79: Shorter Writing Projects (2 of 3)



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RAFT Papers
  • What is RAFT?
    • Role of writer
    • Audience of writer
    • Format of writing piece
    • Topic
  • Uses:
    • See content from different perspectives.
    • Creative representation of researched facts
  • Play by Play:
    • Topic search:
      • Give a menu of topics to choose from
      • Start with broad topic that has many possible subtopics that students can choose
    • Identifying Audience, Role, & Format
      • Possible roles: professions, historical figures, real related roles, etc
      • Possible audiences: related orgs/interest groups, historical figures/orgs, friend/foe of role, etc
        • Try to select audiences far removed from classroom that emotionally or logically relate to role
      • Possible formats: speech, letter, conversation, essay, argument, editorial, pamphlet, etc
      • Trinilicious twist:
        • Each team gets to pick topic (same for all team members)
        • Use WheelDecide to select Role and Audience for each individual on team
        • Select Format that goes with plausible interactions between writer role and audience
      • after RAF selections, brainstorm implications in groups of 3 or 4
    • Gathering information:
      • Gather information from valid internet sources
      • Take factual notes from research
      • Make notes that describe how role and audience and format affect factual information
    • Pre-writing:
      • Give out tip sheets, checklists, or thinking sheets that scaffold different writing formats
      • Use mini-lessons, models, and thinking sheets (or similar) to scaffold writing formats
    • Drafting:
    • Revision:
      • Work in writing teams to identify:
        • What lines fit role (and not)?
        • What details reflect time period, audience, actor, setting, etc.?
        • Is intended effect on audience obvious?  How to enhance this?
      • Silent rereads after team discussions
      • Underline hard facts in writing piece
      • Conduct more research to fill in parts with missing factual details
      • Use new research and team feedback to revise draft
      • Print new copy
    • Revising:
      • Pick a couple of watch-fors to focus feedback
      • Try to select watch-fors that are common elements to writing formats – example: use of quotes in letters
    • Sharing the writing:
      • Read aloud in presentations
      • Publish high quality works in school blog or magazine
    • Possible grading criteria:
      • Role is clear – fits audience and format
      • Follows format conventions
      • Extensive use of research notes
      • Original, interesting, school appropriate
  • Students convey information with interesting graphics and concise writing that conveys essential and interesting facts
  • Uses:
    • Review material
    • Connect writing and learning with visuals
    • Summarize researched information
  • Play by play:
    • Topic search:
      • For review: assign topics
      • For research:
        • Provide menu of topics to choose from, or
        • General topic that inspire sub-topics – facilitate brainstorming activity to generate possibilities
    • Identifying the Audience:
      • Select audience that will inspire students to write in clear and interesting ways – example: middle school students for high school students prepping a review brochure
    •  Drafting: 
      • Hand write or type drafts
      • Use brochure templates in word processing software or create brochures by hand (collage-style)
    • Revision & Editting:
      • Work with a feedback partner:
      • Revision Look-Fors:
        • Is all essential information present?
        • Writing style?  Dry? Plagiarized? Enthusiastic?
        • Does writing style fit audience?
      • Partner slowly reads aloud brochure text –  Listen for errors in wording, spelling, and grammar that can be fixed to polish the brochure.
      • Read piece backwards slowly to check for correct spellings and wording
      • Assemble final brochure after revising and editing are done
    • Sharing the Writing
      • Students share brochures and note how same information is represented among brochures
      • Use brochures to study for assessments
      • Could share with real intended audiences
    • Other tips:
      • Require original graphics to avoid plagiarism
Knowing a wide variety of possible writing projects can prevent writing products from feeling stale and repetitive.


The RAFT paper shows students how different perspectives and intentions modify how information is written. This paper could be good for courses or good for projects that aim to teach students how perspectives affect understandings.  Completing different RAFT papers within teams that address the same topic with different RAF selections could teach students how to collaborate to represent the same information in different ways.


Brochures can engage visual learners and artistic students to engage in writing assignments.  They teach students how to present essential information using concise writing and interesting graphics.


Preparation Steps
  • Decide what writing assignments best align to current and future learning targets.
  • Research and develop scaffolding and assessment activities and resources that go with selected writing assignment.  See above and Writing articles for ideas.
Early Implementation Steps
  • Implement project that features selected writing activity.
  • Have students reflect on how the steps in the writing process are affecting their content understandings and their writing skills.
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Re-use some of the positively tested strategies in previous projects to reinforce skills in current and future projects.
  • Maintain a class blog or class magazine that features high quality student work.



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