Newsletter: September 27, 2016


Tuesday – Thursday, September 27-29th
For our Annual Fundraising Dinner.
During our closure our Redwood City Location will be open
Wed. and Thurs. 10:30am – 5:30pm.


The Western Monarch butterflies along the California Coast are in decline: their population is down 74 % from 20 years ago. One reason for this reduction is the loss of the host-plant, California Narrowleaf Milkweed (NLM).
Our purpose is to distribute NLM plants to educators in support of the Western Monarch, Life-Cycle Unit. Distribution will be at RAFT San Jose, 1355 Ridder Park Drive, Thursday, October 13th, 2pm-7pm
Request your FREE NLM plants today. A request form and information to assist educators with the success of their NLM plants is available HERE.
More Questions contact: Patrick Pizzo


Bring the coupon your received at our Back to School event in August to
either RAFT San Jose or Redwood City in the month of October to
enter our drawing for a KINDLE!
Drawing will be Saturday, October 29th….GOOD LUCK!



Round Robin: Assessment                                                         Clever Cultural Math 
Technique Workshop                                                                  Explorations Workshop
Saturday, October 8, 2016                                                          Saturday, October 22, 2016 
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM                                                                   10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Work At RAFT

Newsletter: September 20, 2016

Basket with apples on the fallen leavesarched-bridge


In This Issue 

  • Girl Scout Silver Award Project
  • Upcoming Closures
  • Grants for Teachers
  • Professional Development Workshops
  • What’s in Store
  • Featured Kit: The Hovercraft
  • Work at RAFT – We’re Hiring!
  • First Day of Autumn – Sept. 22nd

12 fun things to do with the kids outdoors this autumn.

 Upcoming Closures 

TuesdayThursday, September 27-29th  RAFT San Jose will be closed for our
Annual Fundraising Dinner. Our Redwood City Location will be open.
Find more info on our here.

Girl Scout Silver Award Project Benefits RAFT

A local Girl Scout, Anooshkha, recently coordinated a project at RAFT as part of earning her Silver Award.  She organized a group of fellow Scouts, friends, and family members and they cleaned and
painted 30 storage barrels for RAFT.
The Silver Award is one of the highest awards a Girl Scout can earn.
Congratulations to Anooshkha!!   Thank you for helping beautify RAFT.




Grants For Teachers

Nature Works Everywhere are awarding grants to support projects that implement green infrastructure to address local environmental challenges. These include access to healthy food, air quality, heat island effect, climate change, or storm water collection. Young people will work as social innovators to help their communities through project design and implementation.A $2,000 grant will be awarded to 55 schools. See the detailed description, link below linked on this page for full requirements, guidelines, and important dates. A sample application and letters of commitment are also available. this is a nationwide grant program, not just local.
Applications must be submitted online by 5 PM ET October 31, 2016.   Start your application here.

RAFT Professional Development Workshops



Our workshops are a perfect opportunity to collaborate with experts and peers to enhance your skills.
Sign up Today! Classes fill up quick!

Round Robin: Assessment Technique Workshop – Saturday, October 8, 2016 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

What’s a Round Robin? Its an arousing, interactive round-table discussion around intriguing education-centered topics. Join us this week for the conversation about the impacts of assessments! We will engage in discussion about different assessment techniques to use in a classroom with PBL, Design Thinking, Design Challenges, etc. We will also explore different activities to get familiar with some assessment tools.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Educators of grades Pre-K to 8
COST: Free for members; $15 for non-members
Enroll Now

Clever Cultural Math Explorations Workshop – Saturday, October 22, 2016 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
This class was inspired by Native American Indian, Russian, Japanese, and African artifacts. Connect standards in Art, Social Studies, and Mathematics with Design Challenges that investigate symmetry, area, volume, tessellations, scale factors, proportions, and more in cultural artifacts. Explore geometric and algebraic concepts with Design Thinking techniques! Includes handouts and make & take samples! Suitable for grades 5-8.

