Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fire Station Field Trip and RAFT Writing

Yesterday was such an exciting day for our school! Our city has been building a new fire station right across the street and we were invited to celebrate their grand opening by visiting the station. Not only did we get to visit the fire station, but we also got to witness a helicopter land in the school's front yard to celebrate it's opening. The kids were in total awe as the helicopter flew in and landed with such precision. I had goosebumps watching it! Here are some pictures of our exciting day...

It started out as a speck in the sky and got bigger and bigger as it got closer.

Just about to land... right in our school's front yard!

It was amazing to see the helicopter this close up. My students got to go in and sit inside!
When we first arrived, we were greeted and welcome by the fire chief and mayor of our city!
We listened to the fire chief teach about the different vehicles they use.
The banner we made to say "Thank You!" We took this to the fire station with us!

After our visit, our principal challenged us to think of a critical writing activity to do with our students as a follow up to our visit. I racked my brain trying to think of something that involved critical thinking and something that my students could do this early in the year. Have you ever heard of R.A.F.T. writing? I remembered this from my Master's program and thought it would work great for this project. Basically, a R.A.F.T. writing includes the following:

R (role): Who are you as the writer?
A (audience): Who are you writing to?
F (format): In what format are you writing? (letter, story, play, etc.)
T (topic): What are you writing about?

This type of writing is a great way to get your students to write using different perspectives and to a different audience than usual. This sounds complex, but once you break it down and explain to the students, they understand... I promise! I decided to give them two different RAFT choices.

R- the fire chief
A- our community
F- a help wanted ad in the newspaper
T- explain the job description of a fire fighter and what they need to be able to do


R- community member
A- our mayor
F- thank you letter
T- explain why we needed the new fire station and thank him

I thought most kids would choose the help wanted ad, but it was about half and half! They had such a great time working on this writing and were very creative! Some of their ideas for the help wanted ad included:

*Looking for someone who is brave and not afraid of fires.
*Looking for someone who has strong arms to hold the fire hose.
*You need to be able to climb ladders and run fast.

And my favorite...

*You need to have a driver's license to drive the fire truck. =)

Overall, our trip was a huge success and one that the students will remember forever! What a great way to learn about our community and the workers who serve us every day!


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