Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. It is the season I feel most comfortable in every way. But what I’m most drawn to about autumn is that it is a season of transformation. How do I transform in autumn? I’ll borrow from Cynthia Rylant’s craft demonstrated in her book In November for my response. Recurring a line is a go-to strategy I encourage my students to use, especially those who have a hard time getting started.
In autumn, the weather invites me to take long walks with my dog, Mia. Unlike the muggy, humid air we detest in summer, we are greeted with bright, crisp breezes that encourage us to walk for miles.
In autumn, I am a photographer. My eyes feast on a symphony of colors that inspire me to take lots of photographs of my surroundings. Leaves are ubiquitous in summer and autumn. But in autumn, they’re not ignored; they’re treasured jewels! Everywhere I rest my eyes, there’s a masterpiece waiting to be captured by my cell phone camera.
In autumn, I look better than in any other season. (If I don’t say so myself!) My fall wardrobe camouflages what I want to hide, unlike my spring and summer clothes, without adding bulk, which is the inevitable consequence of heavy, winter clothes.
In autumn, I am a chef! Savory soups and stews; tender roasts with seasonal vegetables; and zesty pastas are on the menu straight from my kitchen each night. And what’s better than a warm, homemade apple pie on a chilly evening at home? Nothing.
In autumn, I return to my classroom, where I feel most alive. The excitement of being with children and embarking on new reading and writing adventures awakens me from the lazy days of summer.
Simply put, in autumn I change. It is the season where I return to being my most authentic self.
Recently, my 6th graders read Early Autumn by Langston Hughes where we highlighted our copy of this text each time a reference to, or characteristic of, autumn is made. As a result, students discovered the autumn is the third character of this short story, symbolically representing the relationship between Bill and Mary.
I asked my 6th graders to think about the symbolism of the seasons. I asked them to capture some of the characteristics of, and associations with each of the four seasons. It was interesting to hear some of their ideas about the symbolism of the seasons. They’re working on this handout, The Symbolism of Seasons, in small groups:
Next week, I’ll post some of their responses and share what our next steps will be as writers.
Sonja is a purple-enthusiast who teaches English Language Arts to 6th and 7th graders in Westchester, NY. She is the proud Editor-In-Chief of quartet, a literary magazine written and created by her 7th grade students. When not at school, Sonja spends hours negotiating with her chocolate Cockapoo and golden German Shepherd mix about who gets to play with which bone. Sonja is a Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards committee member and a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University .