Once norms and expectations of content have been agreed upon, allow students to complete the assignment in a number of different ways. Can they produce a short video, or podcast rather than a written piece. Show/listen to good examples of podcasts (revisionist history - Malcolm Gladwell) or a TEDtalk, are good examples of persuasive engagement - a skill that will be increasingly important. If you have a good idea, nothing will come of it if you are not able to communicate it and persuade others that it is worth pursuing. . We have all heard how well rap can work to give a historical point of view! Students may feel that this is a more authentic way of expressing themselves rather than a traditional written essay.
It seems that this method could be used in all areas of the curriculum - as a way of explaining a math concept or science concept as well as the more obvious areas of language and history.