VariQuest Blog

5 Posters for Earth Day!

Posted by Margo Ensz on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 @ 12:36 PM

Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22nd. This special holiday provides an opportunity to teach children and young adults about sustainability, day-to-day "green" practices and the importance of environmental care. Below are 5 high-resolution, downloadable posters meant to provoke thoughts, lend ideas, and inspire students, staff, and parents to make green choices.

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates

Is PBIS Still Relevant?

Posted by Margo Ensz on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

“One of the foremost advances in school-wide discipline is the emphasis on school-wide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments.” (source)

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Topics: Student Engagement, Character Education

Makerspaces: High and Low Tech

Posted by Geena Maharaj on Thu, Apr 09, 2015 @ 01:44 PM

If you've been keeping up on education trends lately, chances are you’re familiar with the recent emphasis on doing, creating, crafting, constructing, designing, building…essentially, making! From using laser cutters to building a house of LEGO® bricks, the goal is to make. The importance of this multidisciplinary hands-on learning has been sweeping the nation, one makerspace at a time.

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Topics: Maker Movement

K-5: Math is Everywhere!

Posted by Margo Ensz on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 01:00 PM

April is Mathematics Awareness Month! This year's theme is "Math Drives Careers."

Math can be an engaging and intuitive subject for some students, but often it is a dry subject for others. These students ask, "When will I use this in real life?" One way to answer that question and engage learners is to demonstrate that math is all around us. 

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Topics: STEM

STEM vs. STEAM—Which One is it?

Posted by Geena Maharaj on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

16. 17. 25. What do these numbers mean to America?

Federal reports show only 16% of high school seniors in the US are interested in pursuing a career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). Our students rank 17th in science achievement and 25th in math ability among industrialized nations. Couple that with the fact that “the demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase at four times the rate for all other occupations,” and it’s no wonder why the topic of STEM is the talk of town. America’s face palm can be heard internationally, but its sting hits close to home, starting with schools. But are four letters enough to encapsulate the issue?

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Topics: STEM

Still Need Resources for Women's History Month?

Posted by Margo Ensz on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

"The trouble with Women’s History Month—with all these special months—is that they encourage people to think that problems have been solved. The female heroes of yesterday are acknowledged, the debt paid and the slate wiped clean."

-Maureen Costello, "The Trouble with Women's History Month"

Use this quote and the resources below to discuss the past, present, and future of women's history in the context of Women's History Month. 

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates

Women's History Month: Interactive Biography Lesson (3-12)

Posted by Margo Ensz on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 @ 08:15 AM

March is Women's History Month! While the month is half over, there is still plenty of time to engage students of all ages in the history, struggles, and triumphs of women. Below is a brief, customizable lesson using images from Smithville Elementary Library's public blog. Images of notable women in history paired with one actionable word provide groundwork for biographical research and discussion leading into the contemporary.

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates

Response: Where Ed Tech is Failing Special Education

Posted by Margo Ensz on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 @ 10:51 AM

EdSurge recently published an opinion article titled: "Where Edtech is Failing Special Education." Kara Brooks-Odom, a teacher of 16 years, outlines her experiences with the education technology industry in how it meets, or, in this case, doesn't meet, the needs of her students and her classroom.

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Topics: Differentiated Instruction, Special Education

Differentiated, Personalized, Individualized: What's the Difference?

Posted by Margo Ensz on Wed, Mar 04, 2015 @ 11:46 AM

The education community has an increasingly diverse and vocal channel for discussing best practices, teaching and learning styles, and other hot topics and buzz words. These concepts can quickly become muddled and confusing if not properly defined and discussed. For example, differentiated, individualized, and personalized learning sound like they could be synonymous and interchangeable. However, there are clear distinctions between them. Let's start with differentiated instruction and personalized learning:

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Topics: Differentiated Instruction, Student Engagement

5 Colorful Classroom Management Posters

Posted by Margo Ensz on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 10:03 AM

What is your classroom identity? What do teachers and staff expect of students? What do students expect when they walk in the classroom? Classroom management is important for every teacher, regardless of subject and grade level. Teachers want to spend their time teaching, so an effective classroom management strategy can help minimize disruptions. 

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates, Character Education

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