Sunday, August 17, 2014

10 Things to do with QR Codes On Back to School Night

Inspired by a recent blog post by the amazing Richard Byrne I wanted to add a few more things to the list I wrote 3 years ago how to use QR Codes to connect with students, parents, and the community on Back to School Night and during the school year. Some of these ideas include examples, links to free downloadables, and graphics that you can snag & use in your school.  I've also updated my popular How to Create a QR Code in 3 Easy Steps Infographic comic tutorial to help out!
FREE Webinar! 
Also, don't miss the big announcement at the end of this blog post about a FREE #TLChat Virtual Cafe webinar - Back to School Special: Open Mic Edition and a FREE Back to School Night PowerPoint you can download and share with your teachers!  This is going to be a crowdsourced presentation where we invite you to add your ideas & slides and virtually "step up to the mic" to share with our PLN!

Set the Stage: Have Parents Download the QR Code Scanning App!
In preparation for BTSN I posted on our school digital newspaper Murray Messages:

QR Codes Hit the Hill!

"We embrace mobile media here at MHMS. Proof of which you’ll see in cool black and white when you visit us for Back to School Night! Have a smart phone? Be ready & download a QR code scanner app! We really like the FREE iNigma QR code reader available in both Droid, iPhone, or iPad versions. You’ll see several QR Codes around the building guiding you to different helpful websites (and maybe a secret message or two!) – be ready to scan! Want to learn more about QR Codes? Check out this handy Infographic Comic Tutorial

Now to the list! 
1. Post a QR Code to your teacher blog, website or wikipage!
A while back I created a QR Code Tree that hasd all the important QR Codes for our school, last year I designed a QR Code Pocket - This was an easy way for teachers to share with parents on Back to School Night.
I've also created blank ones for you to download & insert your own QR Codes on top using MS Word, PicMonkey, or Photoshop. Everything I make is Creative Commons - so you can freely take, use, & share!

2. Post a QR Code to a Google Form or Document. 
Just make sure you've set sharing permissions to "anyone with the link" and test it out beforehand - send it to a friend to try out! Or better yet, embed that Google form on a wiki or webpage and make the QR code from that URL! Scan the code on the left to give it a whirl!

3. Create a QR Homework Helpers! 
Create a QR code to your school's Research Resources & Databases webpage. If you district doesn't have any, create a web or wikipage called Homework Helpers and gather some together from your local library system & feel free to nab the national sources listed on our wikipage! That way, on Back to School Night parent's will know where to go to help their kiddos with assignments.

4. Calendar events.  
QR Droid's free QR code generator has field for calendar events.

Complete the form to create a QR code for an event. When parents scan the code the event can load in their preferred calendar apps. Don't forget to double check the timezone!
Try it out! Scan the code above to add the #TLChat Cafe Back to School Special: Open Mic Edition FREE Webinar! 
5. QR YouTube Channel 
Upload all the kiddos video projects to your own or the school's YouTube channel Before you get started, secure admin support, make sure you're following your school and district responsible use policy, and/or send home a video/photo release permission slip before posting anything. If the idea of having a YouTube channel still gives you hesitation or it's blocked in your district, why not try a SchoolTube channel? I also have a Vine video channel to share our Vine Video Book Talks!

6:  Virtual Classroom / Library Video Tour or Greeting
Create a video classroom, library,  or school virtual tour!  Post it to your blog, wiki, or webpage -let the kiddos/parents watch it to become familiar with their new environment or send to late arriving kiddos so that they feel more comfortable!
Want to up it a notch?  Create a video without words - just smiling, walking, pointing -show all the important places in the school, etc or think GoPro! Here's my 2008 Flip Cam example. (No laughing at the quality now, k?) Then collaborate with your ESOL (English as a Second Language) or foreign language teacher to have kiddos narrate a script in all the different languages that can be found in your school! Embed on your blog or school webpage and share with your student services department! How cool is that?

7. Flip Your Orientation! 
Record or animate a library or classroom orientation with maybe a tour, expectations, highlights, procedures, and tips! Saves your voice, makes it fun, & you'll know the students get the same message without you maybe forgetting an important point. Post it to your own YouTube channel! Kiddo comes in late, after orientation, send them the link or let them watch it in class! 

8. QR Photo Gallery 
Whether it's Flickr, Picassa, Smugmug (since 05), or some other digital photo hosting site - let the kiddos & parents keep in touch with all the photo fun with an online gallery!

9. QR Contact information
Fill in the short form under "contact" on QR Droid's free QR code generator, or the MeCard on QR Code Monkey and the code created will give parents access to your preferred contact information.

10. QR Business card 
QR Code to your school website - have them handy & pass them out on BTSN - Shows you're a professional - even if you have to buy them yourself. Here's an illustrated blog post on how to create them! 5 Easy Tips to Making Out of This World Mini Moo Business Cards
Here's my updated How to Create a QR Code in 3 Easy Steps again!
My QR Code Related Posts:   
The Daring Librarian: QR Code Loo Reviews & Pocket Videos
The Daring Librarian: Google+ Hangout with QR Codes!
The Daring Librarian: QR Code Scanning for Parents
QR Code Quest: a Library Scavenger Hunt
QR Code AT-A-Glance Comic Tutorial
HOT QR Codes in the Classroom & Library
MSET Conference, Colbert, Crabs, & QR Codes
QR Code Custom Jewelry, Swag  
Library in Your Pocket
Mark your calendars & get some ideas ready to SHARE! We're crowdsourcing the preso this year (our 4th!) swapping great ideas how to make yourself indispensable to your admin & school staff at the beginning of the school year! Add your ideas and slides to day by clicking on our Google Presentation BTSN slidedeck! You will see some slides there from me, Tiff, & Jennifer - we'll trim those down when you add yours - look for the slide that says Your Slide & go for it! Don't forget to sign your slide - by adding your name! How else are we gonna know who to "call up to the mic" during our webinar! Add your Twitter handle to join our PLN! I will follow every single TL who is daring, fierce, and sharing and who and adds a slide!
Sept 8th, 2014
8pm EST
- Webinar Participant Link
Back to School Special Wikipage 

Download a FREE Back to School Night PowerPoint Template to give out to your teachers!

