Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘hands on learning’

RAFT For Smooth Sailing

Posted by terrepruitt on May 23, 2013

A friend of my communicated with me that the company she worked for was going to be volunteering at RAFT.  She asked me if I wanted to join them.  I didn’t know what RAFT was.  So I looked it up online and I saw what it stood for so I said yes.  RAFT is Resource Area For Teaching.  I showed up not knowing what they really did.  I didn’t look at the website beyond the meaning of the acronym.  After listening to the short orientation about what RAFT is I was very impressed.  I was excited to learn that there is this type resource available to teachers.  I know many teachers work way more than the school day hours and put a lot of their own money into supplies.  I thought that RAFT might be something to help them out.  RAFT is as a non-profit organization that supplies teachers with Idea Sheets, materials and other resources. RAFT also holds workshop for Educators.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaRAFT understands that the hands on approach is a very powerful way to learn.  Their mission is to “inspire the joy and discovery of learning” through hands on learning.  The website has hundreds of “Idea Sheets” that teachers can print at no charge.  These sheets are guides on lessons that correlate to the subjects and things that need to be taught in California.  But anyone teaching kids can use them because they are on a variety of subjects.  The sheets can be searched by subject or grade/level.  The sheets state the materials needed, how to assemble the learning tool, the grade it corresponds to as well as the California Standard, the science behind it and alternative lessons that can be taught.  Some of the idea sheets also have actual kits you can purchase through RAFT.  But you can always obtain the materials yourself.  Some things needed could be stuff you have around your house.

RAFT receives surplus “stuff” from businesses and they create learning tools from these spare parts.  These are the Activity Kits that can be purchased.  It is really cool because RAFT takes stuff that businesses more than likely would just be throwing away and they create a learning project from it.  I thought that was so cool.  RAFT is recycling by using things in a different way than was originally intended.  When I was there we were using a CD/DVD Spindle, a CD/DVD, a CD/DVD case to create kits.  We kept saying as we were assembling the kits that we would have to see what it was that we were putting together, but then we never did.  And I was at the front of the assembly line so I don’t even know what else was in it except I saw sticks, straws, and string.  I looked online and I don’t see the kit available yet so I can’t try to figure it out from the website.

In addition to the Idea Sheets, Activity Kits, workshops, and mentoring RAFT also has common classroom supplies available to teachers as a discount.  So overall RAFT sounds like a great resource for teachers.  I love that RAFT uses stuff that would just end up in the garbage.  That the materials they are keeping out of the landfills actually go to making a project for children to learn from is just super delicious icing on the cake!  Then having all of this help teachers.  I was just so excited and impressed I had to share.  I didn’t know this place, this type of thing existed.  I am really glad I agreed to volunteer even though I had no idea what it was about.

If you teach kids I hope that you will take a moment to look at this GREAT resource that is available to you.

Did you know about RAFT?  Have you ever used one of their Idea Sheets?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »