Tag Archives: qr codes

Beneficial or Bogus? Seeking Valid & Reliable Supporting Evidence: Lesson Plan

I am beginning a scientific investigative journalism inquiry project with my students this month and the final project will be an annotated bibliography and feature article. As we embark on the features of a nonfiction investigative journalism piece, the topic of valid and reliable supporting evidence is at the forefront.

Essential Questions:

  1. How can you tell if a resource contains valid information?
  2. How can you determine the saliency of information?

Objectives (KUDoS) By the end of this lesson, students should:


  • Saliency = the most important, relevant information
  • Self-reliance = depending on one’s self
  • The steps to composing a persuasive speech (Prior Lesson)
  • Types of supporting evidence include: testimony, statisitic, fact, and example (Prior lesson reinforced in this lesson)


  • The importance of supporting an idea with ample examples of valid evidence
  • The importance of skimming information to filter the most important facts
  • How to check the validity of a source


  • Analyze the saliency of information
  • Skim articles to identify relevant details to support a thesis
  • Locate a valid resource from the internet



Anticipatory Set: DO NOW

How do you know if information you’ve been told is valid? How do you know what to believe?

Write your response on the post-it notes and post your response on the SmartBoard.

Teacher will read some of student responses with the large class. Questions to further discussion and student thinking: “When researching a topic, how do you know if the information you find is valid?”

Instructional Activity: Station Activity

I. Students will travel to three different QR Codes in order to find evidence to support the supplied thesis/claim. Each QR Code links to an article, video or website for the students to draw out support material (evidence, testimony, statistics, etc). Students will complete a support material research chart as they evaluate each piece of evidence. In addition, students will assess the validity and benefits of QR Code. The articles of information have already been selected by the teacher to assess students’ abilities to judge reliable and valid research documents.

Students will use the 2-D graphic organizer to record their findings from the QR Codes they visit.

Selected Articles, Videos & Websites:

Source 1 – Does Video Game Violence Make Teens Aggressive?

Source 2 – Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?

Souce 3 – 10 Ways Video Games Can Help or Harm Your Brain from the Huffington Post

Source 4 – Video Game Revolution – The two computers in the classroom will post this website for students to read through the myths about video games. The article was written by a MIT professor debunking the myths about video game violence

Source 5 – This article has no specific information on video game violence but is about the teenage brain. This article is being used to see if students can decifer that this article has no specific connection to the thesis.

Source 6 – The pros and cons of video games. There are many statistics and additional links on the website from this debate website.

Source 7 – Onion Network Video “Are Violent Videos Preparing Adolescents for Apocalypse”

II. After students have had the opportunity to find support material examples from the various stations, students will find a partner who utilized the same sources to discuss and confirm their findings.

III. In large class discussion reflect on student findings.

Questions to ask:

Which research sources were beneficial to finding support material? How do you know?
Did any one find invalid research? What lead you to conclude it was invalid?

IV. One the back of students’ research charts they are to list three ways to validate a resource (exit slip).

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Revolution, Revolt & Rebellion: What’s the difference?

My students are finishing up their dystopian fiction unit. My eighth graders had a choice to read The Giver by Lois Lowry, Animal Farm by George Orwell, or Unwind by Neil Shusterman. Throughout the dystopian literature unit students met weekly in literature groups to go deep and zoom in a particular text. When we got together as a large class we zoomed out to look at the larger themes, ideas, and concepts presented among all three of the texts.

This is the lesson that I prepared for my students, and my principal since she was joining the class for my formal observation.

The Essential Questions:  What role does rebellion, revolt, and revolution play in dystopian fiction?

How does the protagonist react to the repressive aspects of the dystopian society presented in the novel?



Objectives: By the end of the lesson student will be able to (KUDos)


  • The negative aspects of the dystopian world presented in their dystopian text.
  • Rebellion and revolt are synonymous. Meaning 1. an effort by many people to change the government or leader or a country by the use of protest or violence; 2. open opposition toward a person or group in authority; 3. refusal to obey rules or accept normal standards of behavior. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rebellion)
  • Revolution as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary means: the violent attempt by many people to end the rule of one government and start a new one.


  • Dystopian fictions show a fine line between the idea and the repressive.
  • The protagonist in dystopian literature is a figurehead of rebellion who questions the existing social and political systems presented in the dystopian text.
  • Most dystopian literature presents a world in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a utopian society are maintained through different controls.


  • Use Smart phones to access pictures and videos using i-Nigma QR Code reader app
  • Make inferences based on images of revolutions.
  • Define rebellion, revolution, and revolt and apply these definitions to their dystopian literature.
  • Draw connections between revolutions in history and popular culture to the dystopian literature.
  • Identify the ideal and repressive elements in the dystopian literature that lead to acts of rebellion in the texts by completing a graphic organizer in small groups.



Part 1 – Do Now:  Upon entering the class students will be asked to answer the following questions on paper:

How you would define the word revolution? How would you distinguish a revolution from a civil war, an uprising, a rebellion or revolt, or a protest or demonstration? What examples from history illustrate your ideas?

