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

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

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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Blog Feature

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

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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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!

Blog Feature

Academic Subject: English Language Arts | Academic Subject: Reading

The Break Up With Reading: Why Reading for Fun is Important for Students

By: Carman Le
May 31st, 2018

When did kids fall out of love with reading? I’ve been lucky enough to teach an upper grade level, and when you have that experience you see the evolution of children in their learning. But in the last ten years or so, I’ve noticed a decline in reading for fun - and that's important to note, and concerning. Students would read a passage or text I gave them, but as far as finding a book to disappear in for leisure, the hobby is almost nonexistent. “It’s a chore,” they say. When did this happen? I remember the days of having to force kids to put books down! Here's what I have observed are contributors to the decline in reading, and how to solve the issues. And this is by no means data or research-driven. I’m sharing my own personal observations, coupled with what I have learned from speaking with my students...

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Blog Feature

Academic Subject: Special Education | Special Education

[eBook] Special Education: Boosting Success for Exceptional Needs Students

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
May 17th, 2018

Effectively reaching students whose exceptionalities run the gamut of intellectual, communicative, sensory, behavioral and physical is a continuous challenge faced by educators. As schools move toward the ideal of an Individual Education Plan for each and every student, experts agree that differentiated instruction, which integrates the regular use of visual aids and manipulatives, is making learning meaningful and engaging for more students than ever before. We at VariQuest know how important research-based instructional strategies and educational aids are for special education, and we want to give you every tool possible, so we've created a free eBook dedicated to successful strategies in working with students with exceptional needs - and we'd like to share it with you! Boosting Success for Exceptional Needs Students contains...

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Blog Feature

VariQuest Super Schools | Project-based Learning | Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Academic Subject: Career & Technical Education

A Student-Run Print Shop Teaches CTE Skills at Higgins Middle School

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
May 1st, 2018

With an emphasis on CTE programs in schools on the rise, so too are student-based enterprises - where students can brainstorm ideas, design and develop products, market their offerings, monitor inventory, balance finances, and nurture patronage - covering many of the 16 Career Clusters and developing students' real world skills. Such is the case at Higgins Middle School in Peabody, Massachusetts, where the students are tasked with running a multi-service print shop fully equipped with VariQuest® Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools.

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Blog Feature

Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: English Language Arts | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Lessons/Activities/Templates

Using Text Dependent Questions for Deeper Comprehension

By: Carman Le
April 26th, 2018

For many years, comprehension strategies centered on students making connections to their texts. These may have included: Text-to-Self, Text-to-Text, and Text-to-World. However, this continued strategy seemed to only produce readers who wanted to talk about themselves. Very few times were they connecting with other texts or with world situations. Hence, a deeper understanding of the text became elusive. Having the experience of desperately pulling deeper understanding of a text from my students, I was introduced to the strategy of "close reading." Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey wrote a fantastic article in The Reading Teacher titled Close Reading in Elementary Schools, where they outline how to incorporate this "text dependent question" approach into your literacy time. The basics are:

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Blog Feature

Maker Movement | Makerspace | Academic Subject: STEM | Funding | Kinesthetic Learning | STEM

[eBook] How to Build a Makerspace

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

By now, you've probably heard about "makerspaces" and how they're being added in schools across the country - encouraging students of all ages to explore, create, build, tinker, and experiment through hands-on learning. (For a refresher, check out our blog, "What is a Makerspace?") STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math) learning is important to us here at VariQuest, because we know it's important to you. And a makerspace is a great solution for creating an environment conducive to this methodology - with the space being as high- or low-tech as your imagination (or funds) can reach! As your first step, how about a free ebook, helping you consider what's necessary to build one in your school? Well, we've got that, right here for you! "How to Build a Makerspace: A Guide for Educators Striving to Build Student Success Through Hands-On Learning" will discuss...

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Blog Feature

Lessons/Activities/Templates | Academic Subject: Mathematics | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Grade Level: Primary (PK-2)

[Lesson Plan] Counting Strategies Activity: Build a Fruit Basket

By: Carman Le
April 12th, 2018

As more and more schools expand their curriculum offerings to include Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs spanning the 16 Career Clusters, the need for resources to help these students has grown along with it. One of these clusters, obviously close to our hearts at VariQuest, is the Education & Training pathway - so along with supporting educators who facilitate this goal with students, we also want to support those students considering a career in the industry! So - do you have an Early Education Program with your secondary students? Or maybe you're a Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher looking for activities to help students learn about numbers and counting? We've got a free lesson plan for you, aligned with Common Core Math Standard K.CC.A.1-5: "Counting Strategies: Build a Fruit Basket!"

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VariQuest Tools: Motiva 400 | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400STP | Perfecta

VariQuest Launches New Educational Tools – the Perfecta® 2400STP Poster Design System and Motiva™ 400 Specialty Printing System for the K–12 Market

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
March 26th, 2018

The newest additions to the VariQuest suite of solutions provide endless options for creating on-the-spot school-wide communication, recognition, and student engagement materials. (Brooklyn Park, MN) March 23, 2018 — Varitronics, creator of the VariQuest® suite of solutions and leading provider of visual and kinesthetic learning tools for the K-12 market, is pleased to introduce two new products to its robust line of educational offerings to promote student achievement, student engagement, and further schools in their pursuit of STEM and CTE development – the Perfecta® 2400STP and Motiva™ 400.

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Blog Feature

Lessons/Activities/Templates | Academic Subject: Mathematics | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | 3D Printing | VariQuest Tools: Cold Laminator 2510 | Featured Topics: Common Core | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Common Core

[Lesson Plan] Order of Operations

By: Carman Le
March 15th, 2018

"Class, what is the Order of Operations?" My energetic class of fifth graders shouted out loud, "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally!" What? Who is Aunt Sally? When students initially learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, they are taught to perform those skills using two numbers and one operation. As they progress to the next levels, they begin to see numerical expressions with more than one operation and word problems that involve multiple steps. Introduce your students to the Order of Operations - and help them memorize the "PEMDAS" or "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" acronym as early as third grade. Putting this memory into practice can be more of a challenge - so we've come up with some tips and a fun lesson plan activity for your students to drive the concept home!

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