This past October, I attended my second Coaching Institute through Teachers College. I was fortunate to spend the week with Kathleen Tolan at PS 158 in New York City. To say that the work that we saw in that school was amazing would be an understatement. The culture of learning among students and staff was evident across the building. As part of the institute, we went on a learning walk throughout the school. We were asked to look at the classrooms, hallways, and student work and think about what we saw and what that told us about what the school values. The list was long. But it was clear that PS 158 valued the reading and writing process, as it was clearly showcased through anchor charts and student work.
I was reminded of this experience today, as we had a staff development day with Mary Ehrenworth at our school. This was Mary’s third visit to our school and during each visit, she has always commented on the beautiful artwork that lines our hallways. Today was no different. Actually the art work was in tip top shape since it is conference week and there is currently an art museum set up throughout the school. However, being her third visit, I think Mary felt comfortable with the relationships she has built with us and so she pushed the feedback further. She was wondering where we showcase and share the writing work that kids are doing. Which brought me back to, what does our school environment say about what we value?
Mary made suggestions for finding ways to share, celebrate, and engage students in the writing work with more authenticity. All of her suggestions made me think about this Slice of Life Writing Challenge and how I have been able to share, celebrate, and engage with other writers. Because I know that my writing will be shared with a real audience, I have been motivated to keep going and push my thinking. I’m once again thinking about Mary’s feedback and also what I have learned from blogging for the past 20 days. How do we build a culture that values all that it means to truly be a writer? I’m on a mission to find out!
Read more about our visit with Mary from my friend Erika, here!