Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Using Padlet, QR Codes and iPads, Oh My!

We use padlet.com (formerly, Wallwisher) a lot in my room.  We have used it to show our learning at the end of a unit of study, we used it for the Global Read Aloud this past year and invited other classes to comment on the book Charlotte's Web, and we have created a wonder wall to write down our wonders during the day.

Today, we used it a little differently.  I am currently teaching my students about identifying explicit information in non fiction.  I chose the book Frogs by Gail Gibbins to model this strategy because I knew my students would like the topic and that some would have some background knowledge on frogs.  

I wanted to start with a KWL chart, however, in grade 1 many of my students get restless before we get the K finished..... I have used sticky notes for the chart, where the students write what they know about the topic and stick it to the chart but by the next day, many of the stickies are laying on the floor or I end up taping the sticky notes to the chart because my students have played with them so much that they don't have any stickiness left!

I was on the internet and found an idea on www.technologytailgate.com using padlet and QR codes to create a digital KWL chart.  It was a fantastic idea!  My students are comfortable using padlet and we use QR codes all of the time with our iPads.

I created three different walls on padlet, one for What I KNOW about Frogs, one for What I WANT to know about frogs and the third one was for What I LEARNED about frogs.  I then created a QR code that would take you to the wall when you scanned it.  I made a KWL chart and glued the QR codes onto the chart.

I explained what we were doing to my students, they got their iPads and partnered up with another student (We have 20 iPads and I team teach with another teacher, so there are 40 students) and they scanned the QR code for the What I KNOW wall.  I would suggest having more than one QR code to scan because I had 2 and it took a couple of minutes for everyone to scan it.

I loved doing the KWL chart this way!  All of the students contributed to the chart and everyone was ENGAGED!  No squirming on the carpet, no one waiting forever to be called on to add to the chart, they were all adding and reading the chart in real time. (I also had the wall projected, so the kids could  see it on the big screen.)  Students were making connections to other students, saying, "I have the same schema as Annalyse or I know that tadpoles ride on the dad's back because I read it in a book yesterday."

We then moved onto the W part of the chart.  Students again went up and scanned the QR code and started typing what they wanted to learn about frogs.  On padlet you have 2 choices on the layout.  Free form where you can place your comment or question anywhere you want or stream where the posts are placed one below the other.  We tried the stream for the second wall but because the stream kept moving we had to change it to free form because my students kept losing their spot when they began to type.

This entire activity took about 35 minutes, I had planned to start my lesson about identifying explicit information and reading the Gail Gibbons book but my students wanted to continue to add their prior knowledge and what they wanted to learn about frogs until it was time to go outside!  (You know your lesson was a hit when your students don't want the lesson to end!)

Tomorrow I will finish my lesson and the students will complete the last wall about what they have LEARNED.

I don't think we will be doing another KWL chart on chart paper anymore....


  1. Wow! This is amazing for grade one learners. I learn so much from you and your blog posts...please don't stop sharing! Now to find out more about padlet.com Thanks, Louise

  2. Thanks for sharing this idea! I agree with Louise: it's amazing what your Grade 1 students are doing, and you're inspiring me to try some new things with my Grade 6's. I haven't used QR codes a lot -- largely because I didn't see the purpose of them -- but you've helped show me a purpose. This same type of activity would be a great one to do in the Junior classroom.

    How did you meet the needs of your struggling learners? Did you work with them in a guided group, or did you pair them up accordingly? I'm considering both options here and would love to know your thoughts. Thanks!


  3. Love this idea. I have just started to use Padlet and this adds another dimension to it. Thank you.