RAFT's take their name from the first letters of four words-- Role, Audience, Format, and Topic -- and are based on the work of Doug Buehl (2001). In RAFT, students play a specified role, for a particular audience, in a named format, regarding a topic that gets at the core of meaning for that topic. For example, during a study of punctuation, a student may take on the role of a semicolon, for an audience of 5th graders, in the format of a personal letter, and on the topic, "I wish you really understood where I belong." Or in a history class, students might be assigned (or choose) the role of President of the United States, speaking to Congress, in the format of a speech, on the topic, "Why should we continue this war?" RAFTs allow differentiation by readiness, interst, and learning profile (Tomlinson & Strickland, p. 355).
C. Tomlinson & C. Strickland (2005) Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum Grades 9-12. ASCD.