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R.A.F.T. Writing in MATH

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Jan. 11, 2019, 1:46 p.m.

When I started using the 6+1 Traits of Writing 9 years ago, I loved the strategy of RAFT to get students focused on a specific message for a specific audience. RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic. It really helped my students zone in on what was most important. Then as my instruction evolved, I found that RAFT was also an awesome strategy for writing in math.


In math, this strategy is great for getting students to think deeply about mathematical ideas. In RAFT, student construct an explanation or argument to a prompt. The prompt asks them to use their conceptual or procedural knowledge to address a prompt in a specific format for a specific audience and topic


Here are a few example prompts:


R: You are a big number.

A: Your audience is a smaller number.

F: The format is a letter.

T: The topic is "Ways we can become equal"


R: You are a math strategy for adding numbers (or multiplying)

A: Your audience is another strategy

F: The format is a debate

T: The topic of the debate is "How and why your strategy is better than the other strategy"


R: You are a square.

A: Your audience is a rectangle.

F: The format is a Venn Diagram.

T: The topic is "Ways you are the same and how you are different"


The response to the prompt will provide you and the student with data about the students' current understanding and reasoning about critical math concepts or procedures. Be sure to develop a rubric that includes the learning targets you are looking for students to demonstrate through the writing.


I love this strategy because it gets kids to think and develop new ideas. Learning happens when we are in a productive struggle and RAFT will take your students there!



Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

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Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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