To make hands-on teaching easy and accessible for all educators, RAFT has developed a library of more than 600 Idea Sheets outlining creative activities that utilize commonly-found materials to engage students as they learn complex concepts in subjects such as science and math. Teachers can find relevant activities by searching for content standard, grade level, or subject and then download Idea Sheets for free. With the implementation of new national standards, Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards, there is much work to be done to correlate these standards with the extensive resource library.
Cisco, a long-time RAFT supporter, saw this as a unique opportunity to engage employees in volunteerism while addressing RAFT’s pressing need. Each year, hundreds of Cisco employees volunteer at RAFT to build hands-on Activity Kits, but Cisco has now found a way for employees to use both minds and hands to enhance RAFT’s goal of sparking the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators.
In one afternoon, 50 Cisco employees participated in RAFT’s second curriculum “align-a-thon” and mapped RAFT science activities to the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This past spring a group of volunteers from Cisco connected RAFT activities to the new English Language Arts Content Standards, which set the stage for this month’s science-focused event.
After receiving a NGSS orientation, small groups of Cisco employees dissected each of the activities to determine which of the new standards they fulfill. By working in groups, the volunteers provided different points of view and created an efficient system for categorizing the 155 RAFT activities. At the end of an afternoon of engaging discussion and flying papers, each of the activities had been aligned!
“The seeds we plant today, with a Glove-a-Phone here or an Activity Kit there, literally give space for young minds to grow, love learning, and expand horizons,” said Jessica Graham, Cisco Community Relations.
In just a few hours, Cisco employees accomplished what would have taken RAFT’s education team days or weeks to achieve, streamlining updates for one of RAFT’s most valuable educator resources. RAFT applauds the innovation of Cisco employees and looks forward to making this new search utility available to the thousands of educators who download Idea Sheets each year.