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Impacting Children Worldwide: RAFT's Trip to Kenya

RAFT employee, Sylvia lodge, recently made a trip to Kenya and was able to visit a school in a Maasai village.

The school employed one teacher who worked with about 59 students ranging form three to twelve years of age. They were having classes under a acacia tree every day while waiting for a one room classroom to be constructed. Through the generosity of RAFT, we were able to donate a few school supplies to each child.  
The smiles that emanated from their face truly shows how RAFT can touch the lives of children anywhere in the wold. This experience was on of the highlights of her African trip.
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RAFT Impacting Children Worldwide - The Syria Story

This past year, RAFT members Consuelo Montoya and Carol Muhn took RAFT kits to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon for the more than 280,000 school-age refugee children not able to attend school.
As Carol Muhn recounts, “We taught the teachers at Beyond Association’s Child Labor Protection Center in the Bekaa Valley how to put together the kits. The teachers then took the kits to their classes to share with the students. Beyond Association believes in teaching students in a hands-on format, so the RAFT kits were a perfect fit for their program.”
Children ravaged by war and displaced from their homes and schools were given an opportunity for a small measure of normalcy and the joy of learning through kits provided by RAFT—kits underwritten by the generous donations of RAFT’s many supporters.
While RAFT is primarily focused on students in the Bay Area, we now know our reach and impact is far more significant. Consuelo and Carol will be returning to Lebanon this year, and they plan to bring as …

Let’s Celebrate National Dice Day

Did you know that each year on December 4th in the United States people observe National Dice Day?  Many games use dice as a way to add random challenges by generating numbers from a toss of the dice. The value of the toss is determined by the uppermost face of the die after it has come to rest.   Dice are used as gambling devices for games like Craps and are also used in non-gambling tabletop games. Dice are often used in board games to decide the distance a playing piece will move on the board.  Backgammon and Monopoly are two such board games that use dice.           A traditional die is a cube, with each of its six faces showing a different number of dots (pips) from 1 to 6. When thrown or rolled, the die comes to rest showing on its upper surface a random integer from one to six, each value being equally likely. A variety of similar devices are also described as dice; such specialized dice may have polyhedral or irregular shapes and may have faces marked with symbols instead of num…

We're Thankful for You!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and this is an excellent time in the school year to take a moment and reflect on the teachers and students for whom you are grateful! Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds us to stop and think about the people in our lives who have made a significant impression, who have inspired us to go further, and who have helped you embrace new challenges without fear of failure! In many ways, these people are the teachers and students we’ve met in our lives, which includes YOU, our devoted RAFT educators! Take time to think about this: who are the teachers and students you’re grateful for? To me, in a way, we are all teachers in some capacity when we care about another person and want to help them positively learn something. I remember my kinder teacher, Ms. Lamb, and my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Turturici, who encouraged a timid little girl to be whatever she wanted to be. And that little girl was me! I thank them for their patience and persistence. Late…

How to use Music to Teach Math

What do math and music have in common? 
Numbers tell us a lot about music!


Math explains why notes sound higher than others, why instruments look the way they are, and why some sounds are more pleasing to the ear than others. Math and music are universal languages and use patterns to convey meaning!

On November 3rd, at this year’s Marion Cilker Conference at SJSU, RAFT’s Education Team’s Jeanne Lazzarini and Dianne Hurvitz co-presented “Harmonizing with STEAM Standards” on that very subject in front of enthusiastic SJSU students! Participants tackled a Design Challenge creating music collaboratively out of recycled materials and making connections with mathematics! This challenge also introduced other opportunities for cross-disciplinary STEAM lessons in literature, technology, engineering, and science!

How can you generate curiosity about music and math
Watch this fantastic YouTube video with your students: Landfill HarmonicsMake a musical instrument out of recycled materials in a design …

Favorite Basic Recipes for Preschool Science and Art - PLAYDough

By Betty Klem  I'd like to share some of my favorite basic recipes for sensory activities that explore materials and the way they behave and react.  All of these are tried and true.  There are many newer recipes for potions and doughs.
Playdough This is the standard for playdough and should be available in all early childhood settings.  The basic recipe is: ·4 C flour ·2 C salt ·8 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar ·4 Tbsp oil ·4 C warm Water Mix ingredients in a large pot.  The mixture will be runny.  Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, at medium heat until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and is the consistency you want.  Knead.  There are many variations on playdough.  To color it, add food coloring or liquid watercolor to the water before cooking.  You can scent it with essential oils or extracts.  When I was teaching, we found we needed to make a new batch weekly, and my grandchildren love to speculate on what color the playdough will be this week.  You can also add stuff to the pl…

Starting the Year Off Right: 6 Tips to connect with both your students and parents for a productive year of learning.

By Jeanne Lazzarini, RAFT Math Activity Developer & Mentor, and the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics, NCTM Create a classroom that engages you and your kids. Make your room a place that you like be in.  Some suggestions include: Fill your classroom with examples ofthe realworld. Dedicate a bulletin board to certain topics. Include a “Problemof the Week.” Create a center including puzzles, thinking games, andmanipulatives that could be explored by students. Develop a plan to connect with parents. Provide parents with a welcome letter followed by monthly newsletters that include a brief overview of topics their children will be learning about in the coming month. For the younger grades, a take-home “manipulative of the month” made out of sheets of craft foam or other inexpensive material could also be shared. Suggest activities for parents to do at home to reinforce the concepts and activities that the students are investigating in the classroom. Know and believe in all your s…