Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Tutorial on Adding a Voice Recording to Your QR Codes

Each summer when I got my class list I would begin to handwrite a postcard for every single one of my students. My kids LOVED getting mail from their future teacher. 
For many students, it was the first time ever for them to actually receive ANY mail! I strongly believe that this helps to build relationships with students and parents before the year even begins! You can read my previous post about Building Relationships Before School Starts
I recently shared an idea over on my Instagram page about adding a QR code to the postcards you send to students. When students scan the QR code on the postcard, they will hear a recording of their teacher reading the note to them. I had lots of questions on how to add your voice to a QR code so I am here to share that today!

The first thing you will need to do is download a voice recording app to your phone. The app that I used is called Voice Record Pro and it was free from the app store!

Next,  go ahead an open up the app and simply record your message! When you're done recording save your file to Google Drive.

Once you've saved your voice recording, you'll need to log in to your Google Drive to grab the URL. Here's a quick video to show you how!

Once you have your URL, you'll want to go to a QR Code Generator Website. Simply paste in your URL and then click generate QR Code. Once it's generated you can either download the code or take a screenshot of it (like I did in the video above).

Last but not least, you'll need to add your QR code as an image into your Powerpoint file. :)

My Back to School Postcards are now fully editable. Included in this file is a PDF that you can print from if you choose to handwrite your cards. 

Also included is a PowerPoint file. In this file, you can write messages to each of your students by adding a textbox and typing out your message. I have also added blank copies of EACH postcard type so that you can add in your own textbox and customize the saying on the front of each postcard. There is a total of 16 different image options for you to customize with your own text. 


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Easiest Classroom Library Checkout System

If you're anything like me, I've changed my class library checkout system quite a bit over the years. I could never quite find something that worked well, that students followed through with and that was simple. 

Today, I've finally FORCED myself to sit down and write this post. I've been wanting to share my checkout system here on the blog for the past few years...but just haven't made the time to write a post. This is the simplest system EVER and I would never go back to any other system I've used before.

Traditional class library checkout systems didn't work for me for various reasons. One of the classic systems, placing a shelf maker in the spot you borrowed a book from did not work for me because I wanted my students checking multiple books out at one time.  I also tried having them fill out a class library log, but only a handful of students filled it out consistently and accurately. Not to mention, it was just too much of a headache to constantly monitor (especially that returned column). 
The second best system that I had was when I used Classroom Booksource. 
Image from Book Source. 
I blogged about that here. When I first used it back in 2012, it was really new. Now that it's been around awhile, I'm sure it is much more user friendly and easy to use. What I liked about using this site was I had an inventory of ALL my books. All I needed to do was scan the barcode on each book. Students would log into their account and check books out. This was good because I could see what books I had on hand as well as who had a book checked out if I wanted to use it for a lesson. I could also figure out who the missing book on the floor belonged to when nobody in the class would claim it lol. 

Although this system worked well for me, my students did sometime run into issues where they couldn't find a book they were checking out in the system. It was also time consuming for students and the setup was SUPER time consuming for me. It took me forever to get my entire class library uploaded into that database. 
All you need for this NEW and IMPROVED checkout system is a phone/iPad/tablet, books, and kids. 

You good?!
I had a rotating schedule on when students could bookshop. 

Each day of the week, a different colored group would get to book shop first thing in the morning. They were allowed to choose 4 books and would keep those books in their book bags until the next time their book shopping day came around (the following week). Once they chose their books, they would simply come up to me, spread their books out and I would snap a photo of them on my phone.

Even if I was in the middle of something, it took less than 5 seconds for me to snap their photo and delete their picture from the previous week. This system allowed me to see who had what book and monitor what was checked out.

 If a kid wanted to keep one of the same books and get a few new ones the following week, they would just choose their new books and come to get their picture taken as normal. If they wanted to keep all their books, they would just come and let me know and I would keep their old photo.
Because I only had a few students shopping each day, it was totally manageable. I could also see this working as a class job. 


Another thing that helps this system work seamlessly is by having an organized classroom library. This ensures that students can quickly and easily find books that they're interested in. I have all of my library books in bins and they are organized by favorite authors, popular book series, and genre. It makes it easy for my students to find books that they like and they can also quickly put back the books they are retuning (books are labeled so that students know what bins to return them to).

Click here to check out the labels that I use to organize my library AND snag the free labels that go along with this organizational system.

Are you just starting out building your classroom library? You may be interested in this post where I share Ideas on Expanding Your Class Library on a Teacher Budget.

If you decide to try this system out, I'd love to hear about how it's working for you and your students. Feel free to leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram @Teachinginparadise :) 

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