Education Resources Blog

VariQuest Blog

The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.

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

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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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

[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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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!

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Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Student Engagement | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | student achievement

[Playbook] Building a Career and Technical Education Program for the 21st Century

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
November 30th, 2017

20, 15, even 10 years ago - when you thought about Career and Technical Education (CTE), you would picture a wood shop or auto mechanics class at a high school. But things have changed, and CTE isn't your dad's trade training anymore. Career & Technical Education Programs built for the 21st Century look drastically different - with schools building skill-development for many real-world jobs such as engineering, graphic design, teaching, business management, and so much more. The goal is achieving what schools have always worked towards - preparing students for college or careers - but this broader spectrum is geared towards a new kind of learner.

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Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Student Engagement | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | student achievement

[Checklist] 6 Steps Toward a 21st Century Learning Environment

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
November 16th, 2017

Despite being 18 years into the new millennium, we hear a lot about "21st Century Learning Environments" these days, as schools are struggling to adapt to meet the needs of a new kind of learner - one who is constantly immersed in technology, and thus needs engaging, hands-on activities to feel connected to the real-life, real-world. With this in mind, we've created a 6-step checklist to help you assess building new, or enhancing your current CTE program, based on tactics our customers have implemented, as proof these techniques really work. For example... 

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Recognition | VariQuest Super Schools | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | VariQuest Tools: Awards Maker 400 | Academic Subject: Career & Technical Education

Students Aspire to New Heights through Bear Awards

By: Heidi Glasow
May 6th, 2016

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Poster Maker 3600 | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Academic Subject: STEM | VariQuest Tools: Poster Maker 3600 | VariQuest Tools: Cutout Maker 1800 | Academic Subject: Science

Understanding the Plant Cell: 3 Engaging Activities

By: Margo Ensz
August 31st, 2015

Engage students in learning the parts of a plant cell with a variety of teaching tools and fun activities using your Cutout Maker and Poster Maker!

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Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | Academic Subject: Social Studies and History | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download

Still Need Resources for Women's History Month?

By: Margo Ensz
March 19th, 2015

"The trouble with Women’s History Month—with all these special months—is that they encourage people to think that problems have been solved. The female heroes of yesterday are acknowledged, the debt paid and the slate wiped clean." -Maureen Costello, "The Trouble with Women's History Month" Use this quote and the resources below to discuss the past, present, and future of women's history in the context of Women's History Month. 

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Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | Academic Subject: Social Studies and History | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download

Women's History Month: Interactive Biography Lesson (3-12)

By: Margo Ensz
March 17th, 2015

March is Women's History Month! While the month is half over, there is still plenty of time to engage students of all ages in the history, struggles, and triumphs of women. Below is a brief, customizable lesson using images from Smithville Elementary Library's public blog. Images of notable women in history paired with one actionable word provide groundwork for biographical research and discussion leading into the contemporary.

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Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | VariQuest Tools: Perfecta 2400 | Academic Subject: Career & Technical Education

Not Just for Science Fairs: High School Poster Sessions

By: Margo Ensz
February 16th, 2015

While poster sessions may seem reserved for post-secondary and professional conferences, high school students can benefit from the opportunity to present their research and projects in such a succinct way. These events allow students to "get their feet in the water" and work on communication skills by presenting their research in a condensed "elevator speech" format rather than a full-scale presentation.

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Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Academic Subject: Career & Technical Education

Students Develop Confidence & Career Skills with Indian Ink (Video)

By: Margo Ensz
February 10th, 2015

Last month Venice High School in Venice, Florida, entered the Follett Challenge which "showcases and rewards educators who are aligning their curriculum and approach in order to teach the skills needed in the 21st century, and who are implementing a collaborative program with others in their school."  The in-school graphic design class and business Indian Ink is a stellar example of a student-empowering program that readies students for the 21st century workplace and culture using VariQuest Visual Learning Tools. 

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