When students are given a choice of writing topics and can choose one that interests them the most, they are typically more motivated and produce a better writing sample as a result. This idea of choice can go even further with a choice of writing style and topic. The RAFT is a way of giving students a choice of topic and style while still maintaining the focus of the writing objective.
RAFT is an acronym for Role, Audience, Form, and Theme. Given a choice, students will compose a written piece from a number of options.
Here is an example how how this type of assignment would work. Students read a short story about a student named Delphine in Québec. She is very involved in all of her school activities and students read all the details about her school life. After engaging in reading activities (see Reading Activities in the Reading category), students are given a choice of topics and writing styles. Generally, the options get progressively more challenging, so a teacher may ask a student to choose two of the less challenging options or one of the more challenging assignments.
Based on the Delphine story, here are some RAFT writing options:
Essentially, if a student were to choose number one, he would draw on details from the story to write a note from Delphine to friend about plans for Friday night. For number two, he would write an email from the Yearbook Adviser to Delphine about the sports page. If he were to choose number three he would write a speech by the principal to be delivered to families about an award that Delphine is receiving.
This type of writing assignment allows students the opportunity to write in different ways (formally, informally) on topics of interest to them, while remaining within the parameters of the assignment.