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Welcome Back to School Letters with a Technology Twist

Do you send Welcome Back to School letters to your students before school starts?  The past two years, we have been able to put a letter to our students in the envelope that gets mailed out the week before school starts.  I LOVE taking this opportunity to welcome my students to my classroom!  As a parent, I also love it.  My two girls are anxiously awaiting their letters, which should be in our mailbox tomorrow πŸ˜‰
This year I wanted to add something special, and give it a technology twist.
I shared this idea in my “Building Classroom Community Right from the Start” session at I Teach 1st this summer, and I wanted to share it here on the blog as well.
Have you heard of QR codes?  I’m sure you have seen them around because they are on almost everything now.  I decided to add a QR code to my Welcome Back letter.  The QR code is linked to a recording of me reading the letter to my new students.
Go ahead…try it out.  If you do not have a QR reader on your phone, you can download a free one in your app store.
So, want to make one for yourself?
1.  Download the AudioBoom app, and create an account.
2. Record yourself.
3.  Go to www.audioboom.com and login to your account.  You will find your recording.  Click on the “QR Code” tab.
4.  Download the QR code and save it to your computer.
5.  Insert the QR code into your letter.  Done!
 If you would like to download my template from my letter, click HERE.  I have placed text boxes on the pages for you to type into, but you can delete the text boxes, move them around, or add new ones.
I love that this gives my students an opportunity to learn a little more about me as well as hear my voice.  It’s all about establishing those relationships with your students right from the start.
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95 Comments

  1. This is such a fabulous idea. I am sending a welcome card in the mail for each student. The QR code is a fabulous idea. I am going to try it right now!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    1. I was having the same problem. When you go to your playlist, you will see your recording. Click on the name of the file (in bold) and it will bring you to the page with the QR code. Good luck! Absolutely LOVE this idea!

  2. Seriously, cannot get over how AWESOME this is! Thanks for this fantastic idea AND template πŸ™‚ My daughter and I are making test runs πŸ˜‰ It's great!

  3. I went to audioboom to get my QR code and on the website from PC, I click download and it does NOT download!! Link does NOT work. Do you know what I might be doing wrong? It opens the window for me to download it, just won't download. πŸ™

    Thanks,

    Emily πŸ™‚

  4. Where do you download it to once you are able to also? I looked on the editable letter area and tried to see and open anything just to see and it does not let me open much of my files but a select few….
    thanks,

    Emily πŸ™‚

  5. I love your newsletter with Audio QR code. If possible, will you be able to make one for 5th grade? I would love to try it this year with my fifth grade class. Thanks for all the great ideas!

    Eve πŸ™‚

  6. I would love to use this but I teach in Spanish. If I translate it for you could you please provide it in Spanish? Thanks for your time.

  7. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am trying to do more with technology and this was a great way for me to start off the year. It was so quick and easy to follow. I could be finished before I was interrupted by my own children! I can't wait to hear the response from parents.

  8. I LOVE this!!! Thank you so much!! I know my students will be very excited to get these letters next week. πŸ™‚ Have a great school year!

  9. What a great way to start the school year! I am inspired by your creativity and am getting busy making mine right now. I teach pre-kindergarten so I am adding pre above the kindergarten. Thanks for sharing your ideas and your hard work. I love learning from others.

  10. This is amazing. I am so excited for my first graders to get their letters in the mail! THANK YOU for making it so simple to send such an awesome gift to my little munchkins before school starts!!

  11. Thank you so much for the fun idea!! I just added a QR code to my letter – never done that before πŸ™‚ I don't like to hear my own voice but I suppose they have to get used to it – haha. Anyway – thanks for all the wonderful ideas that you share!

  12. Is there anyway I can get the part off the newsletter where you have the arrow and the info on how to listen to you read it to them off of the third grade template?

  13. Thank you for the tutorial on Audio Boom and QR codes. I was able to print out the QR code but I couldn't find it on my computer when I hit download. Any suggestions on where to look. I am not a techie.

  14. I LOVE your letter and use of the QR Reader app. Would you consider adding color to maybe the teacher, heart, arrow, and/or border? I would be willing to pay for it on TPT.

  15. Honestly, I think this is a positively brilliant idea and I just wanted to say thank you so very much for posting all the grades, I'm getting ready to loop down and pick up some third graders who I am so sure will absolutely adore this! Thanks for sharing – you are amazing!

  16. Hi Jodi, I LOVE your letter and am getting a jump on my next school year. I also teach first grade and plan to use even more technology in my classroom this year. So, when I saw this welcome letter with a technology twist – I knew it was the one I wanted to do. I have a QR Code reader and have downloaded AudioBoom. But, I'm not sure about the welcome letter template. Are you offering the template? It seems from reading everyone's comments that you are. Can you help me find it?? Thanks!!! Pam

  17. Ok why am I having such a hard time with this??? I have downloaded it to my Dropbox but cannot get the text boxes to pop up when I tap on it. Any suggestions? Many thanks for sharing this!
    Grace

  18. I know you had LOTS of feedback for different grades. We use a different grade system at my school (Years – British system). Any chance the top of the template could just say Hello! That would give people lots of flexibility. What a cute idea with the voice recording!

  19. Love the letter – but I am having formatting issues. How were you able to have the text wrap around your picture? I have a mac and am not seeing how to do that in powerpoint. Thank you in advance!

  20. Love this idea so much Jodi! Instead of AudioBoom app, I'd suggest using Seesaw to create the QR code. Any item in Seesaw can generate a QR code. In this case your "item" will be an image (find a "Welcome to My Class" PNG type image). If you're a Seesaw user, you'll know how to do this. If you're not a Seesaw user, you should be because it's the most amazing app ever.

  21. Oh my gosh!! I just finished my letter and LOVE it!! It’s so cool and I think the kids and parents will love the QR code. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Many thanks for sharing this idea! This letter is fantabulous and I am planning on using it :). However, I team teach and I was wondering if you could change the wording on the bottom to say: “Want to hear this letter read to you? Have a grown up scan the code with any QR reader app on their smart phone.” Thank you for considering this change.

  23. Thank you for the tutorial. I was very excited to give it a try. AudioBoom instantly played the podcast I had made for my letter as well as showed a picture of me. Above my podcast were App icons for “Featured Episodes” with very inappropriate titles. Is there a way to change what is showed on the “Featured Episodes” in AudioBoom? There are plenty of other pictures and titles I would be fine having such as news or business but it seems to be only showing some Pop stuff.

    Now when I emailed the podcast to me and it created a link it worked fine. It took me directly to my podcast. The only time I’m having trouble is when I use the QR setting. Please help!!!! Did anyone else experience this problem?

  24. Like the back-to-school welcome letter, just wish it was male friendly for male teachers. Every page contains female clipart that can’t be deleted, also, I’d prefer, “Your Friend” instead of “Love” for the closing of my letter. Is it possible to make the changes for male teachers? If not, I understand.
    Thank you!

    1. Yes πŸ™‚ I now use an app called Cloud QR. I think it was $4.99, but it’s something that I will use for other things this school year.

  25. This is so amazing! Thank you!
    I used the Cloud QR app and it was great, but when I scan the code with another QR reader, it sends me to the Cloud QR scanner. Do parents have to upload the free Cloud QR scanner to hear the audio, or am I doing something wrong?
    Again, this is an amzing idea! Love it!

  26. I’m just now getting to this thread in 2019, and AudioBoom isn’t available. What app can I use to achieve this?

  27. These are adorable! FYI, β€œKINDERGARTNER” is spelled incorrectly. It’s not KINDERGARTENER, it’s KINDERGARTNER. Sorry! Just thought you may want to know!

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