Sometimes, I take a moment in the craziness of teaching and look around my classroom at my students. One group is around a circular table discussing A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass, lamenting over a part in the book that made them sad. Another couple of students are on the computers, experimenting with making book trailers using Animoto. Some of the kids are scattered around the room, deep in silent reading their own carefully chosen independent books. One boy occasionally shows his friend a page in the graphic novel he’s enjoying, and his friend laughs. Two or three kids are at their desks working on the writing that goes with this month’s theme topic, empathy. Sometimes, there are these moments when I can stop and pause, breathe, and realize things are happening without me. I can look around at all the book covers I’ve printed off in color that line the tops of the walls all around the room. I can see the bulletin board labeled “Wall of Awesome” where sentence strips announce book series finished by students and dates on which kids have met the 40 Book Challenge. Student work lines a whiteboard. Student-made precepts, inspired by Wonder, cover the door. Plush toys of a gorilla and an elephant, purchased at the Cincinnati Zoo during a Parent/Student book club outing over The One and Only Ivan, sit atop a bookshelf. Books upon books nestle in numerous labeled tubs everywhere I can put them. Essential questions are stapled to the corkboard running along the top of the blackboard. Big questions over our read aloud, Capture the Flag, cover a piece of chart paper on the wall. Photographs of students and me taken with authors are sitting around my desk area. An original watercolor by Matthew Cordell hangs above a row of signed hardback books. It is a happy, joyful, creative place. Sometimes, I can’t believe I get to do what I do. My passion has become my profession, and my profession has become my passion. How lucky is that? In a moment, I will sit down at the table to join the discussion about A Mango-Shaped Space, listen to their stories about their pets, and I will share mine. Someone will probably call me over to edit their book trailer. A student may finish her book and ask for another recommendation just like it. Soon, it will be lunch time and this moment will be interrupted and trumped by growling stomachs. Some days, my classroom looks a lot more chaotic and not everything works. But sometimes, it looks and feels like this.