In Bradley County, learning like 'Writing on the Walls'

In Bradley County, learning like 'Writing on the Walls'

May 18th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

Kindergarten student Zack shows his mother Paula Stetson his contributions to Yates Primary School's "Writing on the Wall'' project. Staff Photo by Randall HIggins/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Kindergarten student Zack shows his mother Paula Stetson...

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Ask any kid and they will tell you not to write on the walls.

But displaying a school year's worth of writing on the walls for parents, classmates and anybody else who wants to read it, that's different.

Yates Primary School is ending the school year with its "Writing on the Walls" project.

Since last fall, the school's kindergarten through second-grade students have collected their work: poems, prose, even recipes. Now it's all public for people to read and comment on.

"We have been emphasizing writing for three years now," said Principal Carolyn Ingram as she walked down the Yates hallways proudly showing off the students' work. "We wanted to celebrate the children's writing skills and the hard work of teachers. So many people don't realize what good teachers can accomplish with the children in their classrooms."

Cleveland City Schools brought Donna Redwine, a writing coach with School Improvement LLC, to its elementary school classrooms this year.

"I loved: the pride with which you put together your displays, the variation of genres, the art work and illustrations, connections to literature, science and math, poetry, papers showing the entire writing process with research," Redwine wrote in an e-mail to Ingram to be shared with the students.

Families, city officials and others visited Tuesday to read the works and comment. Students did that, too.

Dee Morris, a Yates teacher, talked about the sequencing the young writers learned: thinking and then writing step-by-step.

Or, as one child's writing on the wall about the recent tornadoes put it, "On Wednesday, we had a storm. Then it got pitiful. I mean pitiful."