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RAFTs: A Creative Way to Demonstrate Understanding

This article was originally published in the CACE Blog on April 14, 2020.

Whether teaching on-line or face-to-face, RAFTs is an engaging strategy that encourages writing across the curriculum and provides opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding in creative ways. (Idea first introduced in Holston, V., & Santa, C. [1985]. Raft: A method of writing across the curriculum that worksJournal of Reading, 28, 456–457).

RAFTs invite students to assume a role, consider their audience, examine a topic from a relevant perspective, and write in a particular format. The acronym stands for the following:

Role: the position or point of view of the author (could be animal, vegetable, human, or any noun).

Audience: the intended audience (not necessarily human).

Format: the genre (could be a letter, speech, training manual, recipe, interview, etc.).

Topic: whatever you are studying and want to assess student understanding.

Strong verb: a verb to grab the reader’s attention.

Possible RAFTs roles:

  1. Story character

  2. Historical figure

  3. Vocabulary word

  4. Instruments or tool

  5. Minerals or chemical element

  6. Tradesperson or other job

  7. Public service job

  8. Musical instrument

  9. Cartoon character

  10. Shape or color

  11. City, country, continent

  12. Animal, bird, pet

  13. Key term

  14. Disease

  15. Type of fabric

  16. Author or inventor

  17. Brand-name object

  18. Body system

  19. Scientist or politician

  20. Geographic formation

  21. Composer or artist

  22. Business or industry person

  23. Technical term

  24. Celebrity or talk-show host

Possible RAFTs formats:

Some RAFTs examples: (compiled by Sandra Page)

And finally, one more example set for these times—RAFTs you are invited to try yourself. Choose from the RAFTs below.


Thank you to all who submitted responses to the RAFT I invited you to create in the original post on the CACE Blog. Please enjoy this Top Ten list created by Julie Mosley, College and Senior Advisor at Rocky Bayou Christian School in Florida.

Opportunities for Good During the Coronavirus Pandemic:

#10 Beach modesty has improved 100 percent. #9 Your house can be a mess because no one is coming to visit you. #8 Your teenagers want to run to the grocery store or pharmacy or fill the car with gas for you. #7 Students are getting their work done in half the time without the constant class interruptions. #6 Walking neighbors are talking more in a week, from a social distance than they have in a year. #5 People are getting more sleep because they don’t have anything else to do at night. #4 Long-distance families are zooming or skyping more than they did when they could get out. #3 Since they are already sick of TV and internet, families are talking and playing games together. #2 People are more thankful for the grave responsibilities of our leadership … at every level. #1 More people are having time to reflect and reach out to God, Who brings good out of evil.

Even in these uncertain times, let’s seek God to inspire our imaginations about how to educate our students well. My prayers are with you all.


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