Category VariQuest

VariQuest Suite with Learning Focused Strategies

ClassroomCharles Rushe Middle School in Pasco County, Florida is a Learning Focused School. To implement the strategies in each of their classrooms, the school started using their new VariQuest Poster Maker and Cutout Maker. According to Anna Condoleon, Rushe Middle School’s Media Specialist, there was a line at the beginning of the school year for teachers to use the VariQuest Cutout Maker and Poster Maker! As Ms. Condoleon and I walked around the school, we saw the visual aids they’ve made.

The Cutout Maker is used extensively to help showcase material posted around each classroom. For example, many teachers have created a bulletin board using the Cutout Maker’s letters and shapes to create a vivid background to post student work on. These bulletin boards provide the students the opportunity to see the progress they’ve made.

Each teacher also has a word wall somewhere in their classroom. It may be a portion of their wall or a bulletin board devoted to displaying vocabulary for the lessons and unit the students are currently working on. Many of the teachers got creative with the headings that they designed on the Cutout Maker labeling their word walls as “Word Blast” or “Vocab is Fab!”. Some teachers even took the time to create the vocabulary words on the Cutout Maker too!

ClassroomThe majority of the classrooms I stopped in also created headings for their essential questions so the students knew where to look to find the questions. This creates uniformity – most of the teachers posted their headings on the left side of their white board so they could easily change the question as the unit progressed and the students are able to look to the same location in every classroom.

Ms. Grau, a Language Arts teacher, created a poster entitled “Questions to Promote Thinking Skills”. The questions posed on the poster help the students learn how to think more critically when reading passages, novels, articles and poetry. On a different portion of her wall, she had several brick posters. Each student from each class period fills in a brick with one of the books he or she read recently, also adding a one to five star rating. This way, the students share the books they like or dislike with each other.

Another teacher created a poster on her door listing different ways for students to interact with text. This gives them something to read while waiting to enter the room. On the list were things like write a letter to the author, write a one minute radio advertisement about the book, and design a time line of events from the book. The media center has posted an essential question above the computers reminding students about how to implement their researching skills.

Fundraising with the VariQuest Awards Maker

Sports seasons are in full swing. If you have a lot of attendants for school games and parking is troublesome, why not create “season parking passes” with the Awards Maker? You can sell hang tags for attendants to hang from their rear-view mirror that get them access to the sought after parking spots!

Take time to promote school spirit and raise some funds for your school at the same time. During a sporting event, make an announcement that you’re going to have a battle between the school spirit of the two teams. You’re going to count how many school stickers they can buy by the end of the game. Take your Awards Maker and Design Center to the game to print stickers and bumper stickers to sell to the spectators. Between quarters, give the audience an update on who is winning to try and ramp up the sales!

Click here for an example of how to use your Awards Maker

Fundraising with the VariQuest Learning Tools

The Creative Learning Team participated in the Career Technology Education shows in Georgia, Florida and Alabama last month.

Visitors saw how the VariQuest Poster Maker, Cutout Maker, and Awards Maker can be used to create revenue for their schools. The booth was set up as a school store with samples of items the students could sell to students, staff and even the community. Lenn Fraraccio and Alex Millender, a couple of our sales representatives, shared some of the ways these tools can be used.

One big school event is the awards banquet. Schools often have to have a list of students receiving awards weeks in advance to be able to order the awards. With the Awards Maker, the students could be in charge of fulfilling the plaque orders in house which saves both time and money.

High Schools have unique fundraising opportunities, thanks to seniors and sports teams. The Awards Maker can create car window decals for the “Class of 2009” High School and Middle School sports teams can sell posters with a photo of the team and the game schedule. Stickers that say “I support Girls’ Volleyball”, “Go Lancers!”, or a school letter are other ways to highlight school spirit.

footballSome high schools even have a Sports Marketing team in charge of creating signage to drum up attendance at sporting events. In addition to advertising for the actual game, they also create posters and stickers that serve as advertisements for local businesses who sponsor the school. For example, a local store may pay the sports marketing group to create advertising stickers to place on water bottles.

Schools can hold scrapbooking nights where students, parents and teachers have access to the Cutout Maker’s library of shapes to create scrapbook pages. It’s an easy and fun fundraising event for schools to hold.

Print Rich Back to School Ideas for Teachers

Back to School IdeasStart the year off with everyone on the same page. Have the classroom rules printed and posted in the same spot in each classroom to create a sense of uniformity for the students – they’ll know where to look for guidance!

Help the new students find their way around the building by posting maps of the campus. Nobody wants to feel lost and rushed for time between classes! Scan and print it a copy on your Poster Maker!
Create bulletin boards that highlight afterschool and extracurricular activities the students can join like Chess Club, Tutoring, Yearbook, and Sports clubs.

A great elementary school opportunity for poster fundraisers is to sell birthday posters. Send the students home with a flyer informing the parents “Happy Birthday” posters are available to purchase for their child. The poster could be posted in the home-room, media center or cafeteria, Post the personalized poster the week of the student’s birthday and give it to them to take home at the end of the week. If you have an Awards Maker, you can quickly make a sticker for the student to wear the day of his or her birthday!

Click here for samples ideas

In the Spotlight

By Victoria Cobb, Creative Learning Coordinator

A.J. Ferrell Middle School, Tampa, FL

A.J. Ferrell Middle School

This school invested in a Varitronics Poster Printer two years ago, and later purchased the remaining items in the VariQuest product line. They have nothing but wonderful things to say about the value of these products. As I walked around the school with Lisa Cobb, Lead Teacher for Curriculum Integration, we saw how they use the VariQuest products to educate, motivate and communicate with the A.J. Ferrell Middle School community.

We stopped in Mrs. Reed-Oliver’s classroom to discuss a new etymology lesson plan. Each day, she places a new word on her word wall. The students work in groups to research the origin, definitions, history and take note of any roots, prefixes or suffixes hidden in the word. Her goal is to help the students understand the complexity of the English language. To kick-start her lesson plan, she holds a mini scavenger hunt for some words to get them familiar with the skills. As the lessons progress, her wall fills with words and the students’ related discoveries.

A.J. Ferrell Middle School

Mr. Simon, a technology teacher, has just started creating a motivational wall for his students. Using the Cutout Maker he created the title “Mr. Simon’s Stars,” and based on student’s work, he’ll be selecting his star students. Their photos will be placed inside a star frame that will also be created on the Cutout Maker.

Ms. Cobb has used the Awards Maker to create plaques. A.J. Ferrell Middle School recently had a breakfast for the students who received the Principal’s Honor Roll. Each student received a certificate and plaque for their accomplishments.

Ms. Cobb also created plaques as a way to show her appreciation for the school’s international partners. On a trip abroad, she hand delivered a plaque to Beijing 101 Middle School! A.J. Ferrell Middle School often creates a plaque for special guests of the school too. It is a quick and easy way to show their appreciation.

On my way out, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sykes, the new principal. To herald his arrival to the A.J. Ferrell Middle School community, the staff created banners and posters to welcome him to the school.