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Student Engagement Through Choice Writing

Provide choice on English Language Arts writing assignments to increase student engagement and work completion from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

When I first started teaching 6 years ago, the keyword was “differentiation”. I attended several workshops on this topic and my favourite strategy to get students writing was to create RAFT assignments.


RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, Topic.  As the teacher, you create one writing assignment with several writing choices on the same theme. You can see an example RAFT above, that I wrote based on a DRA assessment booklet story called “Northern Spirit”. In the story, the main character Jason moves from Montreal (an urban metropolis) to the Yukon (a remote territory in northern Canada) and has difficulties adjusting to life there.

After students read the story and answered the assessment questions, I wanted them to take their learning further so I created a RAFT writing assignment with four choices. Students have a choice of lines 1 – 4. You read a RAFT by choosing a role and then following the audience, format and topic of that role.

As a teacher, you tier the activities so they meet a variety of learning styles and abilities. On this assignment, students have a choice of an email, top 10 list, an explanation letter or a poster, that way students can respond to the same story in a variety of ways. I am assessing their ability to gather information from the story and other sources for use it in their final product.

Students need a choice to keep them engaged in their writing, but they also need guidelines. This type of assignment provides both student choice and structured guidelines, therefore limiting unwanted behaviours in your classroom.

Want to try RAFT writing in your classroom? Check out this full-year creative writing bundle that has a RAFT choice board for each season and an accompanying holiday.

This no-prep – just photocopy and teach, full-year creative writing bundle will keep your students engaged in their writing. This bundle provides holiday writing prompts (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter) as well as seasonal writing prompts (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Back to School) to support an inclusive classroom environment.

Students will select one of the provided seasonal or holiday-themed character roles and create a written or visual product based on the character’s specific writing prompt using the RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) format. Find this resource on Shopify CAD and Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

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