Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Autumn, A Time of Transitions

Photo of Dolly Sods Wildnerness in West Virginia taken by Devin Varsalona Harntett, September 2013

Each year, the season of autumn provides a fresh lens for a hurried world. It quietly walks in, draping and transforming landscapes in seasonal splendor. For those with an appreciation for change, Autumn offers a reflective window on life.  As it boldly states its charge to redesign environments, it allows for brief interludes of quietude. During these times, we see, hear, and view movements of nature with refreshed awareness. We witness subtle changes occurring. With each alteration of nature, Autumn moves reflective observers closer to grasping the magnitude of the moment. People pause in awe of the bounty the season brings. Minds are opened to new noticings and wonders. Thoughts are reframed from the inside out. Autumn nods in response, showcasing itself as a season of transitions

While Autumn is often referred to fall, it is not the reality of leaves descending that one ponders. It is the g
raceful movements and scenic landscapes that are captured by Autumn's lens. The season transcends the act of falling to become a backdrop for transitions. Being nature's change agent, it brings new possibilities to a world ready for color. Teachers embrace Autumn each year, as they transform their literacy spaces into visually-engaging environments. They, as change agents of the educational world, transition students from summer landscapes to autumnal learning laboratories where Common Core standards and shifts are evident in daily instructional practices and lessons. 

As Autumn days move on, nature turns its attention to seasonal changes while practitioners shift their focus to long term learning targets that impact instruction and achievement. Shifts regularly occur in both the world of nature and the educational world. October bursts with the colors of the season, as does the classroom. Sounds of the season enter school doors. From feet scuffling through crumply leaves to luscious bites of crunchy apples, Autumn speaks. From trees ablaze with color to classrooms alive with seasonal sights and decorations, Autumn signifies change. From Indian summer days to cooling breezes, Autumn asks observers to take note of their changing surroundings while teachers do likewise in the classroom. Utilizing transitions, teachers lead students to explore possibilities in collaborative environments. In turn, students observe, pair share, and wonder where their new learning can take them. It is through life's transitions that change is embraced and growth emerges. 

Autumn is a time for transitions. It asks that you be observant of your surroundings that change to brilliant colors of burnt sienna, goldenrod, chestnut, and maize. As you breathe in the fresh Autumn air allow the season to be your guide to rethink and redesign your spaces. Let go of the hurried pace, slow down, and embrace the transitions that lead to new travels as a life learner.