Tag Archives: iPads

QR Codes to Enhance Learning

24 Feb

Today, as I was gearing up for the first week back after a long break (sigh), I came across a great guest post by Nancy Alvarez (from Teaching with Nancy) on the blog FlapJack Educational Resources. Nancy’s post took me out of my end-of-vacation depressed state and truly excited me for the upcoming weeks ahead of teaching.

As many of you know, I’m always looking for new ways to use my set of iPads with my intervention groups, and her post, QR Code Tips, was all about integrating QR codes into your everyday teaching. After reading her post, I realized that I don’t use QR codes enough. I know about them. I’ve used them from time to time, but just not enough. I have no excuse because they are SO incredibly simple to bring into the classroom and there are so many possibilities. 


QR codes are a fun, engaging way for students to explore content and to share new learning with others, yet the idea of embedding them into my instruction never pops into my head when I’m writing my lesson plans. For example, a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about using a fantastic ReadWriteThink mobile app for teaching Non-Fiction Text Structures. One in particular was a digital timeline app to help students show their understanding of sequence & order (if you missed it, see the post here!). I thought the iPad app itself was engaging, and I was SO excited that I was able to share it with my students, but in Nancy’s blog post, she shared how some classrooms take this app one step further. Instead of students recording JUST the facts and information, students can make QR codes for each event on the timeline (see the example here). Really… wow! That thought didn’t even cross my mind when my students were using this app, but how fun would it be for students to learn from each other’s timelines using QR codes?!? It was one of those moments where I said, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

Like Nancy, I’ve attended inspiring technology sessions about bringing technology into the classroom. I really like her acronym, T.I.M.E. (Technology Integration and Meaningful Engagement), and I agree that “it takes time to perfect the craft of embedding new technology seamlessly into our daily teaching.” It is my goal to really try and enhance my lessons with technology. I don’t want it to take over my lessons, and I don’t want to lose the purpose of my lessons, but perhaps it’s just the simple use of using QR codes on timelines.

How do you use QR codes in your classroom?

Please comment below! I would love to explore new ideas for QR ideas (and I’m sure I’ll once again think, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?!”). 🙂

Happy Teaching!


Using iPads for 1:1 Reading Conferences & Assessments

6 Oct

Hope everyone is off to a great start to the school year! It’s been a mind-spinning start, but I’m slowly getting back into the daily routines of everything. This year we started the year off differently, with a 7-week collaborative program where the reading teachers push-into the different classrooms to work with the teachers on small group instruction. I have a whole series of blog posts to share what I’ve been doing, but I thought I would start with a post about my new classroom bundle-of-joy… a school-purchased iPad!

iPads in the classroom are powerful tools, especially for meeting the diverse needs of 21st century learners. I’ve had a personal iPad device for a few years now, but I was unfortunately never able to connect to our school network via Wi-Fi, so my iPad implementation was extremely limited. My web-based apps were useless and any cloud-based storing/sharing was impossible.

This year, as a Technology Integration Facilitator (TIF) in my district, we were each given an iPad to use throughout the year. We received these over the summer and participated in an iPad Academy to prepare our devices and get training on iPad integration. In addition to my teacher iPad, I will soon be receiving five iPads for student-use this fall (yay!), which means opportunities for differentiation and blended learning have just tripled in my literacy classroom (an even bigger YAY!). My goal is to find a balance of technology-use within my small group instruction and to find ways for the iPads to support my current targeted interventions. There are many fun apps, but not all are appropriate or effective for each student I work with.

One goal for this year is to explore and share apps that support my Response to Intervention (RtI) instruction. There are hundreds to choose from, so I decided to start with one that my colleague recently shared with me. It’s an amazing app for student assessment called Record of Reading, and it. is. fabulous!

record of reading

Record of Reading is a FREE app for iPads that can be used for informal running records. It has a timer and recording features, and it provides areas for recording miscues and notes. It’s a great way to keep track of student reading records without having to keep a monstrous binder of paper records. The app is very user-friendly and helps keep everything in one spot!

Did I mention that it’s easy to use?

Here are the steps (simplified): 

Before you start the timer, you can type in the student name, date, school, teacher, title, and level. You can then start the timer (clock icon), hit record (circle icon next to the clock), and mark the words and miscues as the student reads (it’s easier to record substitutions and make the marks if you have a stylus pen — the sample picture below is me just using my finger!). After the student is finished reading, you stop the timer and voice recording and then input the # of words read (RW), code the errors by clicking in the columns (i.e., Error/Self-Correction and M, S, V), choose a fluency score, and record any anecdotal notes in the text box. The app calculates the accuracy rate and words per minute.

The best part is, you can listen to the recording if you missed anything! The app stores all the student records in digital folders you create, but you can also export or share them as pdf files. I. LOVE. IT. It really is a time-saver… and a paper-saver!

Here is a snapshot of one of my pdf exports. It’s not the full document, but it gives you an idea of what the record looks like.



I use this app on my iPad in conjunction with my Google Doc anecdotal notes forms. I originally got the idea for using Google Docs from Think * Share * Teach. This blogger has a great tutorial for setting up your own forms and gives examples of features you can include. Once you have the “live form” ready to go, you can bookmark it so it opens right from your iPad home screen. One click and the form opens up for me to use with any student I read with. Here’s what the bookmark looks like (it almost looks like an app, right?):


All forms are linked to a response spreadsheet where the information I submit on the form automatically gets input into the columns. Whenever I need to (and wherever I am!), I can quickly access this cloud-based document. It’s perfect for sorting, tracking, and sharing my student data.

I included a sample of both forms I use, as well as a sample response spreadsheet below:

Sample 1:1 Reading Conference Form

Sample 1:1 Small Group Anecdotal Form

Sample Response Spreadsheet


Reading conferences and informal records have become MUCH easier with the Record of Reading app and my Google Doc forms. I have the Google Drive app so that I can easily access all my student data spreadsheets.


How do you use iPads or Google Docs for reading conferences, assessment, or anecdotal forms? Please leave a comment on this post or share on my Facebook page! I would LOVE to collect some new resources to try out this year. 🙂

Happy Teaching!



%d bloggers like this: