VariQuest Blog

Chinese New Year: Compare, Contrast, and Celebrate! (K-5 Lesson)

Posted by Julia Cremin on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 02:30 PM

The Chinese New Year falls on February 19, 2015. In this lesson, students will read about Chinese New Year traditions, compare them to American traditions, then celebrate by practicing one of the Chinese New Year traditions.

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates

Title I: 1965 to Today

Posted by Margo Ensz on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

April 11, 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965:

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Topics: Education Policy

Martin Luther King Jr: A Fact or Opinion Mini-Lesson (Grades 3-8)

Posted by Margo Ensz on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

Subjects: Arts & Humanities, Civics, Holidays, Language Arts, Social Studies, U.S. History 

Grades: 3-5, 6-8

In this lesson, adapted from an activity on Education World,  students will reinforce their understanding of fact and opinion while learning about the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates, Poster Maker 3600

3 Visual Tools for the Dyslexic Student

Posted by Margo Ensz on Mon, Jan 12, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Students with dyslexia are highly visual learners who benefit from multi-sensory learning environments. Because dyslexic students have a dominant right brain, it takes strategic effort and care to engage the left side of the brain. Engaging multiple sensory experiences into instruction will then engage multiple areas of the brain. This helps dyslexic students make connections, strenghthen their left brain, and better retain information. (source) Students with dyslexia tend to be more visual in learning, therefore, visual tools are vital to their sucess in grasping concepts and problem solving.

Here are three visual tools that can help students with dyslexia make connections, retain information, and deepen learning: 

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Topics: Differentiated Instruction

5 Ways to Improve Teaching with Brain-Based Research

Posted by Melissa Hughes, Ph.D. on Tue, Jan 06, 2015 @ 11:46 AM

Republished with permission from Melissa Hughes, Ph.D. Original article posted on December 2, 2014

There has been a lot of buzz lately around the maker movement. Recent brain-based research support the notion that hands-on making, building, and creating not only nurture creativity, but also impact cognition, working memory, and innovative problem solving. While we don’t have to have the working knowledge of neuroscientists, if we're going to improve our practice of teaching it's important to understand how the brain learns. 

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Topics: Professional Development, Guest Edu Bloggers, Maker Movement

8 eCards to Help You Make it to Winter Break

Posted by Margo Ensz on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

The weeks leading up to winter break can be a bit chaotic in the classroom. Here are 8 teacher-created ecards to lend comedic relief: 

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Makerspaces for Students With Special Needs

Posted by Margo Ensz on Sat, Dec 13, 2014 @ 01:00 PM

Reposted from Edutopia.org--original article (found here) by Patrick Waters

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Topics: Special Education, Maker Movement

Elementary Winter Activity Round Up

Posted by Margo Ensz on Tue, Dec 09, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

'Tis the season! If you're like us, you have no idea where 2014 went. If you're feeling a little short on classroom ideas to fill out the weeks leading up to winter break, don't worry! We've compiled some great activities and lessons from teachers just like you, spanning subject and ages. Enjoy! 

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Organize Those Anchor Charts!

Posted by Margo Ensz on Thu, Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

“Anchor charts are a wonderful tool to document students' thinking and learning and serve as a visual reference of our learning process.  They keep what we are currently learning accessible and enable students to make later connections. Anchor charts 'anchor' our learning, bring focus to a particular strategy or standard we are working on and support students during independent practice, class discussions or whenever they just need a little reminder.” -Around the Kampfire 

We know how vital anchor charts are and how creative teachers are finding ways to incorporate these visuals into everyday lessons. However, what do you do with all the magnificent anchor charts you have created over the year? Surely not throw them away and start from scratch?!

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates, Professional Development

Picture Book Month: Reflections + Lesson Plans

Posted by Julia Cremin on Tue, Dec 02, 2014 @ 01:00 PM

I’ve been particularly drawn to picture books recently, and not just because it was just Picture Book Month. Children of all ages love listening to a story, which makes a read aloud an engaging way to introduce a new unit of study at any grade level.

As a language arts teacher, I frequently use mentor texts as a springboard for discussion about a topic, or to model reading and writing strategies I want students to emulate. Continue reading to learn how I incorporate picture book read alouds in my 6th grade Reading and Language Arts class.

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Topics: Lessons/Activities/Templates, Common Core, Guest Edu Bloggers

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