I have spent a lot of time this summer pondering how to immerse non-fiction reading into my student’s daily reading life. My wish for my students is that they will read with wonder. They will read, listen, and discuss all of the facts, photographs, and videos that they encounter in their reading. I want the students to feel the surprise of wonder when they encounter something that is unexpected, mysterious, unfamiliar, or maybe just beautiful. But beyond that feeling of wonder, I want to provide students with the opportunity to act on this feeling in the form of curiosity. I need to find a way to provide my students with the opportunity to turn that wonder into curiosity and act on it…to take that strong desire and go!
Through several virtual conversations with Maria at the Teaching in the 21st Century blog (see blogs I follow), I have come up with a way to immerse my students in wonder all week long and provide opportunities to act on their curiosity…a wonder block! I have decided to use Wonderopolis’ Wonder of the Day as the opening to my day. Monday through Wednesday students will come into the classroom with the wonder of the day posted. They will free-write what they think the answer is, have conversations, and stimulate background knowledge in their wonder notebooks. We will watch the video and share-read the information as a class. We will also write any lingering questions in our wonder notebooks before our “wondering block” concludes (Although I hope it doesn’t! I hope it continues into reading workshop!). On Thursdays, I am going to “dig deep” into the reading portion of a wonder that connects to our content. At the end of this time, I am going to provide the students with a basket of text for future reading. On Fridays, our “wonder block” will be sharing any new information gained from acting on our curiosity.
I think the opportunities to informally wonder and to wonder about content will be just what the students need to build their stamina with writing and to read with “eyes wide open.” By providing the students with immediate resources and a share time of further investigations, the students will be given time and conversations to act on their curiosity and share their strong desire to learn something new. My hope is that by the second half of the year the students are independently going through the wonder of the days, independently finding resources, and shifting to more open inquiry and curriculum inquiry opportunities.