August Back to School Month

August 2022 Monthly Highlights

Monthly Highlights – August 2022

August is Back to School Month for teachers and families throughout the state. Our regional sites have created or collaborated on incredible resources that support an equitable and inquiry-based classroom. 

Blog Posts

These blog posts are 3-5 minute reads and provide background information on a topic, classroom applications, and a list of resources for further inquiry.

"Back to School: Centering Equity, Inquiry, and Literacy in the Classroom," by Vanessa Madrigal-Lauchland

"Universal Design for Learning: Increasing Accessibility with Classroom Choice," by Vanessa Madrigal-Lauchland

Ready-to-Use Resources 

Picture Books


  • The 1619 Project:  Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson.  I included this title as a reminder to all teachers when planning beginning of the year activities.  As seen in the book, a young student received a family tree assignment but is unable to trace her family back more than three generations.  A gentle nudge that everyone's family unit is unique, with a unique history.
  • 30,000 Stitches:  The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis.  The anniversary of September 11 occurs rather early in the school year.  Today's youngsters were not alive when the attacks occurred yet might see remembrances on the news or in their communities.  This is a lovely book that could be paired with The Survivor Tree to provide an age-appropriate account of the events.
  • All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold.  A must-read for all primary classrooms.  Every student can see themselves in at least one of the images in the book.  Happy In Our Skin would be another terrific title to share in the same vein.
  • Alma and How She Got her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal.  Many teachers start the year by asking students about the history of their name.  Alma has six names, each with a story, and realizes that each one is a perfect fit for her.  Stunning artwork.  Also available in Spanish.
  • Cool Cuts by Mechal Renee Roe.  Cool hair is celebrated in this book that is just plain fun.  Many students will be sporting fresh cuts for the first day of school, so get out your GLAD techniques and chant, "I am born to be awesome" together.  Could be paired with Crown:  An Ode to the Fresh Cut.
  • I Walk with Vanessa:  A Picture Book Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet.  Wordless picture book about how the actions of a single person can affect and inspire an entire community or school.  Could be paired with I Forgive Alex:  A Simple Story About Understanding by the same author.  Perfect books for the primary classroom.
  • Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall.  Jabari learns that it's okay to be afraid to try new things and that sometimes it takes a while to gather one's courage to do something new.  
  • Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Poliak-Fenton.  Sequel to When I Was Eight by the same authors, the book explores Margaret's experience when she returns home from a residential boarding school.  Note:  Quite sad.
  • The Oldest Student:  How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard.  Amazing true story that all students should know.
  • This Is A School by John Schu.  A celebration of all of the parts and people that make up a school.