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RAFT writing: giving their writing a purpose


RAFT writing requires that sturaft-writingdents become a person, place, thing or idea and write from that perspective. They ARE Cinderella, a cell, Santa Claus, a beach, the galaxy, an ordinal number, etc.


RAFT writing can be used to describe a chemical reaction, explain the process of condensation, describe a point of view, envision a potential plan of attack, or solve a problem. It can be creative and informative.

Teaching Process (Click this link for a Presentation Deck that can be used to help you RAFT your classroom.)

⇒Step 1: Once your content has been covered, consider all of the various roles and audiences that would allow students to demonstrate their new understandings from different perspectives. Conduct a class brainstorming session to gather numerous possible perspectives on your topic.

⇒Step 2: Introduce the RAFT acronym to with students, explaining what each letter stands for:

R = Role role of the writer. What persona are you adapting? You might be a person, place, thing, or idea.  In developing the final product, what role will the students need to “take on”? Who are you as the writer? Are you President Trump? A warrior? A homeless person? An auto mechanic? The endangered snail darter?

A = Audience. The who or what the RAFT is being written for. Who should the students consider as the audience for the product? To whom are you writing? Is your audience the Canadian people? An enemy? Your teacher? Readers of a newspaper? A local restaurant?

F = Form The form the writing will take, as in letter, song, meme, image, movie, diary, etc. What form will the writing take? What is the best product that will demonstrate the students’ in-depth understanding of their interactions with the text?  A writing task?  Art work?  Action plan?  Project? A letter? A classified ad? A speech? A poem?

T = Topic This is the what that will be the focus/subject of the final product. What are you writing about? What’s the subject or the point of this piece? What event will constitute the centerpiece of the action? To explain bloodflow? To persuade a gangster to spare your life? To plead for a re-test? To call for stricter regulations on logging? A list of characteristics?

⇒Step 3: Give students a RAFTed assignment. RAFTs can be directed or left open to students to choose.  Initially, it is best to assign students to complete specific RAFTs.  As they gain more experience and familiarity with the writing strategy, they can be allowed more freedom.

A lesson about the water cycle in science, can require students to RAFT about being a water droplet:

  • R – water droplet
  • A – water vapor in clouds
  • F – travel journal
  • T – the water cycle

After learning about the battle of the Alamo, history students might be assigned a RAFT that allows them to select from roles presented:

  • R – Any observer or participant in the battle
  • A – Any relevant audience based on format
  • F – A newspaper article, a letter, a diary entry, dialog, etc.
  • T – The events of March 6, 1836, the final siege of the Alamo

⇒Step 4: Students complete RAFTs individually or with partners. Allow them to do pair shares to insure that they are on the right track.

⇒Step 5: Students share their RAFTs with the class. Other students should listen for accuracy and logic. An accurate RAFT response will accurately reflect the views and perspective of their character.

When creating RAFT assignments, be sure to incorporate a variety of interesting responses. The form can be a photo album, letter of introduction, job resume, photostory, meme, gif, etc.The goal is for them to respond and demonstrate that they have mastered the content.raft-writing-prompts

Have fun and be creative with your RAFT assignments. Below is a chart with a few examples in each of the categories; it is meant only as a sampling to spark new ideas and possibilities for building RAFTs:

Role Audience Format Topic














peer group



fictional character(s)






animals or objects



brochure/ or booklet



song lyric



primary document


biographical sketch

newspaper article

issue relevant to the text

agenda of events

topic of personal interest or concern for the role or audience

topic related to an essential question

solution to a problem

highlight of an event


Here are some examples of what RAFT writing assignments would look the classroom. 

Science RAFT examples

Role Audience Format Topic
Duck U. S. Senator Photostory Effects of oil spill
Star Self Diary Life cycle
Electron Fourth grade students How to video Journey through a parallel circuit
Limestone Cave visitors Postcard Chemical weathering process
Liver Alcohol Letter to Complaints Department Effects of alcohol on your body

History RAFT examples

Role Audience Format Topic
Mohandas Gandhi Martin Luther King Jr. Letter Nonviolent opposition/ resistance meetup
Great Wall of China Self Diary Invaders I have seen and stopped
Colorado River Rafters Travel guide What you will see if you travel my length
Rain Forest Humans Complaint Letter Deforestation concerns
Benjamin Franklin Dear Abby Advice column letter “My son likes the British”

Math RAFT examples

Role Audience Format Topic
Zero Whole numbers Campaign speech Importance of the number 0
Percent Student Tip sheet Mental ways to calculate percentages
Parts of a graph TV audience Script How to read a graph
Acute triangle Obtuse triangle Letter Explain differences of  triangles
Container Self Diary Comparison of volume measurements

I hope that you have a great time RAFTing with your students.

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