I Have a Story to Tell

Author: Sara Chavarria
Editor: Stephanie Nardei

Time: 2 Class Periods
Print a copy of Overhead 1
Make copies of Handout 1 for each student.
Materials: Overhead 1
Handout 1


In this Explain lesson, students use all their research information to create a story reflective of an individual of the time period. Students use the RAFT learning strategy to identify their role, their audience, the format they wish to use, and the specific Depression topic they will address. The student is made aware of the nuances of life during this time.

Students will be able to:
1. Using the RAFT learning strategy, students will write a story reflective of an individual from the Great Depression period.

2. Analyze the story by addressing whether the RAFT writing guidelines have been met.

Historical Thinking Standards

  • Standard 3J: Hypothesize the influence of the past.
  • Standard 5A: Identify issues and problems in the past.

United States History Standards

  • Era 8 Standard1B: The student understands how American life changed during the 1930s.
  • Era 8 Standard 2B: The student understands the impact of the New Deal on workers and the labor movement.

Teacher Background
If Applicable.

Resource Websites

RAFT Model: http://people.uncw.edu/sherrilld/edn352/raft.html
Focus Activity Using RAFT: http://www.learnnc.org/lessons/burrbost11192004597
The RAFT Strategy: http://www.somers.k12.ny.us/intranet/reading/RAFT.html
PDF of different writing strategies: http://pulse.pharmacy.arizona.edu/resources/sb-write-strat.pdf



1. Display the following information on an overhead:
The RAFT procedure: Explain they will use their materials to write an assignment using the RAFT procedure.

2. Define RAFT for the students.

R = Role of the writer: Who are you?
A = Audience: To Whom is this written?
F = Format: What form will it take?
T = Topic: What important topic have I chosen?

3. The RAFT activity will be on the Great Depression period. Information learned in the previous lesson can be used, but students are not restricted to that information and should conduct additional research.
Note for students: Their textbooks have stories featuring real people that will help.

4. Students will choose a role to represent and consider to whom and how to communicate the information. Topic will be addressed in their communiqué.

5. Display Overhead 1 listing SOME ideas for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic.

6. Give students one class period to write their paper using notes from Tasks 1 and 2 of previous lessons. (Task 1 notes should be returned for use as a reference tool.)

7. Have student authors turn in their work. Another student will review the work of fellow classmates. Hand out the work to student reviewers, giving the product to a student who was not the author. The reader will represent the Audience and respond to written product by filling in Handout 1.

8. Have students staple Handout 1 to the work they read.

9. The work should be returned to the student author so they are given the opportunity to address the reviewer’s comments. The student must then re-write their work.

10. The new and final re-write should be stapled to the original draft and review (Handout 1). Turn in for teacher perusal.

11. End the lesson by reminding students in taking on a character role they have new insight about the Depression and people’s lives as well as radical change in the following:

  • government,
  • society,
  • finance, and
  • politics.

If applicable

Embedded Assessment
For suggestion for assessing the essay see: Page 2 in this DOCUMENT



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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