R. A. F. T. is a strategy that can be especially helpful for students in History classes, as well as Literature classes. It invites students to put themselves in the shoes of another person (such as an historical actor or literary character) and write through that person’s eyes.
a) a ROLE they will take on,
b) the AUDIENCE to whom they will write,
c) the FORM they will use, and
d) the TOPIC on which they will write.
2. Students are given time to write their response and may even present their work in class.
For example, a student might take on the ROLE of Dolores Huerta speaking to an AUDIENCE of migrant field workers. The FORM might be an informational speech (FORM) about the UFW and their rights as workers (TOPIC).
Or a student could take on the ROLE of Juliet Capulet’s mother from Romeo & Juliet eulogizing (FORM) her daughter (TOPIC) at Juliet’s funeral in front of her extended family (AUDIENCE).
Being asked to speak as another person can stretch students to understand in a deeper way the person for whom they are speaking.
Instructors can extend the exercise by asking students to be prepared to identify historical facts or textual evidence to support the choices they have made in this activity.
The Michigan Department of Education has created a handout focused on writing activities for Social Science instructors. It’s worth perusing for new writing activity ideas! You can find it at: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/SSWAC_225020_7.pdf