This is a set of six different RAFT activities that can be used during your study of Western Expansion. I use RAFT activities in my class all the time as formative assessments for my units, and my 5th graders love them.
The purpose of the R.A.F.T. method is to help students write fluently and purposefully for an audience, often making them shift their perspective as a writer.
Role--Who are you?
Audience--Who are you writing to?
Format--What kind of writing will you do? (letter, poem, story, etc.)
Topic--What do you want to talk about/discuss?
Among the roles are:
-a gold seeker who hit pay dirt in California,
-a gold seeker heading west in the 1840s,
-a young girl moving west in the 1800s,
-a team of oxen,
-a young, male orphan, and
-a Chinese worker on the Trans-Continental railroad