QR Code Listening Center
My room is much smaller than most primary classrooms. I see pictures of classrooms with reading lofts, dress up stations, play kitchens and multiple art easels and I feel envious of all the space. My room is big enough for a few tables, chairs and three book shelves. I do what I can to make the most of it though.
I do have a CD player where students can sit and listen to books on CD. It is on a wheeled cart so the “listening center” moves depending on the space we need each day. It doesn't get used much though. Not since I started my QR code listening center, that is. Students use our iPads to scan QR codes on the books they want to listen to that day during our Reading Block. They can sit at the tables or on the floor. They can sit near a friend or on their own. This works for my small space since there doesn't have to be a designation “listening center.” It also works for my students who might want to lay down, lean against a cupboard or sit at a table to read. Often when they sit in front of the CD player they have to balance a book on their laps and stay awkwardly close to the machine because of the short spiral cords on the headphones intended for the CD player. Since our iPads have headphones with a longer cord and smaller ear muffs the kids would rather use them. Let's face it though, they would rather use the iPad for just about anything! That is the beauty of this device!
I started by choosing a few books from my classroom library and recording myself reading them. I used an app on the iPad called SoundCloud to record myself reading. This app allows me to post my recording as public to their companion web page www.soundcloud.com
I have a free account on the site that will hold all of my recordings.
After recording the audio I can copy a link for my recording and use www.qrstuff.com to create and print a free QR code. I tape the code to the cover of the book and put the book in a special basket in our classroom library where I am keeping all of the books students can listen to during the Reading Block. Students use an app called I-Nigma to scan the QR code. It will take them to my account page on the SoundCloud site. If I have made the recording public they will be able to press the play button and listen as they follow along in the book.
I figured the kids would get tired of hearing me read all of the books all of the time so I went on the search for other audio recordings for the book in our library. I discovered the Pete the Cat series by Eric Litwin website has audio for all of the books in the series! http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/feature/petethecat/
I had a couple of those books so I created at code for that website. I used Scholastic bonus points to order the rest of the books in the series.
I still needed more sources so I asked the teachers in my building for help. A few of them visited my room after school and recorded an audio book for me. This added an element of surprise for the kids. They never know who will be reading the book when they scan the code!
My goal is to have a QR code on every book in our classroom library! So far I have about 10 books so it will be a while before I meet that goal! I try to record a couple new books a week.