Early Childhood and Head Start Programs can benefit from the VariQuest products in their classrooms. The Cutout Maker, Poster Maker and Awards Maker are excellent tools to help create a print rich environment with opportunities to learn lurking in every corner!
The Cutout Maker can really help students by creating manipulatives to use during their lessons. One of the great things about the Cutout Maker is you can pre-laminate your construction paper using a cold laminator so your shapes are cut laminated and ready to go! You could easily attach a small piece of Velcro to the back and utilize a felt board with your shapes.
Common early math skills include learning patterns and counting. Use the Cutout Maker to create a variety of shapes like different flowers or bugs. Set these up in a pattern and ask the students which comes next. With the same set up, you could also ask the students to group matching shapes together and count how many are in each group. Make it more involved and have them also practice identifying colors.
The Cutout Maker can also cut out words and letters. With Total Access Shapes, you could utilize the ABC cards which cut out the upper and lowercase letter with a shape that begins with that letter. Have the students practice tracing the letters to familiarize them with the letters. Ask the students to find the card that starts their name. Build on those skills as their learning progresses and ask them to find other students’ names.
You can build word walls with the addition of images to help them learn words. For example, cutout the word cat and add an image of the cat. With your word wall, you can even ask the students to match the image to the word.
Create rules posters with images to help your students learn the rules of the classroom. You can also create posters that will be utilized during “read around the room” activities. Put small poems or short stories on a poster and read these with the students. You can also create a timeline poster and ask the students what happened during a story you’ve read together.
Create centers devoted to poster activities. Create a Venn Diagram and give the students sorting activities with cutout shapes. More useful posters in the templates collection are the scenery posters. The students can either draw on the scene or place cutouts in the scene and talk out a story. By engaging in the scenery and using their imagination, the student is also actively creating dialogue and practicing speech.
Create simple board games on a poster and laminate it so you can use the board year round. A standard board can have many applications by just changing out the cards students turn over during the game. For example, create one set of cards with dots on them and the students can advance as many spaces as there are dots on the card. Create a second set of cards with letters on them. If the student is able to identify the letter, they can move forward one space.
In addition to creating quick awards like plaques for “Outstanding Reader” or small stickers that say “I am Polite”, you can also create bumper stickers to promote and grow a program like Head Start.
The Awards Maker can also help create signs to post in areas of the classroom. For example, create a sign that identifies the “reading nook” or label boxes in your classroom with stickers that say “crayons” or “scissors” with an image of the item in the box. Those labels can be used during the “read around the room” activities too!
Having text in your classroom and even down the hallways helps the students learn that text is a part of everyday life and it can encourage their curiosity in the written word.