High Five the First Days is a series of blog posts aimed at new teachers, or teachers just looking for ideas or reminders. The purpose is to help in the establishment of a solid foundation on which you can build an awesome school year. This is by no means a definitive list. The best way to fully prepare for the year ahead is read as much as possible, open your mind, commit to the idea of change, and to proactively seek out experienced colleagues willing to share their best practices. Hopefully, the ideas below will be one of the steps on your road to awesomeness! Hi 5!
My colleague Mike Kaufman and I were sitting around thinking about a better way to introduce ourselves/provide useful info to parents and students in preparation for the upcoming school year.
And we actually came up with something cool.
We thought about posters outside the office – one for every teacher in the school. These posters would contain the teacher’s photo and basic/necessary info on it.
Then, we took it to the next level: what if we included a QR code on the poster? What if this QR code took users to a YouTube video – a video with the teacher introducing themself and outlining all the essential information a new parent or student would need to know about their class?
The first thing we did was test the idea. Both Mike and I had used QR codes that year for various activities. For instance, I used them for some scavenger hunt activities.
First, how do these codes work? QR, or Quick Response, codes were developed in Japan for use in the automobile industry. A QR code, when read by a QR code reader (a free, downloadable app), will take the smartphone user to a website. Which website? Any one you choose. To make the link, you need to use a QR code generator. There are tons of free generators available online. And, they are SO easy to use. Just type QR Code Generator into Google. Once you have your code generator selected, just cut and paste your website URL into it. The generator will create a unique QR code that, when clicked on with the reader app, will take the user to the site you selected.
It sounds kind of silly. Why use a code? Why not just give the user the URL and have them enter it themselves? Good questions. First, clicking on a code is WAY easier than typing in an URL – especially complicated URLs like those on YouTube. Next, I have always been big on surprises and QR codes hide the identity of the URL/website. Plus, the codes themselves are irresistible – they are mysterious and are like gateways to random and exciting places.
So, we whipped together some videos and then linked them to QR codes. Then we put them on posters and put them outside the MS office. We asked some colleagues, who had QR code apps on their phones, to try out the links. They worked like a charm.
Then, we showed our posters to our principal. He LOVED the idea. He is a real visionary and immediately envisioned a poster board with QR posters for all MS teachers, organized by grade level. Our only concern was getting all our colleagues on board and up-to-speed with these codes. Mike and I volunteered to showcase the idea to the staff before school started, complete with QR code instructions.
Mike and I think that these posters are an intriguing and fun way to communicate important information to parents and students. We would LOVE to hear what you think!