QR Codes Pt. 2: Adding QR Codes to Your Handouts

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 5.51.05 PMIt’s been awhile since I wrote QR Codes Part 1, and I wanted to circle back and reflect on ways that I use QR codes in my classroom. 

What are QR codes? I tell my students that QR Codes are like “Portkeys” from Harry Potter. They are portals to online resources. Students can scan the QR codes with their smart phones and access online resources so they can practice concepts or get more information.

Why would you put a QR code on a handout? Let’s say you have a spelling practice sheet. The purpose of this practice page is to help students internalize a particular spelling pattern. However, you know that you have some students who learn spelling best if they hear the word and see the word. To help support all of your learners, you can add a QR code to the practice page that will take them to an online game. (See the photo to the right.)

You can add QR codes to any handout! Perhaps a history handout with QR codes to teacher-approved websites with additional information? A math worksheet with a QR code to a flipped lesson? Or a writing workshop handout with a QR code to your class’s blog page of writing tips (a digital writing center!)? The possibilities are endless.

So how do you create a QR code? Here’s how to create handouts with QR Codes.

  1. First, identify the purpose of your QR Code. Are you interested in attaching an online game to your handout? Perhaps a spelling game? Or maybe you want your students to learn more facts about pollution, and the QR code can link to a safe website with information about pollution? Or perhaps you want to add a flipped lesson to your handout?
  2. After choosing the online website, COPY the website address.
  3. Go to http://www.qrstuff.com/ and paste the website address in the box under “Step. 2”
  4. In about two seconds, you will notice the QR code to your right change form. You now have a QR code!
  5. Choose your QR code color. (I prefer black, but if you intend to hang the QR code up in your classroom, choosing a color is fun.)
  6. Download your QR code or take a screenshot of it. It will appear on your desktop.
  7. Drag the QR code onto your handout and resize it as necessary. Or, print it out and tape it onto your handout.
  8. Copy your handout and now you are all set! You have a handout that provides online resources to your students!
  9. For your students to access the QR codes, they must download a “QR code app” on their smart devices. These apps are free.
  10. Enjoy!

I use QR codes on word lists (for games, spelling practice, Quizlet, etc.), study guides (online practice quizzes, flipped lessons), book club handouts (blogs, book links, author sites), and nonfiction reading (websites, historical documents, primary sources). The potential is endless!


Typically found wearing mismatched socks, Dana Johansen spends her time teaching fifth grade in Connecticut, negotiating with her yellow lab about doggy dinner options, and plopping down on the floor in bookstore aisles to find new reads. She has taught elementary and middle school for fourteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop.