Dear Teachers, Tuesday May 9, 2017 has been designated as National Teacher Appreciation Day. Many schools and communities will be recognizing teachers throughout the week with muffins and luncheons, and maybe cards and gifts from students and their parents. It’s about you, and I hope that you feel the appropriate appreciation within your own community. I wanted to take a moment to go beyond the generic Hallmark sentiment and express deeper gratitude for all that you do for our kids and our communities. At a time when education is often criticized, scrutinized, and disparaged over test scores and graduation rates, a day of recognition that falls between Star Wars Day and National Tourists Day may feel less than satisfying. You’ve been tasked with one of the most vital jobs in our society, and your sphere of influence exceeds the essential skills our children must be able to demonstrate for evaluative purposes. You spend valuable time, energy, and money on things that go far beyond lesson plans, report cards, and bulletin boards.
We used to call it hands-on learning. Before high-tech classrooms, learning labs, and makerspaces, kids would build and create and make things using buttons, bottle caps, popsicle sticks, and glue. The focus was on exploration, discovery, creativity, and problem-solving. There was no clear distinction between the arts, engineering, science, and math. Kids were making things, expressing their creativity, and they were learning how things worked. The current buzzword is experiential learning, but the concept has been around for over 100 years. Dr. Maria Montessori would be thrilled to see the future of education rooted in her research. The movement of “making” brings engineering, science, technology, art and design together and overlaps those instructional principles with the natural inclinations of children the power of learning by doing.
This helpful guide includes an explanation of the grant process, including a checklist (with samples!), and useful links and resources to find funding!
Academic Subject: STEM | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Academic Subject: Science | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer
"If you build it they will come"- Field of Dreams, 1989. Dan Hurley, Director of Discovery Charter School in Inver Grove Heights, MN had the same dream in 2014, although not for a baseball diamond in his field, but rather a school to embrace a multidisciplinary curriculum with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). His vision was to prepare K-8 students for life-long learning, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving. Just over one year ago his dream became a reality, and now over 200 students are engaged in an environment that values creativity, diversity, and multiculturalism. With Dan's vision a partnership also ensued with VariQuest and Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer, and STEM Fuse, a leader in K12 digital curriculum. Dan knew in order to fulfill his dream he needed to build his 'Dream Team'.
Wish you could scan your completed graphic organizer and easily email it to the class? Want to enlarge your students’ pencil artwork to display in the hallway? Looking to connect with parents as they walk in the entrance with a colorful welcome banner? Do all that and then some with a cool brand new tool made just for schools—VariQuest® Perfecta™ 3600STP! WHAT IS PERFECTA 3600STP? VariQuest has extended the Perfecta product line with an industrious printer (without the industrious size). We’re introducing the only scan-to-print full color printing system that exists to support and improve school-wide communication. Whether you’re differentiating instruction via colorful infographics, promoting district-wide initiatives through engaging posters, or boosting school pride with spirited banners, you can send the right message to the right audience with ease. Perfecta 3600STP has a fully-integrated scanner, allowing users the ability to both shrink and enlarge scanned pieces ranging from 6" to 36" wide. Maximize your value by adding the optional VariQuest Design Center, a touch-enabled workstation storing thousands of education-based templates and graphics, making poster-designing a cinch.
Bulletin boards are a classic staple of the K-12 classroom. Over the years, educators have spiced things up and made their bulletin boards interactive, so they are a dynamic part of visual and kinesthetic learning in addition to an anchor visual. One fun way to do this? Bring the hashtag into your classroom--make a tweet board!
The beginning and end of the school year is often a time of reflction. We have compiled five writing activities that can double as the ultimate classroom display - the bulletin board!
Students aren’t too different from rats. They may not be scurrying around with long tails trailing behind, nor are they considered deadly pests. But as psychologist BF Skinner proved, humans and rats find commonality in positive reinforcement. As Skinner rewarded his test rats with food for doing the perceived “right thing,” they continued on the right path. As teachers recognize positive student behavior, students are galvanized to continue their positive behavior.
Imagine if educators were required by law to hand out straitjackets to students before school started. There's no filibuster long enough that could save any lawmaker from the angry mob of parents and teachers that would follow. But where's the public outcry when that immobilizing jacket is invisible? Students' ears are constantly being fed with information, and their eyes are getting their fill, too. But without the use of kinesthetic tactics in teaching, retention rates among students plummet.
Featured Topics: Character Education | VariQuest Tools: Design Center Software | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | VariQuest Tools: Poster Maker 3600 | VariQuest Tools: Awards Maker 400 | Featured Topics: Student Engagement | VariQuest Tools: Cold Laminator 2510
“One of the foremost advances in school-wide discipline is the emphasis on school-wide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments.” (source)
If you've been keeping up on education trends lately, chances are you’re familiar with the recent emphasis on doing, creating, crafting, constructing, designing, building…essentially, making! From using laser cutters to building a house of LEGO® bricks, the goal is to make. The importance of this multidisciplinary hands-on learning has been sweeping the nation, one makerspace at a time.