The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Suite Blog contains resources on classroom ideas, lesson plans, industry news, events, and offers throughout education.
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Are you a VariQuest customer? Are staff members at your school creating cool things with your VariQuest tools? Show all of us what you can do, and WIN!
We're coming up to the month of March, where [we hope] spring is springing and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) celebrates Music in our Schools Month. Jennie Nichols, music teacher to 650 K-5 elementary students at Covington-Harper Elementary School in Virginia, has a busy March every year, as they celebrate the month's distinction. In 2019, Ms. Nichols was putting on six grade-level concerts in just one week, and she thought, wouldn't it be great to recognize all the students' hard work and document the days with a fun photo booth?
Anoka/Washington County Head Start, based in Coon Rapids, MN, provides education, nutrition, mental health, school readiness and parent engagement services to children (aged 3-5) and families from income-eligible households. With nearly 115 dedicated staff, this Head Start program is equipped to foster a Pre-K learning environment for hundreds of enrolled children and families to learn, grow and thrive! As Kristi Edmonds, Child Development Services Coordinator with Anoka/Washington County Head Start trains and provides mentoring services to staff, she focuses on the overall experience of the classroom - guiding and supporting everyday needs for curriculum implementation. To help with this effort, the decision was made in June of 2017 to invest in the VariQuest Cutout Maker 1800, using State and Federal Grant Funding.
For 30 years, Greece Professional Learning Center (PLC) in Rochester, NY has been providing academic resources and professional learning opportunities to educators and community groups. Having the VariQuest Cutout Maker 1800, “...has changed how we support teachers,” says Marguerite Dimgba, Program Director. With over 4,500 shapes to choose from in a variety of sizes, teachers are able to create academic resources that support the needs of the students in their classrooms in areas such as social emotional learning and culturally responsive education.
With an emphasis on CTE programs in schools on the rise, so too are student-based enterprises - where students can brainstorm ideas, design and develop products, market their offerings, monitor inventory, balance finances, and nurture patronage - covering many of the 16 Career Clusters and developing students' real world skills. Such is the case at Higgins Middle School in Peabody, Massachusetts, where the students are tasked with running a multi-service print shop fully equipped with VariQuest® Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools.
3D Printing is a relatively new concept in education curriculum - but it engages all kinds of learners, and instills real-world critical thinking and innovative problem-solving 21st century skills. Seems to be a no-brainer for an educator looking to breathe new life into a STEM curriculum. At Holly Grove Elementary School in Holly Springs, North Carolina, Ms. Jennifer Starkey, a technology teacher, has been thrilled to watch her students design, create, and learn when the VariQuest Trifecta™ 800 3D Printer brings their ideas to life - which has made her classroom the most popular in the school. With over 1,100 students in grades K-6, including some Pre-K and special education students, Ms. Starkey needed a solution to engage every learner. Starting with her 2nd, 4th, and 5th graders, who are fully immersed in the 3D printing hands-on learning tasks, the classroom has turned out some pretty amazing projects as they Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve, and Share (The Engingeering Design Cycle). It's easy to see how 3D Printing is benefiting education at Holly Grove...
CTE programs are built for students to learn their coursework by applying their knowledge to real-world scenarios, prepping them for future education or careers. The Career Academy (TCA) in Lincoln, Nebraska is an exemplary model for this. A collaborative effort between Southeast Community College and the Lincoln Public School District, high school juniors and seniors are invited to attend the academy for two hours each day during the regular school year, participating in high school and dual-credit courses through 16 different career pathways, while taking the rest of their classes at their “home” high school. Upon graduation, students are better-prepared to enter the workforce, work towards a certificate in their chosen field, or continue on to college – taking their career course credits with them. Thanks to an anonymous gift from a generous donor, Southeast Community College purchased the VariQuest suite of tools for TCA and through various activities, they’ve been able to fill the walls of classrooms and support various career pathways; preparing students for whatever endeavor their future holds….
As students enter the corridors of Dolgeville Elementary School (and their classrooms) it's easy for them to become enthralled with the colorful displays that adorn nearly every wall of their building thanks to their creative staff and the VariQuest Cutout Maker. When Dreams Come True In spring of 2014, Susan Butler's (Principal at Dolgeville) dream came true when their Parent Teacher Organization purchased the Cutout Maker for their teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week. This gesture of gratitude is typical of their PTO, but usually the gift is around $500-$600. In 2014 however, after Susan saw the Cutout Maker at a trade show, she was able to talk them into a larger purchase turning her dream into a reality.