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After the Fall: Activities to Discuss Overcoming Fears

After the Fall” by Dan Sanat is an inspiring story about Humpty Dumpty. We all know the story of Humpty falling off of the wall, but “After the Fall” tells the readers about what happens after the fall. The familiar story and well-known character will immediately capture your student's attention; but the fear, perseverance, growth, and tenacity that Humpty displays throughout the story will bring up some great conversations in your classroom. The mental and emotional resilience Humpty displays will allow your students to see how some things take time and effort, they are not always easy…even for the famous Humpty Dumpty! Your students will love this fabulous story about overcoming fears, believing in yourself, and learning to fly!

Blog title: After the Fall-Activities to Discuss Overcoming Fears

After the Fall” is a story about determination, having a growth mindset, perseverance, and courage. It is inevitable that we will all experience fear in our lives. Fear can feel overwhelming and prevent us from achieving our goals. “After the Fall,” really helps to open the conversation about how to overcome fears and achieve success. While the story shows that it is okay to fail, it highlights the importance of determination and perseverance as well. There are so many amazing discussions and activities that you can do after reading this book. Here are a few suggestions…

Skills to teach with “After the Fall”:

Important Discussions After Reading “After the Fall”:

  • You can discuss overcoming obstacles, the fear of facing obstacles, and pride in overcoming them.
  • Share about how to “get back up” when things are difficult or seems scary.
  • Discuss having a growth mindset and how you can shift your mindset when you face an obstacle.
  • Have students share things that bring joy when things feel tough.
photo of the book "After the Fall."

5 Favorite Activities for “After the Fall”:

1. How to discuss feelings:

Quote from the text "there were some parts that couldn't be healed with bandages and glue."

The king's men were able to put Humpty back together again…but not all of him. Humpty is not himself and while he has healed from his fall on the outside, the inside does not feel the same. This is a great opportunity to discuss with your students how sometimes injuries on the outside can be healed while our feelings on the inside are still hurt or damaged.

Humpty dumpty graphic organizer on a clipboard

Have students brainstorm how Humpty is feeling and write down a few feelings that they notice through his words and actions in the book. Discuss how it can be difficult to deal with our feelings on our own. Sometimes it's helpful to talk to someone else about how we're feeling in order to get some perspective. It can also be helpful to get feedback and advice from others on how to deal with our fears.

2. Talking About Your Fears:

Humpty develops a fear of heights; and while he misses being up on the wall, he knows the risk of sitting there and fears that something bad could happen again. His fear of falling, hesitance at climbing again, and knowledge of what could happen are all holding him back.

Quote from the book: But I could never do it because I knew that accidents can happen.

Have students think about things they can say or do when they feel like giving up on something because they are worried, nervous, or afraid. This leads into a great discussion where you can let students know that it's okay to feel scared after something bad happens. But it's also important to remember that we can't let our fears hold us back from doing things we want to do or from being who we want to be. There are people who can help us feel better and deal with our fears, like our family or our teachers. And it's okay to ask for help if you need it.

Yellow student page with the book After the Fall.

3. Discussing Goals:

Humpty decides he will climb the wall again and decides to take that ladder one step at time. This is such amazing symbolism to discuss with your students and share how as he is truly taking one step of the ladder at time, he is also slowly but surely taking small steps to overcome his fear of heights so that he can go back to what he loves to do.

Humpty says, “I didn't look up, I didn't look down, I just kept climbing,” which is a quote that can stick with you and your students as you discuss the meaning of Humpty climbing the ladder. He remained focused on his goal and did not look back but just kept going.

Student goal setting page for After the Fall

You can have your students share a goal that they have for themselves and what they do to stay focused on their goal; just as Humpty stayed focused on his climbing. While there may be distractions that can take away from reaching goals, a clear idea and a focused mind will help students reach their goals, just as Humpty did.

4. Sharing a Favorite Place:

Humpty finds himself back on top of the wall, his favorite place. As you read with your students, I am sure that you will all feel a sense of accomplishment and pride for Humpty. But this is also a great point in the book to share that Humpty's favorite place is somewhere that he can be alone and enjoy quiet, time to think, and soak in the sights around him.

Have your students share one of their favorite places where they like to be on their own and how it can be important to take time to ourselves and be with our own thoughts. The world around is so busy sometimes and kids lives are filled with many expectations; sharing favorite places, how to unwind, take time alone, and find their “Inner Humpty Dumpty” is so meaningful and helpful.

After the Fall book and student page on a clipboard

5. Celebrating Your Accomplishments:

When Humpty learns how to fly, it is so powerful to see how the illustrations portray this milestone as he turns from an egg to a bird. And as your students realize how hard he has worked to overcome his fears and reach his goal to sit atop the wall, they can now bask in the glory of Humpty joining the birds as he soars.

Quote from After the Fall: Hopefully you'll remember me as the egg who got back up and learned to fly.

Reaching a goal can feel like flying! Discuss with your students how they have felt when they reach their goals and what they do to celebrate the accomplishment. Share feelings that you have as you reach your goals and also share how it may feel if you are not exactly there yet either.

Open book with a purple paper showing After the Fall

After the Fall” is such an amazing book to share that has so many amazing illustrations, symbolism, and lessons to share with your students. The possibilities are endless when it comes to your discussions as you read. Opening a book is like opening the door to so many great ideas and thoughts that students may have about overcoming obstacles and developing a growth mindset.  There are so many great conversations to have as you read this memorable story.

I hope you and your students love it!

You can grab a free one-page guide to help with vocabulary, skills, and discussions while reading this book in your classroom here:

After the Fall book and one page guide on a clipboard

Are your students begging for more after reading “After the Fall”? Find related books here:

A collection of book covers that are related to After the Fall

If you're looking for more favorite read alouds….

You can find more of my favorite read-aloud books HERE.

And read more about why I love reading aloud and think it is so important HERE.

You might also like to find more activities about growth mindset.

Check out all of my favorite read-aloud books and grab free read-aloud guides for each of them HERE.

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You can find the book, “After the Fall” here:

photo of the book After the Fall

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Happy Teaching!

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