TARGET AUDIENCE: Educators of grade levels 5 to 8
COST: $25 for members; $45 for non-members
Enroll Now


Keep Your Children Close By

RAFT is a Resource Area For Teaching – A professional home where educators can find individualized support, opportunities to connect with other teaching professionals, and time and space for reflection away from students as they prepare future lessons.

To ensure that the RAFT environment can meet those needs, our policy is that you may only bring children under 12 to RAFT on Thursdays. For your child’s safety and to ensure all members have a great experience when they visit RAFT please be sure to keep your children near you at all times.

September 22nd is the First Day of Autumn!

What’s in Store












A hovercraft is a vehicle supported on a cushion of air supplied by a powered fan mounted on the craft.The hovercraft was invented by Christopher Cockerell in 1956. The theory behind one of the most successful inventions of the 20th century, the Hovercraft, was  to build a vehicle that would move over the water’s surface, floating on a layer of air. This would reduce friction between the water and vehicle. Learn more.

Explore how a hovercraft can glide smoothly along by constructing this quick-to-assemble four-piece model. Once the hovercraft is built, test it on any smooth, flat surface. For more information view ourIdea Sheet. Grades Covered: 4 through 12
Subjects  Covered: Physical Science
Curriculum topics:

  • Friction
  • Air Pressure
  • Motion
  • Inertia
Purchase here

Work at RAFT


Maker Education Developer & Coach 
We are looking for someone that can collaborate with a team of teachers and curriculum developers to build joyful, engaging, and effective maker experiences for classrooms all over the Bay Area.
Retail Stock Associate
We are looking for someone to work closely with the Site Manager. This person will  identify merchandise for re-stock/ordering, receive and process products from the RAFT warehouse, refresh/create retail displays, and contribute to overall retail operations. This is a position with physical labor.


Newsletter: August 30, 2016

Portrait of happy schoolgirl in jump looking at camera

In This Issue

Sales on both paper and dice, upcoming closures, job openings at RAFT,
privacy kit, and catapults! Plus our featured tweet.

Upcoming Closures

  • RAFT Redwood City will be closed on Saturday, Sept. 3 for Labor Day and due to SMCOE site closure
  • RAFT San Jose will be closed on Tuesday, Sept. 6 for Labor Day.  We will be open Saturday September 3
  • RAFT San Jose will be closed to prep for our Annual Fundraising Dinner beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 27 and will reopen Friday, Sept. 30
  • There will be no newsletter on Sept 6, enjoy your Labor Day Holiday too!

Free Online Privacy Toolkit

The San Jose Public Library offers a free online privacy toolkit.  This is open to everyone,
no San Jose library card is required. Learn about privacy topics and generate a custom
privacy toolkit geared towards your online needs. Toolkits include links, tips, and
resources that empower you to customize your online identity. Email or print your privacy
toolkit for future use.  Use personally and/or with your students

RAFT and The Tech Museum at ReV Up

Join us Saturday September 10 at Gilroy High School at the 20th annual Expanded Learning Conference presented by Region 5 After School Partnerships and their Partners.  RAFT and The Tech Museum will be presenting at 1pm:  Making the Leap through Engineering: Crossing Expanses with RAFT and The Tech.  Attendees will learn  how to teach students to explore the engineering design process while engaging in a design challenge module designed by RAFT and inspired by the 2017 Tech Challenge on crossing land mass. Build interesting solutions and experience the excitement students will feel as engineers in training. Participating organizations will receive a free kit.  Full details about ReV Up are here.

What’s in Store

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Specialty Dice 20% off: Use them for all sorts of games, some are foam – great for your little ones.  We have interesting shapes, colors, and type of dice.  They have numbers, words, units of money, body parts, graphics of emotions – tons of variety.  Come see!

