Writing Strategies in the Classroom: A Reflection on RAFT

     I recently came upon a simple, easy to use writing strategy that can come in handy for teaching writing. This activity, called RAFT, aids the student in identifying important elements of writing such as purpose and audience. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. Having students identify these major components before beginning a writing activity can be a big help. As a future teacher of writing, I know it’s important to show your students that you are a writer too. I have an example of a RAFT activity that I wrote in class the other day. In a middle grades literacy class, we read a picture book, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka. If you haven’t read this book, I would highly recommend it. This work takes classic tales and nursery rhymes and turns them upside down. Author Scieszka turns these fairy tales into silly, funny, and outlandish stories. The story about the stinky cheese man clearly mimics the tale of the ginger bread man who runs around yelling his famous line, “Run, run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me; I’m the gingerbread man.” In Scieszka’s version however, it is the stinky cheese man who runs around filling the nostrils of the towns people and animals with his putrid, half-baked, cheesy smell yelling “Run, run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me; I’m the stinky cheese man.” Here is the break-down for my RAFT.

  • Role: My work is told from the point of view of the cow that the stinky cheese man encounters during his story
  • Audience: My audience is another character from a fairy tale story: the fairy godmother
  • Format: The format of my work is poetry
  • Topic: The topic of my work is about my (cow’s) encounter with the stinky cheese man

Here is my final RAFT:

To: Fairy godmother,

I was chewin’ on some grass

chomp, chomp, chomp cow-patty-bingo

When along came the cheese man

clomp, clomp, clomp

tumblr_lj38s4a9w01qhtzch

I said pee-yew! You stink,

I really don’t think

I want to play with you today

So if you see him coming,

before you turn to start running,

make his day

and shake your wand, index

and in a snap

his stink will be gone

From: Your friend, cow

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