Thursday, November 10, 2011

Off course but on track!

As in all things in life, what you have planned...does not go as planned, but the new journey is worth the ride!  I had done a previous post on developing a Wonder Block for my class.  The vision was designed over the summer, but as special schedules were handed out, team teaching times with intervention teachers were decided, computer times were established, and all the other components that go into developing your classroom schedule were considered...my Wonder Block took a detour.  What was developed and what has been explored...definitely worth the detour!

My Wonder Block is now a three day routine.  It actually starts on a Friday.  On Fridays my class explores a Wonder of the Day from Wonderopolis that extends our thinking from a unit we are studying.  For example, we were studying the four regions of Ohio and learned that the Till Plains Region is known for corn and popcorn.  So...we studied the wonder...What makes popcorn pop?   We were studying the Lake Plains Region and found that a point of interest was Cedar Point...so we studied the wonder...Where is the fastest rollercoaster?  This past week we studied slow changes that occur to the Earth's land...so we studied the wonder...How deep is the Grand Canyon? Looking ahead to this week we studied weather and erosion so we will be exploring the wonder...Why is the Statue of Liberty green?

Each Friday we do a quick write of what we THINK we know, what we KNOW, and what we WONDER.  We then share and celebrate all of the thinking we bring to this one question.  Next we watch the video and/or I have them watch an additional short clip.  For the rollercoaster one, I found a video of someone who videotaped their ride on the fastest rollercoaster.  Or for the Grand Canyon, I found a video of the skywalk at the Grand Canyon.  One video gets them thinking and the other starts providing details.  Students then "jot" down any thinking that is now KNOWN or CONFIRMED and draw a sketch of their new learning.  After that, we read the article, answer the questions in written form, and ask the most important step in inquiry...what do I want to know now?  I have books on hand that represent the topic or an additional article.  I also open up the computers to research the answer of new questions.

We now use day two and three to continue researching our new wonders or to work on our new wonders that were developed during our Inquiry Buddy time with first graders.  This has opened up three moments in my busy weekly schedule for non-fiction, wonder, and time to act on curiosity in the form of research.  Each wonder branches off of an initial lesson that connects directly with our state standards.  And the best part...it is motivated by choice.

1 comment:

  1. You're not off course - you're just on a new course! Still sounds like your students are going to WONDER and connect all their learning which is what learning is all about.

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