Creating a Wonder World: Centers, Projects, and Clubs
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Thoughts from our discussion on 7/1/10

- we need to build language - especially for our population of kids

- the idea of wonder connects to Debbie Miller's work in Reading with Meaning

- follow through is critical - questions are asked by kids all the time and we often encourage it, but we have to follow through - we need to establish a routine in our day for it

- for kids who are not yet able to write down their questions (or read their own or others) we could capture recordings using a tape recorder, mp3 player, or Audacity open on a computer in the classroom

- like the idea of research and heart questions - this supports inferring skills - both types of questions are valid

- idea of looking for details in order to write about those details is powerful

- like the idea of praising students' questions - encouraging them to take risks - celebrating the mistakes

- Exploration Center - things for students to tinker with (tinker seems to be an up and coming buzz word in a great way) - students can bring things in for this center
- the idea of focusing on a question or wonder for a week helps to build interest, develop language around it, and encourages discussion about it at any time (recess, at home, etc)

- having one journal rather than a bunch of individual ones is appealing - more collaborative - see each others' thinking throughout - kids can write in it together

- students can return to the same center day after day and that is not a bad thing - they will get something from it - it allows them to immerse themselves in it - they must feel successful - if you do something enough times you free your brain for something new about it - reminded of kids who watch the same movie or show again and again - research shows that kids can only attend to pieces of something at a time so this allows them to access more over time - it also includes choice - kids are taking responsibility for their learning

- snoopiness - kids searching for things, looking closely at things (magnifying glasses, fun glasses, one small square, etc)

- build some of this into morning meeting

- Seth Godin's work around teaching kids to answer their own questions

- wonder means to smile or laugh - ties into the emotional component

- helps us move away from a teacher-centered classroom

- the importance of listening to children
- the importance of giving kids time to think/feel comfortable

- modeling! (model thinking - how it looks, what is happening in your head)
- conversation center - a place/time for kids to talk to each other

- the importance of having high expectations

- share excitement about books - give time to talk or write recommendations

- kids write books about each other - listening to each other - building writing skills (including subject/verb agreement and tenses) - it makes for an engaging topic - helpful as writers and readers

- p. 4 - bullets at the bottom focused on state standards - do our standards encourage in this same way?
- p. 5 - the idea of needing 'wisdom schools' rather than 'knowledge factories' - building students' dispositions to learn - perserverence
- p. 9 top - take a tour of each others' classrooms and look for parts that encourage wonder

- find the right hook to engage students (writing plays to perform, interviewing other students) - the power of student driven learning

(I'm setting up places for the different sections of this chapter for folks' thoughts, but please don't feel limited by that!)

The Wonder Center
I did something like this at the end of the year (around our study of worms) but I'm struggling with how it would look in the first half of the year when our first graders can't write in a way anyone else can read. Is it something I just have to wait to begin or is there some way to make it work?

Wonder of the Week


Pondering Time and Whole-Class Shared Research


Pet Observation and Wonder Journals


The Discovery Table


The Observation Window


One Small Square


A Listening Walk


The Wonder Club