Posted by: jockmackenzie | September 21, 2009

Student Writing – GRAFT (an alternative to RAFTS)

P3120008My tribute to Saskatchewan (a photo I took while driving to last spring’s Middle Years Conference in Sasksatoon)

Saskatchewan Public Schools has a site on the web called “Instructional Strategies Online.” Part of the site (see has an excellent section on what they term “RAFTs” and they credit Santa, 1988. Soooooo I still don’t know where the concept came from – Adler or Santa – but I do know I think it’s best to think inside and outside the box. Inside the box, we can get lots of good ideas from those who have used RAFTs in the past. Outside the box, we can start with a Goal for our writing.

I think it’s best to create a variety of possibilities in your own classroom, to make your own lists of different Goals, Roles, Audiences, Formats, and Topics. I offer two alternatives:

1. Get small groups to suggest a GRAFT that makes sense as a group e.g. Goal (entertain), Role (a golf ball), Audience (golfers), Format (list of complaints), Topic (feelings about its difficult life) OR Goal (persuade), Role (new student), Audience (classmates), Format (diary entry), Topic (pros and cons of the first days at a new school) OR Goal (intrigue), Role (any relative), Audience (another relative), Format (coded message), Topic (family treasure)

2. Get small groups to list 5 to 10 ideas for each of the 5 categories






explain policeman parent(s) letter an excuse
describe parent general public
phone call
future plans
persuade family pet
school bully
speech feelings
scare spider teacher(s) song answers/solutions
disgust locker fellow animals
blog entry
plea for help
calm back pack
text message
excite magician’s wand
poem safety
bore Planet Earth
your conscience
note passed in school
learning from mistakes
clarify principal your fans
message in a bottle
what’s most important

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