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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Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Lessons/Activities/Templates

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

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

[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 | Academic Subject: Mathematics | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays | VariQuest Tools: Trifecta 800 3D Printer | 3D Printing | VariQuest Tools: Cold Laminator 2510 | Featured Topics: Common Core | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Grade Level: Secondary (7-12) | Common Core

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

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: Mathematics | Academic Subject: English Language Arts | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Featured Topics: Classroom Celebrations/Holidays

[Lesson Plan] Celebrate the Chinese New Year!

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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Student Engagement | Differentiated Instruction | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities | Academic Subject: Social Studies and History | Featured Topics: Templates for FREE download | Grade Level: Intermediate (3-6) | Grade Level: Primary (PK-2) | Lessons/Activities/Templates

"Explore Your World" Lesson Plan Unit

By: VariQuest Visual & Kinesthetic Learning Tools
August 17th, 2017

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."

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Lessons/Activities/Templates

Reflection: Lesson Plans for the End of the School Year

By: Julia Cremin
May 30th, 2017

Summer is right around the corner, and in a perfect world, your classroom is humming along like a well-oiled machine with students trained in classroom routines and expectations. Truth is: the end of the year can be challenging for staff and students alike. With end-of-year testing, constantly changing schedules, and trying to keep a lid on students who are anxious to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, it can be difficult to fill in the gaps with engaging activities during the last couple of weeks at school. Use your VariQuest tools to support some interesting and meaningful end of year activities in your classroom. 

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Featured Topics: Student Engagement | Lessons/Activities/Templates | Featured Topics: Lessons and Activities

Tips to Engage Students While Closing Down Your Classroom and Prepping for the Fall

By: Melissa Hughes, Ph.D.
May 23rd, 2017

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.

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Lessons/Activities/Templates

Make Time Fly! Lesson Plans for the End of the School Year

By: Julia Cremin
May 16th, 2017

The sun has risen before you begin your commute to work and is miraculously still shining when you arrive back home. The weekends in your planner for the summer are quickly filling with vacations, weddings and other fun celebrations. Your new sandals have arrived in the box on your doorstep. It can only mean one thing… summer is right around the corner.

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