The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.
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:
This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!
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!"
Lessons/Activities/Templates | Common Core | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | Featured Topics: Common Core | VariQuest Tools: Cold Laminator 2510 | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | 3D Printing
"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!
Are you looking for an easy, fun and inclusive Valentine's Day activity for your students this week? Or maybe you're looking for a classroom activity where students can learn about, and relate to one another. Either way, I've got the perfect, easy solution for you - including a free printable! Introducing, "All the Things I Love," A get-to-know each other activity best executed in grades K-5. Finding someone who loves what you love is a fun exercise for the entire class. This activity involves all students by asking them to locate others in the class fitting descriptions showing how similar their likes and interests are. This is a great way for students to learn something personal about their fellow classmates and build community in the classroom. Students will also enjoy the mobility and sociability of the activity!
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 16th, and is the Year of the Dog. 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!
STEM education has traditionally focused on teaching subjects individually, with math and science as completely separate courses. But new standards suggest a more integrated framework, where students learn to make connections across all subject areas, and connect these disciplines to the world around them...and 3D Printing is a perfect way to do just that. Teaching STEM education with 3D Printing automatically combines technology and engineering, in addition to the objectives of each lesson, which might be English, social studies, or even art-based, providing a hands-on project to bring concepts to life. For example, here's a lesson (from the eBook) that could involve at least 5 disciplines...
Differentiated Instruction | Lessons/Activities/Templates | Student Engagement | Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Academic Subject: Social Studies and History | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download
It's back-to-school time, you're crazy busy, and your brain is being stretched in a million different directions. We want to help! In partnership with The Curriculum Corner, VariQuest® presents a cross-curricular free lesson plan unit for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students titled, "Explore Your World."
Color is believed to be the most important visual experience to human beings. More specifically, significant research has been conducted in recent years exploring the function of color as a powerful channel to cognition and memory. Marketers have known for years how effective color can be with brand recognition and attitudes consumers form about products and companies. For example, a 2004 marketing study found that color increases brand recognition and influences purchasing decisions by up to 80%.
As another school year comes to a close, let me be among the first to say, “There’s no tired quite like end-of-the-year-teacher tired!” I get it. The end of the school year is exhausting and maybe even a bit emotional as you say goodbye to your students for the summer. Between finalizing student records, completing report cards, and closing up your classroom, the last few weeks are hectic. But there are a few simple strategies that may help you make the most of the time you spend ending the year so that it is easier to begin the year when you return in the fall.