Ten Bay Area Educators Recognized for Excellence in Hands-on Teaching

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Resource Area For Teaching, RAFT, inducted a cohort of ten innovative educators to serve as the 2014-2015 RAFT Fellows. During their year of service, RAFT Fellows share their proficiency in hands-on teaching through demonstrations with colleagues, students, and the community.

2014-2015 RAFT Fellows

2014-2015 RAFT Fellows with Eric Welker, RAFT Master Teacher and Grainger Marburg, RAFT CEO

Hands-on learning provides a unique framework through which educators can empower students to think critically, collaborate, innovate, and solve problems, skills essential for students to succeed both in school and in future careers.

This summer more than 300 educators gathered at RAFT, Resource Area For Teaching, for multi-day Summer Institutes to learn innovative ways to enhance student achievement through hands-on education. From this group of leading educators, RAFT selected a cohort of ten teaching experts to serve as the 2014-2015 RAFT Fellows.

During their year of service, RAFT Fellows share their proficiency in hands-on teaching through demonstrations with colleagues, students, and the community. Fellows use assessments to document impact on student learning, results which help grow RAFT’s library of best practices in hands-on teaching.

Hands-on learning provides a unique framework through which educators can empower students to think critically, collaborate, innovate, and solve problems, skills essential for students to succeed both in school and in future careers. These 21st century skills are increasingly important as educators strive to prepare the nation’s future workforce for many careers and fields that have not even been defined. RAFT Fellows are instrumental in expanding the non-profit’s ability to aide educators as they transition their curricula to meet Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, which require students to think, do, experience, and demonstrate concepts more than ever.

This group of ten 2014-2015 RAFT Fellows joins the 69 former RAFT Fellows from around the Bay Area in sharing what hands-on teaching can do to enhance learning for students and teaching for educators. Each inductee is a proven education innovator who exudes passion for both teaching and learning.

Mera Burton, STEM Specialist – AERO Institute/NASA Education Partner, Palmdale, CA
“I encourage students to explore their ideas by collaborating with others to solve real world challenges. I get great personal satisfaction from my student’s academic and individual goal oriented success.”

Ann Clifford, Junior High Science Teacher – Saint Robert School, San Bruno, CA
“I always tell my students science is all around you. I feel the best way to learn is to use hands-on materials and apply them to everyday activities. When my students come up to me and apply what I have taught them to the real world, that makes it all worth it.”

Fiona Hayes-Snider, 7th Grade Math and Science Teacher – Stonegate School, San Jose, CA
“I am known for integrating new ideas into an existing culture and embedding technology into lessons. I try and create opportunities for multiple answers so that my students can challenge different ways of thinking. I love the creativity and energy of my students.”

Alan Kahn, Middle School Math History and Math Teacher – Monticello Academy, Santa Clara, CA
“I encourage my students to be creative by letting them explore. I show them lots of ideas so they can see there are many ways to complete a project. What I am most passionate about regarding education is that everyone can succeed. I like to do group work so students can all contribute and learn from each other.”

Dana Kuhlmann, Transitional Kindergarten Teacher – Orchard Elementary School, San Jose, CA
“I encourage my students to be creative by assigning open-ended art projects, such as finish the picture, and having creation time where bulk RAFT supplies and imaginations are used. I enjoy teaching students self examination, stating what they did well and thinking of ways to make their work even better.”

Andrea Morikawa, 4th-5th Grade Teacher – Latimer Elementary School, Moreland School District, San Jose, CA
“I always encourage my students to look at their mistakes as new possibilities. I encourage group brainstorming and productive conversations. I am passionate about staying current in my teaching--every year is new, and my teaching must be tailored to my students' needs.”

Becky Regan, 5th Grade Teacher – Horrall Elementary School, San Mateo, CA
“I push students to try new things, to make mistakes, to ask questions, and to be open to new ideas and information. I'm passionate about learning new techniques and activities so that I can use them in the class in order to make learning more enjoyable and meaningful.”

Jen Rodgers, 8th Grade Science Teacher and PLC Team Lead – Harden Middle School, Monterey, CA
“By giving open-ended projects with creativity and thinking outside-the-box as the main goals, I encourage my students to be creative and encourage deeper thought into answers and projects. I am most passionate about engaging and inspiring students to pursue science; motivating students to reach their goals; connecting with students on a higher level.”

Jenifer Spinale, Math Specialist – St. Vincent de Paul School, San Francisco, CA
“I encourage my students to be creative by not setting limitations on how work can be done, encouraging multiple solutions, allowing students to explore and struggle with their work. I am most passionate about igniting an excitement in students to learn and be able to apply what they learn to different areas. More hands-on learning, less worksheets.”

Eileen Yen, 2nd Grade Teacher – Cornerstone Academy Preparatory School, San Jose, CA
“I bring my tech background to each experience, whether it’s staff professional development or a classroom lesson. I push my scholars to look beyond the obvious, asking “Why, Ms. Y?” and explore every day. We celebrate mistakes and risks in each activity. In my classroom, my scholars know to embrace their natural curiosity so that they can feed their quest for knowledge and become lifelong learners.”

About Resource Area For Teaching
RAFT believes the best way to spark the love of learning for the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers and creators is through hands-on learning. A nonprofit organization since 1994, RAFT serves 12,000 educators each year who teach over 900,000 students. Find out more about RAFT and how to get involved at http://www.raft.net.

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Michelle Berg
@RAFTBayArea
since: 06/2009
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