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Thursday, May 4, 2017

More on RAFT assignments

After reading the post "Raft Writing and World War I," Sue Dailey, a long time middle school teacher, reading specialist, and teacher consultant for Montana: Stories of the Land, wrote an enthusiastic endorsement of RAFT writing that I thought was worth sharing. 
I’m thrilled that you are recommending RAFT writing to your members! ... I used it many, many times in my Montana History curriculum.  The things I like best about RAFT are

  1. the students really need a good understanding of the content to be able to write a good RAFT paper, so all the good study/reading strategies (notetaking, transformation, discussion) come into play before writing;  
  2. it is especially effective when LA/Social Studies teachers are teaming or when the teacher is teaching both LA and history – the LA part is the actual writing instruction and reading sources (e.g. narratives, letter writing, journaling) and the history teacher applies those skills to content; 
  3. RAFT assignments allow students to learn what “voice” in writing means as they take the role of a person involved in events and have the opportunity to show emotion and opinion.  
She also very generously sent some of the RAFT assignments she used when she taught 7th grade Montana history, which you can access here. These include applying to join the Corps of Discovery, a letter home from the Montana gold fields, and testimony for a town meeting hosted by the EPA about drilling for oil and natural gas along the Rocky Mountain Front. She said grading these was a lot more fun than grading traditional essays. Bonus!

If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out the RAFT assignment we created for our Montana and the Great War project. And please feel to email me your favorite RAFT assignment so I can share it to the list. 

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