Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A wondering wish...

I have written in some of my earlier blogs about my inquiry block, or what our classroom called, Our Wonder Block.  I want students to feel the surprise of wonder when they encounter something that is unexpected, mysterious, unfamiliar or maybe just beautiful in their reading or personal life.  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 am always trying to think of ways to provide our classroom with opportunities to turn that wonder into curiosity, act on it, and take that strong desire and go!

While on vacation, my fifth grade son was wondering away...question after question.  I found myself saying "I don't know" alot!  So we decided to take pictures of all of the things that he wondered about, so we could research them when we got home.  I know that traveling to a new location stems a lot of wonder.  But imagine (here is where my wish comes in), if we knew the students that were going to be in our classroom right now and could send them with a summer wondering assignment...capture pictures of the things you wonder about this summer.  Then, we could give them the gift of time to act on that wonder in our classrooms.  If every student could bring pictures in (newspaper articles, brochures, artifacts) and fill a board with questions that we are curious about and have a strong desire to understand.  How WONDERful would that be?  The best part is that each picture that would be brought in would have a story behind it...pictures of how something works at a local swimming pool, a flower on a walk, a particular breed of dog that just moved in with the neighbors next door, or a picture of an antique found at grandma's house. A way for the classroom community to get to know each student.  I am trying to think of a way to do this with the barrier of not knowing my students till about two days before school starts.  I want their "treasures" to be authentic and not something they scramble around the house trying to find.  I have to think more on this one.  But, as I keep thinking...enjoy the photos and questions my son would have brought in had he participated in capturing summer wonder!

The captain said that stone crab and blue crab blow bubbles when angry.  "Do the bubbles just tell other crabs that they are angry or do the bubbles somehow protect them?"

The osprey return each year to the nest at the top of the pole.  The duck at our school returns each year to lay her eggs in the same spot.  "Do all birds do this?  Do you know of any other birds that return?"
Each day at 4 PM we would go down for low tide and use our toes to feel for sand dollars.  "How do they know when low and high tide would be?" WONDEROPOLIS has the answer to this question!

A local was fishing for shrimp.  "I just realized that I only know what a shrimp looks like on a plate!  What does a live shrimp look like?"

What does "harass" mean?

"How does putting the lights out save sea turtles?"
At low tide we would find live sand dollars...they are brown, give you a yellow stain on your toes as you feel for them, and have hairs along the outside.  Not as pretty as the white fragile sand dollars that you often see.  They are considered "live beach fauna".  "How are sand dollars alive?  How do they live?"

We learned from a local on the island that this tree is called a "Live Oak".  We even saw one that had a branch go underground and appear in another spot.  "How do live oaks grow?"


  1. Oh my gosh! You knew I would fall in love with this post instantly-LOVE this idea. Wouldn't it be neat to have our students bring in a photo from their summer and then ask them to wonder more about it? I always just do a photo of their summer vacation but now you have my mind churning. AMAZING post!!

  2. I am still thinking on this one too and wondered about your Wonder Jars. Hmmm...I wonder how there might be a way to combine the two...pictures and the wonder jars. I want this to be a way to build community and to have a place to wonder like we have a "next stack" of reading...Now I am thinking that this place should be by a computer and have a tub of books on all of the topics. If your mind churns up an idea...please share :)

  3. I love this idea. I am going to use this idea as a Christmas Break assignment. Thanks