This issue of the Quarterly Newsletter features:
- How RAFT honors a diverse range of educators for exceptional hands-on teaching with our quarterly Hands-On Award and the annual Robert Brownlee Award. We hope these profiles inspire you to tell your story or nominate an exceptional science teacher!
- How RAFT is helping educators make the connections between the Common Core Standards and hands-on teaching.
- New and coming-soon highlights– RAFT online store Educator Accounts, Back to School (better than ever!), and a peek at our plan’s for this year’s annual fundraising dinner.
We hope everyone is having a wonderful summer and, as always, thanks for all of your support!
At RAFT we see examples of exceptional teaching every single day. Educators from in and outside the classroom come through our doors and to the online store looking for ideas and resources that will help them convey complex concepts and get their students excited about learning. RAFT hands-on teaching resources are especially effective in conveying science and math concepts because children learn by experimenting through trial and error. When students realize they can master science, math and other topics they get excited about learning and the possibilities they envision for their future expands.
In addition to providing ideas, professional development, and hands-on learning activities, RAFT promotes exceptional teaching by honoring educators of all kinds with RAFT’s “Hands-on” Award which is given to two educators each quarter. This program was started in 2011 and the library of best practices is growing on how the “Hands-On” award winners use hands-on teaching in a variety of settings, including science classrooms, after-school programs, and home school and faith-based environments, and vocational programs for adults with special needs. If you or someone you know meets the criteria for this award, please fill out the application form. We would love to hear from you.
The Robert Brownlee Award is another way we recognize exceptional teaching. Each year the outstanding efforts of a science teacher using hands-on learning in their classroom are recognized with this award made possible by a visionary scientist, Robert Brownlee. A creative genius,his inventions provided elegant solutions to complicated problems. If you know a K-12 grade science teacher that successfully uses hands-on learning methods to engage their students and you would like to nominate them for this award, please submit the form by August 30. The winner will be awarded at our annual fundraising dinner on October 9.
Hands-on strategies will play a pivotal role in Common Core (and, later on, Next Generation Science) instruction, which emphasizes how students find answers and solutions (critical thinking, evaluation, research, etc.) rather than simply the answer itself. Hands-on teaching builds and re-enforces this level of learning and RAFT believes it is the best way to spark the love of learning and inspire the next generation of thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and creators.
RAFT can show you how to connect hands-on teaching to the Common Core. We align RAFT Activity Kits and Idea Sheets to the latest nationally adopted curriculum standards. Our Activity Kits are already used in multiple states to educate teachers on STEM. Our Professional Development offering includes training on the effective use of hands-on teaching. Be sure to check out which RAFT Activity Kits and Idea sheets meet the Common Core Standards.
- Refresh, Restore, Reset – During these so-called lazy days of summer, we could not be busier and more focused than we are right now getting everything ready for Back-to-School, the biggest shopping time of the year for teachers. We have been sprucing up both RAFT Bay Area locations with improved store layout and signage to give our members the best shopping experience possible. We can’t wait to show off the new appearance and feel of our stores plus plenty of materials, supplies, and hands-on teaching resources. RAFT Back to School Info: RAFT Redwood City – Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27; RAFT San Jose – Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4.
- Time saving, back-to-school savings – just for RAFT members! Now when you shop the RAFT online store you pay comparable prices to Activity Kits sold in RAFT’s physical store locations in San Jose and Redwood City while you enjoy the convenience of online shopping! We’ve even added a store pickup option!
- Ready to compete in the 21st century – Preparations are underway for RAFT’s Annual Fundraising Dinner on Oct. 9. This is also a celebration of exceptional teaching and the power of hands-on teaching. The year we’ll enjoy the thrill of THE AMAZING RACE, as we race toward the finish line and build up 21st –century momentum for Bay Area youth. This one-of-a-kind adventure includes an evening of fine dining, unique entertainment, and fun hands-on experiences that will inspire and amaze!