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

VariQuest Super Schools | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | teacher appreciation

Why Does My School Need a Cutout Maker? Greece Professional Learning Center Loves Theirs!

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
April 18th, 2019

For 30 years, Greece Professional Learning Center (PLC) in Rochester, NY has been providing academic resources and professional learning opportunities to educators and community groups. Having the VariQuest Cutout Maker 1800, “...has changed how we support teachers,” says Marguerite Dimgba, Program Director. With over 4,500 shapes to choose from in a variety of sizes, teachers are able to create academic resources that support the needs of the students in their classrooms in areas such as social emotional learning and culturally responsive education.

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VariQuest Tools: Design Center Software | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | student achievement | VariQuest Tools: Motiva 400 | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400STP | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 3600STP

4 Test-Taking Tips from The Curriculum Corner

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
April 11th, 2019

When testing season is upon your classroom, it makes for a very anxious time. Not only are students worried about the disruption to their routine, where multiple-choice questions and long periods of quiet and sitting-still take over the school day, but many teachers struggle with the entire process as they throw all their energy into easing students' fears to enable success. With over 30 years of teaching experience between them, we reached out to Jill and Cathy of The Curriculum Corner to gather some tips for test-taking that align with 21st Century Skills for learning to invoke the "4 Cs" of creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. With the help of the VariQuest tools, they'll show you how to prepare yourselves and your students for a successful testing environment. Check out their ideas in this video, download our free testing poster, then try things out for yourself! (And don't forget to like the VariQuest Facebook Page to stay tuned for more tips!)

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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

Lessons/Activities/Templates | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | social-emotional learning

[Lesson Plan] Social-Emotional Learning for Elementary Students: Kindness

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
March 29th, 2019

Social-Emotional Learning is a concept top-of-mind with educators these days, and for good reason. While not a new idea by any means, developing students' social and emotional skills makes them more productive, active learners and peers - and who doesn't want that in the classroom? In the first of a 10-lesson unit on Social-Emotional Learning designed for elementary-aged students and developed in partnership with The Curriculum Corner, students will explore Kindness. Through a series of group discussions, self-reflection activities, and literary analysis, students will increase their social-emotional awareness of how kindness can impact themselves and others.  Download this free lesson plan unit on social-emotional learning for elementary-aged students containing:

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Lessons/Activities/Templates | Student Engagement | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Reading

Classroom Activity and Materials: Focus on Reading!

By: Carman Le
February 26th, 2019

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!

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Lessons/Activities/Templates | Academic Subject: Interdisciplinary | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities

Dialed In: How to Bring Global Awareness Into the Classroom

By: Carman Le
February 21st, 2019

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...

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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

What Can Title I Funding Be Used For?

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
February 4th, 2019

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!

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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

Looking for resources for the 2020 Chinese New Year? Check out our blog post here. 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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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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