Paper sale.  8.5×11″ and 8.5×14″is $2 per ream or 18×24″ white opaque is $15 for a box of 1500 sheets AND oversized cardstock is 10 cents per sheet!.


Tweet of the Week!

Thanks for the love Amber!  Glad you were able to find such great treasures at RAFT.  We hope our members always feel that they are winning!

Featured Kit: Staple Remover Catapult

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Action with stored potential energy
A catapult is, in terms of simple machines, a lever .
The action of the catapult, however, is directed toward throwing,rather than lifting. Catapults incorporate not
only a simple machine but also demonstrate Newton’s
second law of motion (F = ma), and the principle of angular acceleration.
Catapults work by storing potential energy.  Forms include the torsion in twisted ropes, the compression of bent strips, or the tension of stretched elastic bands. In this catapult potential energy is stored by bending a metal spring. When the spoon of the catapult is released the potential energy in the bent spring is unnamed (1)converted into kinetic energy as the spring unbends.
Curriculum topics:
  • Motion and Forces
  • Early Technology
  • Potential and Kinetic Energy

Grades: 3-8

We’re Hiring!

Material Donations Specialist:
We’re looking for someone to help us source amazing and
creative materials for our members!

Retail Associate: For our San Jose location

Master Teacher and Curriculum Developer

Click here to learn more!

Professional Development

RAFT Summer Workshops: EduCamp

This summer, we’re launching, RAFT EduCamp – professional development training different than you usually receive, a summer camp-like experience that is fun, engaging, and most of all useful. The camp sessions, held throughout July, will focus on the following 5 themes: Design Thinking, Design Challenges, Project-Based Learning (PBL), the Innovative Classroom, or the Outdoor Classroom. Some of the sessions are further focused by student grade range.

Each session provides “campers” the opportunity to do interesting activities that can be easily used to teach design, teamwork, critical thinking, and innovation using a variety of materials found at RAFT. Our curriculum is aligned with standards but the emphasis at RAFT EduCamp is on creativity and fun for participants!  Both members and non members are welcome. Get all the details here:

Tuesday, July 5th: Engagement through Design Thinking 

Thursday, July 7th (Redwood City): Design Challenge Lessons with Raw Materials

Tuesday, July 12th: The Nuts & Bolts of PBL

Thursday, July 14th (Redwood City): Designing the PBL Experience

Monday, July 18th: The Innovative Classroom (Pre-K – 2)

Thursday, July 21stThe Innovative Classroom (Grades 3 – 5)

Friday, July 22nd: The Innovative Classroom (Middle School)

Monday, July 25th: The Outdoor Classroom (Pre-K – 2)

Wednesday, July 27th: The Outdoor Classroom (Grades 3 – 5)

Friday, July 29th: The Outdoor Classroom (Middle School) 






News & Events

News For Our Retired Educators

RAFT now offers $10 memberships to retired educators, even if the membership has expired. Please note, this promo is in-store only.


Geometry Comes Alive with Cultural Explorations

Author: Jeanne Lazzarini, RAFT Math Educator/R&D Specialist

Here’s how I get third graders excited about geometry in the real world: we begin our investigation in the Empathize phase by looking at videos and artifacts of different Native American figures, Navajo blanket and basket designs, dream catchers, Kachina dolls, etc., listening to background traditional Native American Indian flute music. We examine not only the various geometric shapes in the cultural adornments, but also the stories, associations and the values that they represent. Continue reading here.


Share your RAFT story!

If you love our work then tell the world! Stories about us from people like you will help us make an even bigger impact in our community. GreatNonprofits – the #1 source of nonprofit stories and feedback – is honoring highly regarded nonprofits with their 2016 Top-Rated List. Won’t you help us raise visibility for our work by posting a brief story of your experience with us? All content will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes! Go here to get started!


We’re Hiring!

Master Teacher and Curriculum Developer

Marketing Communications Manager

Development Director

Click here to learn more!