologies in the classroom. 

Today’s generation needs to be taught how to utilize the technologies in front of them and have their teacher facilitate their learning. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework has made me reflect upon various subject areas in which I would like to implement new approaches or methods to teach the content. Single-handedly, I found out my kindergartners were able to log in to programs and utilize apps on an iPad successfully, because I taught them to do so or they already had the schema from someone at home teaching them.

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