Neosho Rapids 5th grade teacher Jennifer Anderson was looking for a way to engage her students in learning and settled on student created mini-mysteries. Her students were doing a study on Kansas symbols and decided to create an interactive code game for the rest of the school. Andersons’ students researched Kansas and included interesting findings in QR codes using the website http://goqr.me.
A large piece of paper with "Kansas Facts" was mounted to the outside of the classroom door. The QR codes were cut out and pasted on the paper along with the word/phrase that the code contained. A word bank was located on the bottom of the paper. 5th graders invited other classrooms to use the QR code application on their iPods to break the code. After the code was revealed, the students matched the Kansas keyword to its appropriate code.
Gennifer Birk, 5th grade teacher at Olpe elementary has been utilizing ideas from the book, Students Taking Charge: Inside the Learner-Active, Technology-Infus..., currently being reviewed by the TRC book study. With State Assessments looming, she wanted to help prepare her students. She likes to use centers to help review information that has been covered. Sulla’s idea of presenting students with a "virtual how-to" (Chapter 6) really stood out to her as being a useful tool. She picked some of the topics that her students struggled with the most and created videos using the iPad app Explain Everything.
The app allowed her to write and talk at the same time, so her students were able to see what to do while she was explaining it. After creating the video she pushed it to the students' Evernote account on their iPods so that they could watch it when needed. This helped differentiate learning for those students who understood a specific topic could move on and those that needed the extra help could watch the mini-lesson to help with understanding. If they still needed additional help, they could schedule a small group session with the teacher.