Fall. One of my favorite times of year full of beauty, transition, and change. A time when the weather is delightfully cool, but not cold. When my plaid scarves get all kinds of play and all things apple flavored are in abundance. Fall is also the Create-An-Intentional-Classroom-Space time of year for teachers like myself. As I prepared to go back into my classroom I anticipated the many transitions and changes of the 2022-2023 school year. From new district curriculum roll-outs to building administration, many aspects of our school community will require additional time and space to fall into place. For starters, I am excited to announce that I've been reassigned to 4th grade once again! So, no need to pack up and move down the hall after all.
Reorganizing my classroom library is one of the first things I want to give my attention to as I begin the unpacking process. Oh, how I wish I had my preordered copy of The Commonsense Guide to Your Classroom Library: Building a Collection That Inspires, Engages, and Challenges Readers
by Colby Sharp and Donalyn Miller right now! Their expert advice would guide me in deciding what to weed out, how to best set up the physical space, label shelves/bins, etc. Realistically, this will be a work in progress at least through the first trimester. I’m confident this book will also be a game changer. Shout out to my brilliant friend, Colby!
(Photo Credit: Colby Sharp, 2022)
In the meantime, I have started to pull picture books that will be used for read-aloud during the first month. I have many go-to favorites, as I’m sure many teachers do. Here are two of my favorites. Something old and Something new.
After the Fall by Dan Santat is a must-read at the beginning of each year. I've read it aloud to undergraduate students and 4th-graders alike. It's just that powerful and good! Despite the royal court’s attempt to put Humpty back together again, he continues to fall apart daily. Through brilliant illustrations and text, readers get the back story of why Humpty Dumpty was sitting up on that wall in the first place. It’s a story of self-discovery, overcoming fear, and risking failure in order to know how it feels to fly.
One of the newest releases from author/illustrator Emmy Kastner will definitely be included in the fall read-aloud lineup! A Great Big Fall tells the story of three leaves who have heard of the adventure and change that comes with the arrival of autumn. Oak, Birch, and Maple each have their own perspectives on the transitions and new seasons. Through anticipation, excitement, and frustration everything eventually falls into place for each of them and they find JOY.
Much like the characters in these books, I am anxious and excited about what the Fall holds in store for me— looking forward to opportunities to feel the wind and soar! Have a great school year, friends. Be on the lookout for some book talks sooner than later.