#Hour of Code

Computer Science Education Week a.k.a. the Hour of Code kicked off today!  Last year 15 million students participated in the Hour of Code, and this year the goal is to get 100 million students worldwide to do an Hour of Code by the end of the year!  Here’s a little intro video from Code.org if you’re unfamiliar with what The Hour of Code is all about.  

I fully support their philosophy that every 21st-century student should have the opportunity to learn computer science.  If you’ve never tried coding before, Code.org is a great place to start.  It offers a variety of self-guided tutorials from kindergarten up featuring Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, and even Frozen!  Here are a couple of my cuties working on an Angry Birds maze sequence.

There’s no prep work required of the teacher, except maybe showing one of these videos to get your students motivated.  I personally love the inspirational message from President Barack Obama.

After learning the basics from Code.org, I let my students experiment with the free app Scratch Jr. today.  They had a blast programming their characters to move, jump, dance, and even talk.  If you’re lucky enough to have iPads, I’d definitely recommend this app for little ones!

Happy coding!

QRazy About QR Codes Guest Blogger

I’m so excited to be doing a guest blogging exchange today with Tabitha from Flapjack Educational Resources.  Tabitha may be the only person I know that's QRazier than I am.;)  Enjoy her post!

Hey, ya'll! I am so happy Kristin has given me the opportunity to collaborate with her on our love of QR codes in the classroom. My blog is FlapJack Educational Resources and be sure to check out Kristin's post there. We also are giving away our best upper elementary QR code resources to a special winner, so check that out at the end of the post!

Here are some ways I've incorporated QR codes in my 4th grade math classroom:


In this simple game, students have fun while also self-checking each other and practicing important math skills. This game practices identifying prime numbers and you can grab it for free here.




I have also created some self-checking worksheets that keep students engaged and motivated. The self-checking aspect of QR codes allows students to self-assess and also saves me a lot of time in checking their progress.


However, putting QR codes together on worksheets can really get in the way of the codes' scan-ability. I've created QR code blockers to help remedy that problem. You can download the above worksheet and the QR code blockers for free here.


Task Cards

I love creating QR code task cards and doing "Solve the Room" type activities. Kristin Kennedy's task cards are a favorite of mine. These long division cards I've created can be found for free here.


How does "Solve the Room" work? You place cards around the walls of your classroom, preferably in number order. I used the Stikki Clips found at Amazon to easily place and remove cards. Students take their math journals and solve the problems around the room, going in whichever order they choose. Recording sheets and clipboards can also be used. My kids usually work in partners because we do not have devices for every student.

I actually purchased some used iPods with my own money and I have found these pantyhose organizers at Amazon to be a super way to store them. I just sliced holes in the backs of each pocket to run the cables through to a power strip filled with charging cables.

QR Code Jenga

 We love using Jenga to practice math facts and such, so I also created some fraction QR code labels to adhere to Jenga blocks. Students must answer the problem correctly before stacking the block or pulling it out once the tower is constructed. Grab this freebie here.



Class Memories QR Code Frame

I created an Evernote list with all of our class videos I had created throughout the year. I connected the Evernote to a QR code and added it to this framed portrait for students to scan and watch our memories videos in their free time. You can find instructions and the free frame template at my YouTube channel.



Class Website QR Code Business Card

At the beginning of the year, I created a QR code business card magnet to gift to parents. Since QR codes are becoming more and more popular, many people have the app to scan them, and it's a great way to increase parent communication. It also gave a heads-up to parents that we will be using QR codes a lot in our classroom. You can see how to create your own here.


Student-Created Tutorials

I had some of my students create a demo video with the educreations app on how to do lattice multiplication. I then created QR codes of the videos in poster format for the rest of the class to scan and learn from their peers. You can find more detailed instructions here.


Multiplication QR Code Posters

Students created their own multiplication problems and their own QR answers. I displayed them on a wall and had the students solve each others problems and self-check by scanning the QR codes. See more instructions here.



QR Code Checkers

If you have a checkers game lying around, you can turn it into a fun QR code math center. I have created labels for practicing mental math skills and finding the GCF and LCD. Grab the free labels here.



QR Code Behavior Coupons

I don't know when I will stop using these coupons. Students continue to love them year after year. All you have to do is print out the squares, mix them up in a container, and allow students to randomly choose one. They don't know what they'll get until they scan it. Then they write their name and what it was on the back and save it until they're ready to use it. Most of the rewards do not cost anything. Grab the free English version here and the Spanish version here.


You can find more freebies, tutorials, and resources at my QR Code Classroom Craze page.

And be sure to stop by my blog to see all of Kristin's super QR code classroom ideas!

And now for the giveaway! Kristin and I have put together our top upper-elementary QR code resources into one big bundle! If you win, you'll receive all of the following (click on each to see more details):





The giveaway ends Saturday, December 13th, at midnight EST. Enter now for a chance to win a ton of QR code classroom fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free Place Value Apps and Activities for iPads

We recently wrapped up our place value unit and I finally have time to blog about some of my favorite FREE apps and activities we used throughout the unit.  
Free Place Value Apps
Number Duel is a fun and simple app for practicing greater than/less than.  Students tap the larger number to score a point—with the goal being to score 21 points.  They lose three points for every wrong answer, which encourages them to take their time and focus on accuracy.  My students that needed an extra challenge played the version with sums rather than just numbers.

The Number Math app covers several skills including greater than/less than, before/after, missing number, arrange in order, rounding, and skip counting.  The feature I like most about this app is that it can be customized depending on your students’ abilities.  For example, the student in the picture below is playing “Missing Number” with two-digit numbers.  I was able to have my higher students play this same game with three-digit numbers right away. 

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Factory app, students must ship and deliver cookies to their customers as fast as possible.  The cookies are sold by ones, stacks of ten, or in boxes of 100.  Students look at the number in the upper left and tap the correct number of cookies to match the order.  The counting version was perfect when we were starting out, but some students moved onto the addition version (pictured below), which helps build the foundation for multi-digit addition.

Even though we haven’t gotten into the thousands, I really like the Math Bugs app.  Students create bugs with the specified number of wings, antennae, etc. based on the place value of the given digits.  There’s no pressure of a time limit and my kiddos love collecting gold coins when they answer correctly. 

Math Slide is super engaging and can be played with up to four players at a time.  Because we love a little friendly competition in my classroom, this app is our current favorite.  Students slide tiles to the center to match the answer, equation, or image (i.e. base 10 blocks or number line).  The player that slides all of their tiles first wins.  There are 10 different games within this app and games 1 and 10 can be played an unlimited number of times using the free version.  (The skills for each of the 10 games are listed in the iTunes Description here.)

I know I’ve mentioned my love for Popplet on here before, but this was my first time using it in math.  My students chose a number to build with base ten blocks and took a picture of it.  
Then I had them create “popples” of their number in standard, expanded, and word form.  I think it was helpful for them to have a visual of the various ways to represent a number all in one place. 

In addition to all of these engaging apps, we had ourselves a little QR code fun as well.  My kiddos had a blast with this FREE base 10 block QR code scavenger hunt. 

They also had a blast with my new Blasting Off With Place Value Centers.
And in case you missed it, I recently blogged about our mystery number interactive QR code bulletin board we completed last week.  You can grab the free template by clicking on my original post here. 
Update: I now have a new set of place value task cards in a digital format that you can use with Google Classroom. Check it out here.