The Tooth Ferret

story by Katie Furze , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning intention:

I am learning to make personal connections to texts so that I can use strategy to explore moral problems.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify ways I connect with a text.
  • I can identify the moral problems with a text.
  • I can use the Six Thinking Hats strategy to come up with a solution for the moral problems in a text.


Essential knowledge:

  • The Six Thinking Hats strategy, with examples and templates on slideshows or Word documents, can be found on the NSW Digital Learning Selector Six Thinking Hats.


After reading the story as a class, write the following on the board:

The part in the story where (blank 1) reminded me of (blank 2).


Students are to fill out this sentence at least three times with different ways they identified with the story. They replace (blank 1) with a part of the story and (blank 2) with a connecting experience in real life. An example sentence could be: The part where Frankie really wanted to be a Tooth Ferret reminded of me when I really wanted to be team leader at sports day.


Other connecting experiences could be:

  • Losing a tooth and being visited by the tooth fairy
  • Studying at school
  • Feeling like an outsider
  • Getting new glasses
  • Being unable to do something
  • Practising and persisting
  • Almost giving up
  • Doing a good job after trying lots of times.


Encourage students to consider school activities, extracurricular activities (sports, music, self-defence, swimming, dance), hobbies (video games, board games) or life experiences like moving somewhere new/going on holiday. They should think about times they’ve succeeded in something, but also times they’ve failed.


Once students have written at least three sentences, ask them to think about whether Frankie is really suited to be a Tooth Ferret. Ask the class whether succeeding once means she’ll continue to succeed, or whether that one-time success was just a fluke. Ask what some other things Frankie are could do besides being a Tooth Ferret, taking into account her list at the beginning (loves children, fascinated by teeth, likes working at night).


Put the class into groups of three. Introduce the Six Thinking Hats. In their groups, students look at the moral problem of whether Frankie should change careers by considering the decision from different angles. Encourage them to have empathy for Frankie, using their personal connections to the text to help them see the situation from her point of view. Some example answers are below.


White hat (information/facts/data)

  • Frankie was unable to do her job three times out of four
  • Two children saw her, one screamed, the other said she was funny.


Red hat (intuition/feelings/emotion)

  • Frankie really wants to do this job
  • Frankie loves children and wants to work with them.


Black hat (judgement/analysis/negatives)

  • Other animals have to do extra work when Frankie can’t do her job
  • Children will miss out on getting coins if Frankie messes up.


Yellow hat (benefits/positives)

  • Frankie has proven she can do the job
  • Practising something makes you better at it.


Green hat (ideas/alternatives/possibilities/creativity)

  • Frankie can find another job that fits what she likes, such as a night dentist for children
  • Frankie could make up an entirely new job or promote herself on billboards/advertisements, so children know to expect her in the middle of the night and aren’t scared if they see her.


Blue hat (processes/thinking about thinking)

  • Frankie needs to think about whether this is truly something she wants to stick with
  • Frankie could talk to her friends or other family members and consider their opinions.


Once groups are finished looking at the situation from the different angles, discuss answers as a class. At the end, students can give a thumbs up if they think Frankie should stick with her job, a thumbs down if they think she should find something else to do, or a thumbs in the middle if they’re still unsure.


Extension: Students write a letter to Frankie persuading her of their decision (whether she should continue with her job or find something new). Use the rubric on comprehending and creating persuasive texts to evaluate their writing.