November 2015

RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers and creators is through hands-on learning. As a nonprofit organization founded in 1994, RAFT leverages community donations and volunteer support to serve 11,000 educators each year who teach nearly 900,000 students.


Upcoming Closures
  • Thanksgiving: closed beginning Thursday, November 26th, reopening Tuesday, December 1st.
  • Inventory and Holidays: closed beginning Sunday, December 13th, reopening Tuesday, January 5th, 2016.
Open House Thursdays in November!
During the month of November, RAFT is hosting an all-day Open House event on Thursdays. Please spread the word to your fellow educators that no day pass or membership is required to visit RAFT on that day. We have just one Thursday left, November 19th! During this Open House, our Master Teacher will hold an activity from 4:00-7:oopm
 (see below in Events for details)

Gobble, gobble, gobble! Membership special the month of November!


During the month of November, come to RAFT and say "Gobble, gobble, gobble!" to our staff and receive a 50% discount on the yearly membership! Once you've gobbled, the regularly priced $40 membership will be reduced to $20 just for you!


Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts Membership Special From now until January 31st, RAFT is offering Girl Scout and Boy Scout leaders the chance join RAFT at a discount of $20 (regularly $40)!

  Science Sale!

We have a fabulous assortment of glass and plastic Erlenmeyer Flasks and graduated cylinders!  Sizes vary from

100mL to 2000mL. Priced $2 - $10 while supplies last.



Free This Week!

24"x 24" particle board wood with cylinder cut out.


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News and Events

November Open House

Date: November 12th, 2015
Time: 4:00pm-7:00pm 
Location: Both RAFT Locations
At the open house on Thursday, November 12th we will introduce a series of kits from Nature-Watch that will now be available from RAFT. We will have a science specialist there to answer your questions and plenty of kits and associated materials for you to try. The Nature-Watch kits are very highly regarded and RAFT has created STEM charts for each so you can easily tie them to student activities and the new curriculum standards. Sampled kits will include Food Chain Model, Starry Starry Day, and many more!


Mercury News and RAFT No Longer Running Gift of Reading Program 

It’s with heavy hearts that we send this letter to announce the end of the Gift of Reading program. The Mercury News has sponsored this book drive for many years to help support literacy for local children in our community. Though both organizations continue to work to support literacy and learning initiatives for local schools and children, the Gift of Reading program specifically will no longer be run by the Mercury News and RAFT.


Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Professional  Development Reimbursement Program

Are you a Transitional Kindergarten Teacher who is interested in learning how to best meet the needs of your students? Are you wondering how you might cover the costs of quality coursework and professional development? You may be eligible for reimbursement for:

  • Registration fees
  • Books and materials
  • Tuition

For more information and to apply go to: Workshops





Seema Khan, RAFT Instructional Technology Educator and a official trainer is providing no cost, one-day workshops for elementary school teachers interested in teaching computer science.

What’s in a workshop?
In-person instruction from an experienced computer science facilitator, including an intro to computer science, pedagogy, overview of the online curriculum, teacher dashboard, and strategies for teaching “unplugged” classroom activities.
There is no charge for these workshops. You’ll also receive a printed curriculum guide and a Certificate of Completion.

Sign up now to start teaching life-changing skills! Please click the link provided with each session date to register.

December 5: Code Studio Workshop (at RAFT Redwood City)

For questions and comments, please contact Seema Khan at


RAFT Collaborates With New Teacher Center on Science-Focused Professional Development Program for Bay Area Teachers

RAFT has partnered with New Teacher Center (NTC) to strengthen science education in the Bay Area by creating a professional development program for lead teachers in the Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Mt. Pleasant, and Oak Grove School Districts, all part of San Jose’s East Side Alliance. Continue reading here.


Back in the Classroom: Displaced Students in Nigeria Find Education & Hope


Ikilima Shuib Chiroma teaches a class of adolescent girls on Sept. 21.

Published by:
Author: Michael J. Zamba and David Snyder

Like most 10-year-old students, Dinah solves her math problems in the old-fashioned way-with her fingers. She counts to six and jots down the number.

For Dinah’s extended family, they are counting something entirely different-the months since the girl lost her mother during a raid by Boko Haram insurgents on her village in northern Nigeria. Continue reading here. 



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Hands-On Activities

Mathematical Symmetry Model

Students create symmetrical models that are self-representational. Designing the model facilitates students’ cultural exploration. Completed models can be used as the basis of a story and/or play.

View activity here.

Grades Covered: Pre-K through 2
Subjects Covered: Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, Art
Curriculum Topics: Symmetry & Patterns, Self -awareness, Self- Representation, Cultural Exploration


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Professional Development

We have an exciting selection of new workshops being offered with a great group of returning instructors. Our workshops are designed to enrich educational programs by facilitating the practice of hands-on teaching across the curriculum. All RAFT workshops offer you the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from San Jose State University.


Saturday, November 21st – Practical Origami and Tinkering with Science Toys: You can use so many inexpensive materials to create practical and fun building activities for your students. Not only will your students learn how to re-use materials creatively, they’ll also practice following directions, paying attention to detail, and persevering!

Register for workshops at

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was last modified: November 3rd, 2015 by admin