Raft Assignment Ideas

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

This is My Story: Encouraging Students to Use a Unique Voice

What did the wolf think of Red Riding Hood? Once Upon a Fairy Tale offers his side of the story and more, providing vivid examples of how voice enlivens narrative. After comparing versions of the story, students apply the concept of voice to Fractured Fairy Tales and other writing activities.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Writing Free Verse in the "Voice" of Cesar Chavez

Poetry and politics combine in this lesson where students write a free verse poem in the voice of Cesar Chavez.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Choosing the Best Verb: An Active and Passive Voice Minilesson

Students explore how active and passive voices are appropriate to different audiences. They examine online resources, and then draw conclusions about verb use, which they apply to their own writing.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Persuading the Principal: Writing Persuasive Letters About School Issues

Students learn that you don't have to raise your voice to raise a point. Writing a persuasive letter to your principal is a great way to get your opinions heard.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Teaching Voice with Anthony Browne's Voices in the Park

Students analyze Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne to determine how an author keeps an audience interested by creating voice and to applying that knowledge to their own writing.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Giving Voice to Child Laborers Through Monologues

Students present monologues in the "voice" of someone involved in child labor in England, respond to questions, and then discuss contemporary child laborers and compare them to the past.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Developing Persuasive Arguments through Ethical Inquiry: Two Prewriting Strategies

In this lesson, students use focused prewriting strategies to explore content and ethical issues related to a persuasive assignment.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Recurring Lesson

Tell Me Your Story: Video-Inspired Vocabulary Writing

Students watch a sample of artistic video clips online and respond through creative writing while using the vocabulary words they are currently studying.


Using RAFT writing strategies with artworks

The RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) writing strategy, developed by Santa, Havens, and Valdes [1], helps students understand their role as a writer and communicate their ideas clearly by developing a sense of audience and purpose in their writing. Works of art are rich sources of ideas and details for narrative and other kinds of writing. This RAFT strategy lends itself to use with works of art and to helping students develop their ideas and organize their approach before they begin to write.

In the example below, we added “questions to answer” to the RAFT matrix as a way to help students think through the components of this activity.

Download this material as a pdf for classroom use here.

RAFT activity: The Promised Land—The Grayson Family

Directions for teachers:

  1. Introduce students to the painting The Promised Land—The Grayson Family (or another work of art for which information is available). Have students read about it and discuss the story it tells.
  2. Show examples of ideas for the RAFT based on The Promised Land.
  3. Next, project the table below on the board. Ask students to pick a role from the chart, and identify an audience, format, topic, and questions for their written piece to answer.
  4. Give students a copy of the Role Development Chart worksheet and have them complete it before they begin writing.
Artist (William S. Jewett)


Questions to Answer for your RAFT:
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3

Ideas to get students started on their RAFT:

Audience: family member, friend back home, friend already living in the West, foreigner considering moving to America, oneself (diary), museum

Format: letter, newspaper story, song, poem, diary entry, advertisement poster, caption

Topic: traveling to California, the difference between home and the West, the land/resources of the West, hunting, setting up camp

Questions: How do I feel about my journey? What do we do next? Where will we live? What challenges do I face?


Role Development Chart

Before writing your piece take time to put yourself into the role you have selected. Think deeply about who you are in this role and what you want to include from your reading to make your writing credible. What perspective will you have on the issue you think is most important?


Who am I and what are some aspects of my character?


What are my feelings, beliefs, ideas, and concerns?


What do I know that I should share in my writing?





[1] Santa, C., Havens, L., & Valdes, B. (2004). Project CRISS: Creating Independence through Student-owned Strategies. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

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