Monday, March 6, 2017

#SOL17 Day 6: Bookshelf Therapy

This year, I've moved into a new role in our district and I love it!  Though I wake up every day looking forward to the new opportunities, I do miss so many things about being in the classroom.  Sometimes I just want to pop into a classroom and share a read aloud or gather a group of students for shared reading.  When I see teachers, with their students all gathered in community conversation, a little pang of sadness tugs at my heart.  Even trying to work through the Slice of Life Challenge without my class of students beside me brings a bit of melancholy.

It's hard to change the rhythms of our days.  There are times I want to just arrange supplies or gather a variety of paper for writers.  There are moments I want to grab a dry erase board to write a morning message, or put together magnetic letters for a word study lesson.  Most of all, not surprisingly, I miss the joy of sharing books every single day with a group of young readers.  I miss seeing their reaction to the stories we read.  I miss the conversations.

I miss having a classroom library.  Don't get me wrong, there are still a lot of books in my world.  My picture books have taken over my daughter's old room.  My Kindle has a steadily growing collection of favorites I like to have by my side when I'm talking with teachers and students.  Every chance I get I'm still wandering bookstores to discover new titles.  Apparently, though I have many books, I miss arranging them and rearranging them in my classroom.

Sunday morning as I struggled with my post, I found myself on a search for poetry by Billy Collins (yeah, I don't know how I get on these tangents...that's a post for another day).  I decided to quit aimlessly searching the internet, and go to my poetry books.  You know it goes when you start going through your books.  It wasn't long until I had somehow moved from my quest to locate books by Billy Collins and found myself gathering stacks of my favorite poetry books.   Once I had so many books out, it only made sense to move all of my poetry into the family room where I could see them and read them daily.

Well, you know how it goes.  Moving the poetry meant moving the professional books.  Moving the professional books meant going through the fiction.

It wasn't long until I had left my computer and managed to tear apart bookshelves in my daugher's room, my bedroom, our living room and our family room.  I've been collecting poetry for many years and was caught up in the joy of rediscovery.  There was something cathartic about touching all the books, arranging them, and then rearranging them until everything was in its place.  As my personal poetry collection came together in one space, I realized there was just enough extra room to add a few picture book favorites.  A win!

I guess in the midst of the chaos I found another secret to making myself feel better when I am missing the classroom:  a little bookshelf therapy.

For the sixth year, I will be joining the Slice of Life Challenge with the community of Two Writing Teachers.  I will be trying to put my fingers to the keyboard every day for the 31 days of March.  Stop by today's link up at Two Writing Teachers to read other posts.  


  1. A little bookshelf therapy never hurt anyone. I was going to say that bookshelf therapy is cheaper than real therapy, but I'm not sure that's true when I think about your bookshelves. :) Happy reading.

  2. Oh, I love bookshelf therapy. Especially the kind that happens in your own house, looking through the piles and stacks and mounds. Thanks for reminding me of the beauty of those!

  3. Cathy,
    As much as I LOVE books and you know I do arranging them in my classroom often makes me crazy! PLEASE grab a couple of coffees and come on over to our room and arrange these books!

    Bookshelf therapy- love this and I am glad it made you feel better!

  4. Bookshelf therapy sounds amazing! And look at all that you accomplished. Sigh. Your little slice reminded me of the circular story of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ..." If you give Cathy a challenge, she'll want to find all the possible ways to solve it.... :)

  5. Messing around with books is therapy, agreed. Were you looking for Billy Collins because of Poetry Friday's call to celebrate his birthday? How fun that "this" led to "that" led to. . . I imagine you found some favorites you'd forgotten. Happy times.

  6. Oh yes! I completely agree with you on bookshelf therapy!
    Congratulations on your new position!

  7. I love the idea of bookshelf therapy. I used to pull all my books out and dust them and rearrange them alphabetically every couple of years when the sideways books and new purchases take over everywhere and I can no longer find anything. But, with a child in the house, it has not been done in at least 6 1/2 years. I keep eyeing the bookshelves and wanting to arrange them (which really is code for "hold every book in my hand and marvel at it, leaf through it, and add it to my "read next" pile until I want to read every one I own next.") I know, however, that last time I did this, I ended up with piles and stacks and mountains of books on every floor in the house for two days until I got it all arranged. I have a terror of what might happen if I attempted that in the presence of my hurricane of a six year old son. For now, my bookshelf therapy consists of gazing at my biggest wall of books and running my hands on their spines and dreaming.

  8. Nothing like rearranging books to reorient!

  9. There's so much to love in this post: your distractibility (we must be soul sisters) the pang of sadness you feel when you pass a classroom with students all gathered in (it's why I HAD to start an after school book club when I retired), and the fun I had looking at your shelf of poetry books (so many titles I love too - Daniel Finds a Poem, The Poet's Dog, One Today), and now I'm off to order a copy of Valerie Worth's All The Small Poems and Fourteen More (just because I love it so much and have never had my own copy). There's that distractibility factor again!


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