VariQuest Blog

The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.

Blog Feature

Lessons/Activities/Templates | Academic Subject: English Language Arts | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics

[Lesson Plan] Celebrate the Chinese New Year 2019!

By: Carman Le
January 24th, 2019

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!

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Student Engagement | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | student achievement

How to Analyze Student Data and Drive Growth

By: Carman Le
January 10th, 2019

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...

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How to Write a Grant eBook

How to Write a Grant eBook

This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!

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Lessons/Activities/Templates | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities

Free Lesson Plan Roundup!

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
December 6th, 2018

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.

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Professional Development | VariQuest Tools: Cold Laminator 2510

Why Choose Cold Lamination vs. Hot?

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
September 13th, 2018

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...

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Blog Feature

Parental Involvement

Setting Your Classroom Up for Success: Parental Involvement

By: Carman Le
August 30th, 2018

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:

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Differentiated Instruction | Professional Development | Recognition | Parental Involvement | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Featured Topics: Professional Development | student achievement

Professional Development Web Video Series: Glow and Grow

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
August 16th, 2018

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...

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VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400STP | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 3600STP

Top 10 Ways to Use VariQuest Perfecta® STP Series Scanners

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
August 2nd, 2018

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!

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Blog Feature

STEM | Academic Subject: STEM | STEM:IT | Makerspace

[Poster] The Engineering Design Cycle

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
July 19th, 2018

We talk a lot about STEM, or practicing curriculum within its relation to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, so today let's amplify the E for Engineering, as it relates to projects across all subject matter where students design, build, and test a solution to a problem. The Engineering Design Cycle encourages students' critical thinking, and learning by failing or doing, which is increasingly how the working world is progressing towards innovation. Divide your students into groups, give them a problem to solve, and have them complete the 6 steps of the Engineering Design Cycle, illustrated in this great poster created in partnership with STEM Fuse, for your classroom or makerspace!

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Differentiated Instruction | Professional Development | Featured Topics: Professional Development | student achievement

Professional Development Webinar: Growth vs Fixed Mindset

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
June 28th, 2018

featuring Dr. Melissa Hughes, Expert on Whole Brain Teaching & Learning Tuesday, July 24th at 10:00am CT We often think of student success in terms of ability and skill acquisition, but recent research tells us that’s only part of it. A student’s mindset is a powerful driver for motivation to learn, resilience with challenges, and developing a love for learning. Join us as Dr. Melissa Hughes, expert on whole brain teaching and learning, leads a free professional development webinar on how mindsets develop and how they impact student achievement - to improve engagement and achievement in your classrooms! Presented by Dr. Melissa Hughes, we'll be exploring neuroscientific findings and offer tangible strategies for parents and teachers to effectively nurture a growth mindset. We hope you can attend this free professional development webinar event hosted by VariQuest!

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Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities

4 Strategies to Promote Student Engagement in your Classroom

By: Carman Le
June 14th, 2018

I’ve been teaching for many years and with those years come a vast knowledge of when I’m losing the crowd or when everyone is into their work. To be a master teacher you have to have your finger on the pulse of your classroom. The question is, “What does that look like?” As a younger teacher I always wanted my kids to be happy being at school, but as time passes you phase into a stronger leader and know everyone must pull their weight for student growth to happen. Finding the balance between fun and work is where I think engagement occurs. So…how do you keep them engaged? I’ve compiled a few ideas for you to try implementing in your classroom...

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