Tag Archives: wonder

Day 1: Let’s Play

This is the second post in a series about launching the use of the app Book Creator in a kindergarten classroom.  You can read the first post about our planning here.

So there I was…standing in front of a group of small people, armpits sweating, my eye twitching.  Well, not really.  Because today I knew they would be great, today we were going to PLAY!  Plus, Laura my co-coach would be there to have my back.  (A luxury we usually can’t afford, but when working with Kindergarten special arrangements have to be made.)

Before the lesson we talked through what supports students would need to play.  As strange as that sounds sometimes kids need permission to just dig in and try things out.  So we created this chart to help us focus our lesson.

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Chart creation is credited to Laura and her very neat handwriting.

For this lesson we brought all of the ipads to one room so students would have a 1:1 ratio for play.  We felt like this was important so that each child could develop a sense of independence with the tool.  (For all lessons to follow kids will be sharing iPads.)

After a very short lesson and some turn and talks we let kids get started and just play. Here’s what we noticed;

  • About half of students in each class were able to get started right away.  The other half were hesitant at first but after some encouragement that they could do whatever they wanted they were able to get going.
  • Many students went right for the draw function or taking photos and stayed with that one part of the app instead of exploring all of the different things they could do.  We addressed this through a mid-workshop teaching point and asking students to share things at their tables.  (mostly effective)
  • Several students showed transfer of learning from Writers Workshop, including drawings, text, and photos on one page.
  • One students asked permission to take another student’s photo and Laura stopped the class to have a great teachable moment about photography and respect.
  • At the end of class we revealed our big project and let the kids know they would be authors and they were ecstatic!

This last part is where the real value is in my mind!  Real purpose, real audience, excited kiddos.  I can’t wait to see how this project unfolds.

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A Place for Wonder

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Today is Wednesday which means it’s Wonder Wednesday in our classroom.  It’s sort of a catchy phrase stemming from our obsession with Wonderopolis and the fact that I wanted to make some space for open inquiry in my classroom.  I hope to model and guide students to wonder everyday of the week, not just on Wednesdays!  But sometimes we have to set aside some dedicated time to reflect on wonder journals, examine the class board of open wonders, read about new topics to wonder about, and ultimately seek some answers to those wonders.

Kids want to know, they are curious, it’s just a part of their very fabric.  I see the early shades of this in my almost two-year old.  How does this work?  How many times can I slap mom in the face before she gets mad?  If I mash my hand in this hummus repeatedly what will happen? You get the idea.  But making space for wonder is more than just hippie dippie stuff.  It’s straight up logic.  Kids who are curious and want to learn do better at learning.

So Wonder Wednesday is really about reminding our students and ourselves to stop and wonder.  In a busy weekly schedule where it often seems like we run from one subject to the next we have to take careful and measured steps towards weaving curiosity and passion into classrooms in a way that excites and honors kids.

Wondering can happen in so many ways.  Why not try one of these ideas to make a space for wonder in your classroom?

Creating a Space 

  • Have a stale bulletin board or wall space?  revamp it into your wonder wall.  Let kids fill it with questions that you can revisit when you have a few spare moments and practice your research skills.
  • No space?  Create a digital wall using Padlet like this one.

Inspiring Wonder

  • Check out Wonderopolis for articles paired with videos on a variety of neat topics.
  • View a wonder worthy video like this one at The Kid Should See This.  Just don’t blame us when on of your students “wonders” what would happen if they did this on the East stairwell at school, ok?

  • Take some time to wonder about something you are already doing in class.  Stop and reflect on a class read aloud, infuse student questions in Science and Social Studies and use them to guide what students learn for the rest of the week, revisit a previous text you read together to go back and wonder and then research.

Connect

  • Use your class Twitter account to tweet out wonders to the world and respond to wonders shared on #wonderchat or #wonderwednesday
  • Wonder with another classroom either in your school or not!  You can join our wondering here.

Wonder is a natural state of wanting to know.  We have the desire to learn something and then we go out and do it.  Any way in which you can model that process for students and make space for it in your day is a step in the right direction!  Wonder on Wednesday, wonder on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Cookieday too.  Start here, start now.

For more information check out the storify or resource archive from last week’s #wonderchat that lists both professional books to learn more about inquiry and wonder and childrens’ books to inspire wonder. Thanks @JoEllenMcCarthy for hosting that chat!

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