What do we value?

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!






13 thoughts on “What do we value?

  1. I’m working on that too. I’ve benn working on making writing more pervasive throughout the curriculum: in reading, in content, in math. The display thinking is very interesting. Our school also has art prominently displayed in our halls. I am starting to be sad about the pending end of our blog marathon. I am learning so much from peers like you.


  2. I’d love to hear what you come up with! In our school, though it doesn’t showcase every day writing (yet), we’ve started a set of PES Authors shelves in the library. Three times a year we call for submissions and publish student authors’ books there, complete with barcodes so other students can check them out and take them home and about the author pages.


  3. I love how a simple wondering, “where we showcase and share the writing work that kids are doing”, remains on your mind. TCRWP is brilliant in how they get us to keep thinking, long after the encounter.


  4. I attended the Coaching Institute a few years ago and recall so many valuable teaching moments. I had forgotten about the power of a learning walk. I need to incorporate this into our PD somehow!
    Thank for the reminder.


  5. Blogging certainly does create an authentic audience. Finding an authentic audience for my students’ writing has been a game changer this year. Thank you for sharing your day with Mary with us. I wish we could have that same energy here.


  6. I would love to go to the Coaching Institute – I know it must be extraordinary. I agree so much with the slices being celebrations, and that knowing you’re writing for a real audience keeps pushing the writing and the thinking. Hope you’re doing well – time is growing close! 🙂


  7. Celebrate yourself as a writer and find a way to celebrate your students as well. I think we (as educators) need to think about how we share our values and honor students accomplishments in all areas. Thanks for giving me food for thought.


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