At NCTE I had the opportunity to go to the Wonderopolis breakfast. Sitting there I was, once again, reminded of the brilliance that is the site Wonderopolis. I have used their wonder of the day in mini-lessons, as mentor texts, and as part of my RTI groups. I love how their videos activate my students’ background knowledge. The vocabulary words they embed in the articles are fabulous. And each year I love how reading this site makes my students start to wonder as well.
Thinking of how I could make it a regular part of my classroom, I grabbed on to the hashtag #wonderwednesday that several folks at the breakfast said they used. I put it in the back of my mind and figured I’d begin trying that out when we returned from break.
Flash forward to a week ago Wednesday. Katie Muhtaris announces on Twitter that she and her students will be participating in #wonderwednesday and invites my class and others to join them. I got immediately excited, but was disappointed as well. I was home with a fever and knew we couldn’t join in that day. But next Wednesday it was on!
Tuesday night I realized we truly wouldn’t be able to join in this week after all. I had a curriculum meeting Wednesday morning and my mom would be the substitute in my classroom. I thought for a bit about having her let the kids get on Twitter, but thought that might be too much for their morning. Instead, we created a Wonder chart. My directions were simple. Have the students read the wonder of the day (Wednesday’s was on internet speeds). As their reaction – have them write one thing they “wonder” about (either still about the article topic or just in general) on a post it. I wondered what they’d come up with.
Yesterday I read them. The kids never fail to surprise me. Many were what I would assume fifth graders would wonder. We had lots of questions about animals, specifically communication with animals. But we had wonders that were personal that broke my heart. Silly wonders. Creative wonders. Wonders that made me wonder as well.
Today we will create a more permanent display, on a bulletin board outside of our three classrooms. There the kids can continue to wonder, or pull one down and begin to try and find an answer. Next week we will begin to blog about our wonders and, hopefully, join Katie’s class online to read their wonders. I cannot wait to see what they come up with.