The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.
Fairness: making sure that everyone has what they need to succeed. A hot topic in our politics and world today, elementary school students can greatly benefit from lessons in fairness as they fine-tune their social-emotional skills to grow into productive, active learners and friends. And with more awareness around personalized needs than ever before, it's important to explain how "fair" can be different for everyone. In the second 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 Fairness. Through a series of group discussions, self-reflection activities, and literary analysis, students will increase their social-emotional awareness and understanding of how "fair" impacts their lives and others. Download this free lesson plan unit on social-emotional learning for elementary-aged students containing:
Parental Involvement | VariQuest Tools: Design Center Software | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | student achievement | VariQuest Tools: Motiva 400 | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400STP | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 3600STP
It's hard to believe - but we're already coming up to the end of the school year! As you prepare students for their final weeks in your classroom, you may be thinking about how this year's class can "leave a legacy" for next year's students, or maybe you're trying to come up with activities to keep their minds sharp during the summer months to come. We've brought in reinforcements to help with both of those things! With 21st Century Skills in mind, Jill and Cathy from The Curriculum Corner share 4 " tips" with us around the 4 Cs - critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication - for wrapping up end-of-year with the help of the VariQuest Motiva™, Cutout Maker, and Perfecta® tools!
This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!
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:
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...
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!
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.
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...
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:
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!"