RAFT Activity Kit: Static Merry-go-Round

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Doing Laundry in Pre-K



By Ashley Estes, RAFT Fellow
 
RAFT is one of the best places to find some amazing premade kits and learning tools. These kits are great and can be used across many grade levels. As a 1st grade teacher, I use them weekly in my classroom. In this article, I would love to explain one kit in particular that could be easily used with students from Pre-K to 1st grade. This fantastic kit is called, Laundry Math. This clever and adorable kit comes with sheets that have clotheslines drawn on them, pictures of shirts and pants, 2 sets of numbers 1-10, and Velcro for the items to stick on. This kit helps with counting, 1-1 correspondence, number identification, problem solving, adding, and subtracting. After laminating and placing the Velcro on the pieces, your students are ready to go. The basic idea of this activity kit is students place pieces of clothing on the clothesline and after counting the items; they place the correct number on the sheet (see pictures below).




As stated earlier, in my opinion, I believe this kit would be great for Pre-K to 1st grade classrooms. I am lucky enough to work in a school that has a Pre-K classroom, so I decided to pass along these kits to the teachers and see how they would implement them. I could not wait to see how this would play out, especially since I teach 1st grade.

The following paragraph was written by the Pre-K teachers to explain how they felt about using this kit in their classroom.

“This activity was used during our morning workshops. I particularly liked this activity because it didn’t require a lot of direct instruction. The children were able to figure out what they needed to do. I found this activity very useful because it helped the children make the connection that numbers represent the number of objects.  It also helped with identifying the numbers.” 




This was so great to read and I was thrilled with how well this kit fit within their curriculum. This made me feel that Kindergarten classrooms could also benefit from using this kit. As a 1st grade teacher, this kit would be wonderful to help my students who need extra help with addition and I would also use it for subtraction as well. I personally love this kit because it is so interactive and it can be used with many different mathematical concepts. I hope you consider using this kit in your classroom and remember you are able to use these to your advantage and tweak them to fiit your classrooms and the needs of your students.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Affordable Repurposing Supports Education




Guest post by Brittany Coleman, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT)

Instead of turning to affordable repurposing, many teachers and after-school providers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money each month on school supplies and activities for learning. But little do they know that the average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day. To continue reading, click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

One Person’s Junk is a Teacher’s Treasure



By Elisha Burns, RAFT Fellow

This is the time of the year when I think of all the things that I am thankful for having in my life.
Materials found at RAFT
With all of the extra expenses that come with a teaching career I am happy to learn of any ways to lessen my expenses. One of the cost cutting resources that I love having access to as a teacher is RAFT. With the dawn of Common Core and the push for project-based learning comes the need for organizations like RAFT. As a teacher at a STEAM academy I am expected to bring my lessons to life, however my school only provides me with a small budget for materials.


Teachers need to create dynamic hands on lessons and RAFT offers the resources necessary to teach.  Every time I come to RAFT I leave with a cart full of items and ideas. I might find a stack of obsolete product boxes that become the foundation for my student’s historical diorama. Walking around I might see a display showing an innovative way to use corporate waste for learning. I find the RAFT kits an excellent introduction to new topics or a great culminating project to solidify concepts that have already been taught. Before the winter holiday break I gave my students a chance to construct a holiday house that could withstand the infamous RAFT shake table (shown below).



These shake tables were made from cardboard, PVC pipe, bottle caps, rubber balls and a small circuit. Alone these items may seem like junk, but to my students it was just the exciting element that they need to engage in their house construction.   

Thank goodness we have RAFT.