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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 | 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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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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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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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

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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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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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 | Career & Technology Education (CTE) | Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Mathematics

[Lesson Plan] Counting Strategies Activity: Build a Fruit Basket

By: Carman Le
April 12th, 2018

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!"

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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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Lessons/Activities/Templates | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities

Valentine's Day Classroom Activity - Find who loves what you love!

By: Carman Le
February 12th, 2018

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!                                                                                                                                                                            

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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! 2018

By: Carman Le
February 1st, 2018

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!

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