Part 2 – Hook: Before we share our thoughts and ideas, students will choose two of the six QR codes posted around the room to scan on their smart phones. The QR Codes allow the students  to view an array of images and video in history and popular culture presenting rebellion, revolutions, and revolts. These images include: The Boston Tea Party, The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during WWII, tearing down the Berlin Wall, Riots in Tehran, a scene from The Hunger Games, and Napoleon’s take over in France, 1789.  Students will look at the picture, read the caption, and make inferences about the images. Students are asked to record the image and date of the image on their Do Now Handout and then write a brief description of the image presented. Students are using critical thinking skills, visual literacy skills, and background information, to determine whether the event is a rebellion, revolt, or revolution.

Debrief Part 1 & Part 2:   Students will come back to their seats to share some of their working definitions of revolution, revolt, and rebellion. Ideas will be catalogued on the SmartBoard. Students will apply their definitions to the images from the QR Codes.  The teacher will post the pictures on the SmartBoard for students to share their responses and inferences. This debriefing will allow students to revise their definitions and create a whole class definition for: revolution, rebellion, and revolt.

Part 3 – Interactive Notebooks: Students will cut and glue an interactive foldable on Rebellion in Dystopian Literature into their English notebook. During this time the teacher will walk around the classrooms to check in with the different groups and support any students with special needs or questions.

Part 4 – Synthesis: Students will get into their small groups based on their book choices to complete the chart in their notebook applying what they know and learned about rebellion, revolt, and revolution to their dystopian book. In small groups students will identify the ideal and repressive aspects of their dystopian society and ways in which rebellion, revolt, and revolution play in their dystopian novels. During this time the teacher will walk around the classrooms to check in with the different groups and support any students with special needs or questions.

Part 5 – Closure: Students will complete the exit ticket that allows them to write one statement about what they learned today and one question that still remains. These handouts will be collected and used for formative assessment.  

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I Heart Interactive Foldables: A Symbolism Flip Book

I love taking lessons taught in previous years and turning them into a complex foldable for my students’ English Interactive Notebooks. The Interactive Notebooks are a used for all notes and important information about reading and writing. The foldables allow for students to interact with the information, help understand the content thoroughly, and apply what they learned during activities and assessments. 

This week  we are finishing one of our core texts, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I wanted to address symbolism in the novel.  Rather than present a Prezi or give my students a worksheet, I created a mini symbolism flip book with the different types of symbolism throughout the novel.  And because I don’t just want my students copying my notes directly into their notebooks,I added QR codes on a few pages of the flip book for students to search the symbolic elements and their meanings from the text.






The flip book addresses symbolism of names, animals, and elements in nature.  The elements in nature cover the seasons, plants and trees, and fire.  I added the image of the bird on the front of the flip book for an added effect suggesting the title of the text and the symbolic nature of birds throughout the novel. 

The Common Core Learning Standards require that students be able to determine the meaning of symbols and literary devices when discussing a text. This lesson helps students understand the meaning of symbols throughout the text and read about their significance and order to understand Harper Lee’s intentions, deeper meaning, and themes. 

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10 Ways to Use Mobile Devices in Your Classroom Tomorrow

This past month I was asked by my principal to present at our faculty meeting some ideas about using mobile devices in the classroom.  Since 99% of the teachers I work with have a mobile phone, I presented ten different ideas teachers can use mobile phones as a learning and teaching tool in the classroom.  At the beginning of the meeting I asked all faculty members to brainstorm the ways that they use their mobile device on a daily basis.  We acquired a long list that ranged from texting and taking photos to updating their Facebook page and talking on the phone.  Our list then led me into talking about how we can use our mobile devices as teaching tools.  Below are ten different ideas I shared for any content area.

1. Poll Everywhere – Students can use their mobile device to take a poll or survey.

2. Video Exit Slip – Rather than ask students to write down three things they learned, as students are leaving the classroom, video record (using a cell phone or ipad) student responses to a particular question.

3. Photograph Student Work – A great way to document student learning, you can use your phone to take pictures of student projects and then post them on a class blog or Wiki.  I took pictures of my students’ projects and then put all the photos together in a slide show using Animoto.

4. Audio Recordings – Have student record their small group discussions or oral presentation.  One idea that was shared with me at a workshop was having Spanish students create their own short telanovelas (Spanish Language Soap Operas) and then post them onto a classroom blog.  Students can also listen to podcasts on their phones.

5. QR Code Questsqr code activity

6. Digital Scavenger Hunts – Similar to QR Code Quests, a cellphone can be used to create a virtual scavenger hunt, sending students clues that they have to complete or comprehend to complete an activity.

7. More with Photos & Video – Students can use their cameras to document science experiments or images from a field trip and then catalogue them on a classroom Flickr account.

8. – Evernote – If you are someone who likes to capture things that you want to remember or use later, Evernote lets you snap photos, record some audio, and save it in one place.  You can also share your notes with others so it is great for comparing and compiling data for a classroom project.

9. Cel.ly  – There are many online tools that send text messages to subscribers reminding students about homework assignments or projects.  This tool can help students stay organized and offer reminders for students who need a nudge.

10. Twitter – Whether it is for a teacher’s personal use or classroom back channel, Twitter is one of my top three among social media that I use on a daily basis.  Students can use Twitter for posting quick thoughts, questions, or reactions to class room assignments and readings.

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QR Code Quest on Woodstock in 1969

So I have been glued to my computer lately preparing for the summer school classes I am teaching on both the college level and for my middle school students.  I have been afforded some time to get in some work for the upcoming school year creating technology fun assignments for my students like the QR Code Quest.  After reading an engaging article in the June issue of ISTE’s Learning & Leading, I was inspired to create my own.

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