Authentic Purposes for Writing Blog Series · blog series · purpose · writing workshop


Writing is a stalwart act.  Through writing, we express ourselves, uncover feelings, tell our stories, organize our schedules, share our beliefs,  and change our world.  To some students (and even adults) writing can seem like a monumental task and writing may feel cumbersome. But when you think of the necessity of writing in our lives, writing is unavoidable.

As an educator, I feel a significant obligation not only to teach my children the power and effect of writing but also to model the uses and act of writing.  I work to recognize and embrace authentic writing opportunities.  To welcome writing occasions at the moment they present themselves, a variety of writing tools are readily available, and our schedule doesn’t limit writing to the daily writing workshop time.

Writing workshop is the time in our schedule when we study authors, books, writing craft, structure, organization, audience, and the purpose of writing.  My intention is as students learn how to write, they are also learning the power and need to write.  Because writing is not limited to writing workshop, you can see purposeful writing popping up in and outside of our classroom


Watch. Look. Listen.  Writing Opportunities



As I worked with the class lunch helper to take attendance and order the day’s lunches, we noticed many students forgot to move their lunch clip to order lunch.  As part of our morning meeting, the lunch helper mentioned this to the class and requested his peers do better tomorrow.  One student responded, “I need to write myself a note.  Can I hang it on my coat hook so I see it in the morning?”  Of course, this is the authentic writing opportunity I want to recognize.  As R jumped up to write his note others clamored, “Me too, and can I write one about doing my morning job too? I always forget to sharpen the pencils.” The requests were varied, and the need to jot a quick reminder note was contagious!




Daily Models of Purposeful Writing

The need for reminder notes is just one example of writing for a purpose in our classroom. screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-7-19-14-pm Another example is the regular maintenance of our class calendar.  We keep a large paper desk calendar hanging where the students can easily reach and read.  Each week a student is appointed the responsibility of recording the week’s special schedule (art, music, gym), school-wide events, when library books are due, new book releases, (thank you @MrSchuReads) and special events in our classroom.  The calendar helper leads us in interactive writing to fill in the week’s events and reports to the class each morning.  Students quickly came to rely on the posted information.  The shared responsibility, accessibility, and content of the calendar make the calendar an example of purposeful writing.




Writing is for Celebration!



The work we do each and everyday in our classroom is a step forward in our development.  All steps are impactful, and each one is worthy of celebration!  Throughout the week students are encouraged to jot a note of celebration!  On Friday, these notes are gathered and together, we compose a class blog post and share it with our families.  Students are telling their story, our story, considering audience, and using yet another tool for writing. All this and feeling proud at the same time!




Writing is a stalwart act.  Through writing, my students are learning to express themselves, tell their stories, organize the class schedule, and celebrate their personal journey and the path of their peers.  As my students advance in their school career, I am confident they are prepared to embrace the necessity of writing in their lives and see writing as the monumental task used to advance themselves and our communities.





  • This giveaway is for one copy of Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing by Georgia Heard. Many thanks to Heinemann for donating a copy of this book.
  • For a chance to win one copy of Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing, please leave a reaction to any post in the blog series, including this one, by Sunday, February 5th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Lisa Keeler will use a random number generator to pick the winner, whose names she will announce in our blog series’ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT POST on Monday, February 6th.
  • You may leave one comment on every post in our Authentic Purposes for Writing blog series, which runs January 30th – February 5th.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Stacey can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, our contact at Heinemann will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • Heinemann will only ship the book to a winner in the United States. If you live outside of the U.S. and wish to be considered for this giveaway, you must have a U.S. mailing address.
  • If you are the winner of the book, Stacey will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – HEART MAPS. Please respond to her e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.


21 thoughts on “Watch. Look. Listen: AUTHENTIC PURPOSES FOR WRITING

  1. Sigh. Deb, that is simply the best, most authentic class calendar I have ever seen. I just love it. I love everything about it.

    Also, your celebrations composed into a newsletter for parents???

    Oh my goodness, I’m stealing both of these ideas.


  2. Love this phrase: “Writing is a stalwart act.” It is, indeed, an investment in the future, a necessity, a gateway. Companies of all kinds know to hire people with good writing skills – writers are the critical thinkers, problem-solvers. Writers understand, as much as anyone can, the workings of the human heart.


  3. Thank you for the post full of real life writing. My wheels are turning about how I can fit this into my day. How do you and your students blog? Do they do the typing? Do you? As a writing teacher I haven’t tackled blogging yet because I’m not sure how to wrap my head around it. I’d love any ideas!


    1. Maria,
      My students and I blog together on (mentioned in this post). The students bring their ideas to a group meeting, they talk I type. However, the students have their own blogs on KidBlog. Here THEY type and blog at will and the topic is all of their choice. You’re welcome to check out the student’s blog,
      If you have any further questions you can tweet @Deb_Frazier


  4. Have struggled to get my below-level first graders excited about writing, but we are finally reaching the point in the year where they like it. They love to do list, and notes to each other and family members; now I want to use some of these ideas to help them recognize other purposes for writing!


  5. Authentic writing helps our students love writing! We want to develop writers, not test takers. Thanks for sharing the great ideas!


  6. Thanks so much for the series of posts on authentic writing! It is so important for our students to know that what they do matters and has purpose outside of our classroom walls! Thanks also for the opportunity to win this book….it has been on my TBR list forever!!!


  7. Thanks as always. I find the way you respect and encourage young minds – and the minds of those who teach them at home and at school – profound. Keep up this great work!


  8. “Writing is a stalwart act.” Love this line. And love the examples of authentic writing for real purposes in your classroom. Thank you.


  9. Deb,
    So many things to love about this post, but one key is this . . .”Through writing, we express ourselves, uncover feelings, tell our stories, organize our schedules, share our beliefs, and change our world.”

    Teachers who continue to use PIE as purposes: persuade, inform and entertain are missing so many of the REAL LIFE writing opportunities that you shared! So critical to grow and stretch as both a writer and as a reader WHO writes (IMO)! ❤


  10. I love the “simplicity” of the reminder notes. I often write notes around the classroom to remind myself and the class about schedule changes. My students will love the opportunity to write their own reminder notes!


  11. I love the calendar idea! I subbed in a first grade room last week, and everybody had a different idea of where to go for specials that day! I will definitely forward this post to the teacher.


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