RAFTing Through History (Post-Reading)

RAFTs are informal writing assignments designed to allow students to creatively regurgitate content from different POVs along the way.  Many Social Studies and ELA teachers do these without calling them RAFTs, and sometimes English teachers add extra letters just to make it more English-y.  The attached file has basic instructions and samples, but obviously the concept can be varied infinitely to fit your specific goals.

I will say that by and large I haven't been thrilled with the results when I ask students to come up with the ideas for the RAFTs. That doesn't mean it would never work for any class, but I prefer to just assign them the Role, Audience, Format, and Topic - or at best let them choose from a few options. But that's just me, so...

I save student samples from time to time to use when I'm doing PD that might include this activity.  I'm not dedicated enough to type them all in, but I figured a short excerpt might make for a nice example. This was from a good student and obviously I think it's a good example, but it's not a complete outlier in terms of quality.

Role: First Amendment & Fifth Amendment as High School Girls

Audience: Each Other

Format:  Notes in Spiral Notebook passed back and forth at school

Topic:  Gossipping about other Amendments

One: Hey Five. What's Up?

Five: Not much. Oh, wait - have you heard about the new girls? They're Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen. Dorky names, huh? Except for Fourteen. She's my friend.

One: How come?!

Five: Well, we talked a little bit, and I found out that she and I have similar tastes. For example, she thinks nobody must be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law!

One: Ohmygod, that's exactly what you say all the time!

Five: I know, right? But her ideas are related to the states, while mine are related to the federal government. You know what else she said? She said that all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. are citizens, and all citizens have equal rights and equal protection under the laws.

One: Hmm, I actually like that. It means that even the people who served as slaves can be citizens of U.S. and get the same privileges. Cool. I like protecting people's rights. Especially rights to religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. :-)

Five: Ugh, OK, I get it. Oh, and this other girl, Thriteen, is really tough and determined from what I heard. She, like, abolished slavery altogether.

One: Whoa. I'm sure Two would want to go out with her. I mean, Two only dates girls who know how to handle guns, right? I bet this new girl, Thirteen, knows how to operate an army tank.

Five: Maybe. Hey, that reminds me. Have you heard that Three and Four are going out??

One: WHAT?!? NO WAY.

Five: Way. I was talking to Four the other day, and she was like, "I'm going out with Three... he's cute and he understands me better than most people do. He agrees with me on the point that you have a right to be secure in your house. Makes me feel so safe! I think I'm in love."

It continues, but hopefully that's enough to get the idea.

Anyone with other examples or ideas for how to use RAFTs feel free to send them along and I'll add them to the mix. You know, if you're into that kind of thing.