As always, thank you for reading! I'm sure I'll tweak this later - but tomorrow I go back to school and I had to knock this out before that AWESOME cra cra starts!
Cheers! ~Gwyneth

Monday, August 4, 2014

Classroom Cribs! Brain Friendly Learning Spaces

Hello friends! This is a rare *guest post from my amazing friend Erin Klein, and her friends AJ Juliani, & Ben Gilipin about a topic that I find very fascinating! I've always had a obsession about interior design and decorating.
Teacher Librarians...what are our classrooms? Our libraries, of course! I also like to call my Daring School Library Media Center an Information Learning Commons...because it's beyond a classroom! ALL these techniques can and should be implemented into the learning areas of our school libraries!  Please keep reading!

Brain Friendly Learning Spaces

AJ Juliani writes: "As we look towards the 2014-2015 school year, one question continually jumps out to me as an educator: How do our learning spaces impact our students?

As a new English teacher I remember getting into my classroom for the first time. I set up the space like classrooms I had seen before; I got my lesson plans in order; packed the filing cabinets with resources; started to make copies of overhead slides; put together an area for reading and stacked the shelves with books I had picked up in college or from my parents house.

Then the students arrived, and all my plans went out the window. I realized very quickly that the type of teaching I had been exposed to and grew up with, and the type of teaching taught at many undergraduate programs…was quickly becoming a past practice. That’s not to say many of the pedagogical and instructional strategies I learned don’t stick with me today (the good ones always will) but these students were different learners than I was…and at the time I was only 22 years old.

Flash forward nine years and the classrooms look very different in my same school district. In the two years since my district began a technology initiative our classrooms have evolved once more. Throughout this process I have tried my best to stay on top of where education is headed and what are the emerging “next” practices. Yet, one area that needs to be improved and is often overlooked is our learning space designs.

How We Design Our Classroom Matters

Brain-based learning theory has been around for a long time, and it has been used to improve the classroom experience in many schools around the world. However, I was shocked how hard it was to find great resources on re-designing learning spaces when I started down the path of re-designing my own school’s learning environment.

Luckily, there are a number of creative and inventive teachers and leaders who have designed their spaces with purpose. In order to share our own work with learning spaces, and the awesome work of others in education, we’ve started a new website:

Classroom Cribs is our hub for “brain friendly learning spaces”. Our mission at Classroom Cribs is to enhance pedagogy and the learning experience with brain-based classroom designs that students will love. And that is the main point. We can (and should) create better learning environments for our students. Spaces that are centered around research and what works.

We recently launched and would love for you to visit and join over 1000 educators who are learning more about learning spaces from our newsletter. And to kick things off, we are starting the first ever “Classroom Cribs Challenge” on August 14th.

Kleinspiration: How-To Set Up Brain-Friendly, Beautiful Learning Spaces! 

The Classroom Cribs Challenge - Starts Aug 14!

Remember MTV Cribs? We thought, what if that same concept of Cribs...met the classroom! From August 14th to September 14th we’ll be running a challenge that anyone can join.

Here’s the details:

1. Rethink your learning space with the student in mind. What changes will enhance the learning experience?

2. Redesign your learning space and show us how you did it: Take pictures and video.

3. Create a 3-min "Cribs" video showing off your new learning space. Include a 250 word (or less) rationale for “why” you made the changes.

4. Submit your video, rationale, and bio to have a chance to be featured on our site and win great prizes!

How to Get Started

Come visit today and join our newsletter. We’ll keep you updated with new articles, videos, and more free design resources sent straight to your inbox. Then when August 14th rolls around, we’d love to see your learning space transformation as part of the Classroom Cribs challenge!"

Erin Klein, Adam Bellow, Nick Provenzano, Benjamin Gilpin & #MACUL13 friends at Slows in Detroit Michigan! What a wonderful night with amazing BBQ stimulating conversations with friends old & new!

Articles Worth Reading:

amazing thoughts from Nick Provenzano 
#NerdySpaces - My Project for 2014-2015
Reflecting On My Current Classroom Setup #NerdySpaces
More Learning Spaces Thoughts #NerdySpaces @Bretford

Transforming Learning Spaces (2 of 2)
Do You Wanna Play? @Jonharper70bd
(I totally stole most of this list from the amazing Ben Gilpin's blog!)

Photo credits:
Classroom Cribs Logo blog header based on a Flicker Creative Commons photo by Dukelyer
& the Classroom Cribs Graphic Designs are by Gwyneth Jones - The Daring Librarian

*About Guest Blog Posts: You Gotta Know Me!
I don't take offers to post on my blog unless I know you personally or you are an active part of my PLN. That means no businesses, startups, grad students, & strangers. Sorry if that sounds really hard lined but I take the "street cred" of this blog seriously! My readers know that my voice is authentic and I can't be bought (Ok, maybe bribed with hoodies & Tropical Skittles but NEVER bought!)  Please don't waste your time emailing me unless you know me, k?


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