Here is my attempt to bring beautiful literature to you alongside the prompts and the resources you would need to engage all kinds of learners in a thoughtful, literary experience. Please read on to see what you can do before, during and after reading the text.
The Book: (Book Review by Grace Enriquez for the School Library Journal)
“Life begins when you get back up” – so says the blurb on the back cover of Caldecott Medal winner Dan Santat’s latest picture book. But how does one “get back up” when the circumstances surrounding the downfall are not just physically traumatic but emotionally as well? Take the case of one Humpty Dumpty, the titular ovate character from the well-known nursery rhyme. Santat does such in After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again, moving past a quick recap of “The Great Fall” and the physical recovery to focus on the emotional distress resulting from the event. Musing, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue,” Humpty relates his newfound fear of heights, mourns the loss of his ability to watch birds from a spot close to them, and attempts to regain some semblance of enjoyment in his life. How he overcomes that trauma is both literally and figuratively an uplifting tale, one told not just through Santat’s rhythmic text, but also with his evocative mixed-media illustrations. After the Fall is a book that will resonate on multiple levels, compelling readers to reflect not only on Humpty’s remarkable accomplishment but their own capacity for hope and healing.
PART 1: Before Reading the Book
1A: Activate Prior Knowledge with Discussions and Think Alouds
What is the something that you dream about doing? Riding a bike, traveling to a foreign country, a business venture, a college degree….
My dream has been to blog about my teaching ideas. I so badly want to have a platform to support parents and educators in their work in educating a generation of literate and engaged learners.
Have you attempted to fulfill this dream? What happened?
For a while, I have been dreaming. Ideas were firing in my mind but perhaps I was not clear about my vision, perhaps I was not dedicating sufficient time, perhaps I was afraid…
Would you try to fulfill your dream today? Why or why not?
1B: Read a classic book or poem about the famous Humpty Dumpty such as this version told by Kin Eagle.
You can also watch a cartoon here.
You can also take advantage of some Humpty Dumpty printable resources on twinkl.com such as sequencing cards, Nursery Rhyme Posters, stick puppets, cutouts and more.
Try to relate to the character: Humpty Dumpty and his traits, preferences and actions.
- Why do you think Humpty likes to sit on the wall?
- If you were Humpty would you climb and sit on the wall? Why or why not?
PART 2: Reading The Book
2A: Read the book After the Fall by Dan Santat. Here is a link to purchase the book at Amazon.com.
2B: If you do not have a copy of the book or if your audience is pre-literate you can listen to the sweet Read Aloud by PV Storytime.
2C: Pause briefly while reading the book to make predictions and text-to- self-connection. Make sure to maintain a comfortable momentum ensuring to engage the readers’ interests.
Making Predictions: Pause before turning the pages. Use text clues and your prior knowledge to make predictions about what will happen next. You can use this worksheet to record your ideas while reading.
Here is worksheet you can use to draw and write about text-to-self connections either during or after the reading.
Part 3: After Reading
Compare and Contrast the character of Humpty Dumpty from the classical nursery rhymes and Humpty Dumpty from After the Fall. You can use this Venn Diagram to record your ideas by drawing or writing.
Why did the Dan Santat write this story? What was his purpose? You can use this worksheet to record your thoughts.
The following three invitations are excerpt from Grace Enriquez article for the “School Library Journal”. Please see the link for a full article of wonderful ideas for learning extensions.
Growth Mindset and Dynamic Learning Framework – After the Fall is a story that conveys some key concepts of the growth mindset such as persistence and flexible thinking. Discuss how you can apply these aspects to your lives. How can you make your dreams a reality?
Humpty Dumpty Science : Does an egg always break when it falls? According to the nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty couldn’t be repaired. However, he successfully recovers in After the Fall. Use this story to launch a scientific investigation into the properties of eggs and the circumstances in which an egg will and won’t break after a fall. Help students pose some initial questions, such as the following: How far does an egg have to fall to break? Does it matter how thoroughly an egg is cooked? What happens if it falls on surfaces with different properties (e. g., density, size, texture, etc.)? Since Santat’s Humpty Dumpty wears clothes, what happens if an egg is “clothed” in different kinds of materials? Have students plan and conduct experiments and record their findings, engaging them in disciplinary literacy skills that ask them to think and act like a scientist.
How can you keep a falling egg from breaking? Science on the Brain
History of the Humpty Dumpty Nursery Rhyme– What events has inspired the rhyme? How has the meaning of it changed over the centuries? For exploration and inquiry, you can read about it at dictionary.com.
Humpty Dumpty was originally a cannon mounted on top of a tower to defend the town of Colchester during the English Civil War in 1648. Eventually, after three months, the tower was knocked down and the cannon tumbled into the marsh below, never to be found. Thus all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Read the book again and again for deeper comprehension.
Convince someone else to read the book too.
I hope to keep navigating with you at you pursue your dreams in literacy engagement and learning!