Add some pop culture to your history classes!
Use this R.A.F.T. (role, audience, format, topic) writing project to help students understand point of view, analyze primary and secondary sources, and compare historical perspectives, roles and topics.
Students choose a topic, or a role and build from there. For example, maybe you're teaching about the Civil War. Students might choose to discuss the medical treatment for soldiers on the battlefields (TOPIC) by writing from the ROLE of an experienced nurse who is training a new group of nurses (AUDIENCE). Her lesson or speech to that group would dictate the FORMAT of the writing. So a student would write a speech or lesson from the point of view of the nurse discussing the topic of medical treatment on Civil War battlefields.
Or perhaps you're discussing Ancient Rome and a student chooses to discuss upcoming legislation (TOPIC) with a friend (AUDIENCE) from the ROLE of a Senator through a letter to his friend (FORMAT). The possibilities are endless! And kids are able to look at how a message might change based on who is speaking, or who that person is speaking with.
Best of all, it is not unit or time period specific. You can do this activity as a stand alone project, or have your classes complete one per unit. You could give kids time to research and write in class, have them peer edit and present. Or you could make it into a homework assignment that highlights a key topic in your unit. It is totally scaleable!
The instructions for the writing assignment can be edited, allowing teachers to add their own details and flair.
Finally, hand them the template where they can bring their historical figure to life by using a ubiquitous modern pop icon. This could be extra credit or a key component of their work. You decide! The rubric is included for ease of grading.
I hope your classes enjoy this assignment as much as mine have! This has become an annual favorite!