A QR Code Grammar Activity for the ESL Classroom

Mar 22nd, 2014 | By | Category: In the Classroom, Intensive English Programs
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Ixchell Reyes

Ixchell Reyes


—Book drills can make class time boring and monotonous, especially when practicing grammar concepts. Creating fresh and engaging activities for English learners helps students find meaningful connection to the concepts learned in class (Jensen, 2000). Thankfully, as technological advances bring about a myriad of educational web and mobile applications, teachers can incorporate these to enrich common classroom activities and to adapt the usual assignments for better student interaction.image of a QR code

QR Codes were developed in Japan to track car parts as they were shipped around to manufacturing companies (QRCode.com, n.d.). They’ve recently popped up in our advertisements and social media pages. Some are using it on their business cards or résumés. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before teachers began embedding information for their students using a fresh, new medium.

A group of students playing with QR codesThe QR Code has given me another strategy to implement in my ESL classroom. Students of various levels have given me positive feedback, which encouraged me to share this idea with other teachers. For more information on using QR codes, check out Karen Mensing’s (2013) Ted-Ed video here.

Please note that as with all manipulative materials, apps should also be carefully introduced to students, as not doing this properly might increase the likelihood of frustration and confusion. Give students some time to get to know their QR Reader app. For best results, have students download a free QR Reader a day before the assignment.

Adverbs-of-Time Grammar Activity

  1. Take 6-8 events with different times or dates for each. Make a QR code for each event.Close-up view of students working with QR codes
  2. Print and cut out the codes (glue on index cards for future use).
  3. Make duplicate codes and mix them up.
  4. Tape the QR codes around the room and pair up students.
  5. Tell students that they are to walk around with their partner to gather clues about an incident that happened.
  6. Once they have gathered all the clues, they will narrate what happened using adverb clauses in a paragraph.
  7. Encourage pairs to collaborate to write a creative paragraph by saying the class will vote on the top 3.
  • Assign paragraph for homework and ask students to read their paragraphs in small groups.
  • Ask students to type up their paragraphs and submit them the next day. Teacher can make editing assignments based on the paragraphs submitted.
  • Instead of adverb clauses of time, use cause-and-effect clauses, adjective clauses, or noun clauses.
  • Make QR codes out of the students’ final paragraphs and ask them to edit a paragraph of their choice as a group.

Free Resources

Online QR Code Generators
Phone App QR Code Readers


History of QR code. QRCode.com. Retrieved from http://www.qrcode.com/en/history/

Jensen, E. (2000). Brain-based learning and teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Mensing, K. (2013, June 20). The magic of QR codes [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRgWRXFXLQs


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