Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Authentic Writing

Last week, my daughter had a week of big moments: jumping off the diving board and losing her first tooth. She had been wiggling it for weeks and was full of questions about the process. Once the tooth came out, she became concerned with how to get a message to the tooth fairy. See, she wanted to keep the tooth, but still have the opportunity to reap the tooth fairy rewards.

She came up with the idea to write a letter and place the tooth inside so that there was proof that she actually lost it. She has written notes to friends before, so she knew the basic structure of the letter.

"Dear tooth fairy,
I lost a tooth and I want to keep it.
Love, Addy"

Her message was clear, concise, and to the point. When I look at the NCTE's definition of 21st Century Literacies, this letter falls under DESIGN and SHARE INFORMATION for GLOBAL COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE A VARIETY of PURPOSES element of the framework.

*the audience was the tooth fairy and she had a clear purpose
*she felt the tooth fairy may not have a computer or email, so she wrote her letter with a marker and paper.
*it does not get more global than the tooth fairy

I printed off a hard copy of the framework to use as a GPS guide for my class. How can I create more opportunities for my students to write purposefully in the classroom where they have a clear message and a voice? Other than letters and persuasive texts, what more can I do for authentic writing experiences?


  1. This is a perfect book for you and your daughter. Nice Try, Tooth Fairy by Mary W. Olson. Emma writes the toothfairy several notes in an attempt to get her tooth back she just lost. Each time the wrong tooth is delivered. Enjoyable and humorous.

  2. Thanks, Mandy. We'll look for it at the library.

  3. Great story and great connections to the Framework! A perfect example of how communication does not need to be complicated.