The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.
The National Education Association's Read Across America Day is celebrated in classrooms across the United States each year on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2nd. But why stop at one day, when you could make the focus last a whole week with fun activities to instill in your students a love of reading? I've put together some materials for you to use to celebrate reading in your classroom. Download them for free, now!
I remember when I started teaching, my students were acquiring more "life experiences" than I was. They were traveling abroad, going to the beach, hiking mountains...anything and everything. It made for great discussions in class and helped them accumulate a deep vault of background knowledge. However, in the last generational shift, much of the time spent on experiences has moved to scheduled sports or programmed activities. Both are fine, but there may be a gap widening among our students that we need to help fill in our classrooms. The best part about filling this gap with your students involves watching their awe and wonder as they learn things about the world beyond their walls and feeling proud that it was thanks to you. If you would like to start working with students to bring global awareness into your classroom, I've got a few ideas to start you out...
This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!
VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | Featured Topics: Funding | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | VariQuest Tools: Motiva 400 | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400STP | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 3600STP
According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the Title I Grant program is meant to provide funding to disadvantaged Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to improve their academic achievement. The most common of these, Title I - Part A, "...provides financial assistance to LEAs and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards." As these funds are meant to improve instruction and provide additional academic support and learning opportunities, they are often allocated towards reading or mathematics curriculum, supplemental programs to reinforce and extend the regular school curriculum, or additional staff members to lead and teach the students. And as we look at the bright future of the job market as it relates to STEM and 21st Century skills, we'd like to give you some ideas for tools that Title I Funding can be used for!
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is one of the most important holidays widely celebrated in many Asian countries and territories including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Thailand. Usually falling between January 21st and February 20th, this year's start of the Chinese New Year will occur on February 5th, and is the Year of the Pig. The celebration lasts for about 15 days. Gung Hay Fat Choy is a common Chinese New Year’s greeting in Chinese Cantonese, which means “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.” On Chinese New Year, the themes of happiness, wealth, longevity, luck and good fortune are celebrated. Some of the traditional celebrations include family gatherings, visiting friends and relatives (baai nin), exchanging “lucky money” contained in red envelopes (lai see), decorating homes with paper decorations and scrolls, lion dances, and fireworks. Chinese New Year is a special holiday to celebrate with your class while teaching them others’ cultures and comparing them to American traditions. I have put together a collection of fun, hands-on and Common Core-aligned lessons and activities, classroom decorations, and craft projects for you to explore and enjoy with your class, and I want to share them with you!
Data, data, data! Through the halls of our schools, that’s what teachers are talking about - and we're using it to drive instruction. The question is, are we using it correctly? The "big data movement" has had some negative side effects, involving testing phobia among students and incredible stress among staff - but if you know how to use the data correctly, both educators and students can find their way to a virtual paradise of growth. It doesn’t matter what your district or school uses for data purposes. Many schools across the country are using the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test, running records through Fountas and Pinnell, or maybe even basic common assessments. The first thing we all need to wrap our brains around is the difference between formative and summative assessments...
It's the end of the calendar year, and most teachers are looking forward to their winter break - that week or two during the holidays where it's time to recharge their batteries and relax, then come back refreshed and ready to charge towards preparing students for the next level.
Most of us have experience with "hot" lamination. You plug these machines in, wait for them to warm up, smell the hot plastic (which is a good indicator it's "ready"), then run your papers through to preserve projects, posters, reusable handouts, etc. And while this does typically work for the finished product you need, there is a better way - and we'll tell you why. Cold Lamination. Requiring no electricity, powered by a hand-crank and lasting longer than their hot counterparts, here's why you should consider a cold laminator - the lesser-known, more efficient alternative...
Once you have organized your rooms, set up your classroom libraries, laid out those pillows in comfy reading nooks, put out name tags, and written your schedule, there’s one more detail you'll want to make sure you pay careful attention to. It will make your year truly positive and build everlasting relationships. It’s parental involvement! The big question I hear a lot is - "How do I get them involved in the right way?" The right way is the key. I bring up mindset a lot, and it’s true that "personalized learning" and "mindset" are the new buzz words but in truth, you need to have a team mindset for this particular area of your classroom community. It's important to look at your students' parents as your team because in reality they are, and YOU are the coach. What do you want this relationship to look like? If your goal is to be in it together, try out these tips and see how they help build that unified-team mindset:
Register Now for Glow and Grow ! A Professional Development Web Series Delivered to Your Inbox featuring Dr. Melissa Hughes, Expert on Whole Brain Teaching & Learning and Carman Le, MAT, Education Development Specialist at VariQuest Live Now! Student Engagement. Inclusivity. Critical Thinking. Parental Involvement. Student Achievement. Recognition. These are the basic needs of schools nationwide. In this 6-part professional development web series developed by VariQuest, you'll receive one ~10 minute video each week in your inbox, which will start with Dr. Melissa Hughes, expert on Whole Brain Teaching & Learning, addressing one of these 6 needs and how brain function processes affect what we as educators are trying to do in our schools, then hear from Carman Le, Education Development Specialist at VariQuest, on how you can implement this neurological research in your classroom and school building through hands-on activities, teaching methods, or staff training. Here's what you can expect each week...
We at VariQuest® are passionate about engaging every learner in reaching their potential, and thus we're dedicated in our efforts to make every VariQuest product easy-to-use, efficient, and full of features and benefits important to you, our nation's educators. And that's why our VariQuest Perfecta® STP Series Printers come fully equipped with a built-in scanner to support and improve your classroom-centric and school-wide communication. We believe that scan-to-print functionality makes your life easier - allowing the ability to enlarge small images up to 36" banner size, or minimizing a 24" poster down to student handouts. We're not all graphic designers, able to recreate and resize images on the fly - but we want to help you act like one! So now you may be thinking, that SOUNDS like a great feature, but what types of things would I actually DO with it? We picked the brains of some former and current educators to come up with a "top 10" list of ideas to get you psyched about scan-to-print in your school...but the possibilities are endless!