Friday, April 5, 2013

Talk Topic 2: Creating a Wonder World

Please leave your reflections around the first section of Chapter One:


1. The Wonder Center

2. Wonder of the Week

3. Pondering Time and Whole-Class Shared Research

4. Pet Observation and Wonder Journals

5. The Discovery Table


  1. How can we as A type (primarily A type peeople I should say) personalities control our inner need to direct ideas/learning so that we do not direct the wondering at the Wonder Centre of the discovering at the Dicovery Centre?

    I am reflecting on how I can share the power of thought by disseminating the comments from students for students. When we have students who may not be able to express their thinking after recording it how can they share that without my voice coming through? (I am in the mindset of Special Education when I writing this.)


    1. Jody,

      I too am pondering ways to let the students voice come through. I teach in a Chinese community, with over a third of my class still not communicating in English on their own, and several others still grappling with finding the right words in English.

      Perhaps the more artifacts they bring in, the closer we can get to their voice. I'm wondering if allowing them to draw their thoughts might give more insight into their voices. I have also tried getting kid translators - but fear its the translator's voice I'm hearing.

      Maybe acting out how the artifacts make them feel could be a good start. Just a thought.

  2. We introduced inquiry in our kindergarten area using the beginning recommendations from this book. It was a gentle introduction that I found easy to implement.

    First, we set up a discovery table with some interesting items from nature. We spent a couple of weeks learning to make and record observations. We taught students how to use tools i.e. sketchbooks, magnifying glasses, and flashlights to focus their observations.

    Our next step was to increase student ownership. We blogged a challenge to our students and their parents ( and were amazed at the ownership and engagement the students responded with. We acted as recorders of their questions and ideas and blogged them daily to be shared at home. The student who brought in the item for the day directed the conversation and questions. Next we extended the idea but with books instead of objects (

    We scheduled 45 to 60 min. each day to "wonder". This was a big time commitment since we are only half days. I was worried at first... But I feel providing the time to sink into wonder has reaped more rewards than any other task I could have prepared.

    We are just beginning a pet observation table with my African Dwarf Frog next week. Now we offer "Wondering"(in many forms) as one of the choices during our morning centre block (1 hour).


  3. What really struck me was the comments on pages 2 & 3 regarding teachers/schools taking the wonder out of children. How terrible but I can see it happening in my own classroom even though that is the furthest thing from my mind.

    I loved the idea of creating a Wonder Center and know that this is definitely possible in my classroom.

    Next week, I plan to add a Discovery Centre to my classroom and am very eager to see what will happen. I will also begin by demonstrating how to make and record observations but that this will be an authentic place for writing - communication.

  4. I feel like I have been reading this book already, by exposure to other teachers who must have read it. It feels a bit like coming home, reading it put so well, so simply.
    I started a new way of sharing in my class this year: a rather clunkily-titled "explorations parking lot" which has evolved over time into our "sharing space". Rather like the wonder centre, I intended for it to be a place to post our "noticings" and our "wonders". Very quickly it became an integral part of our day, with students hanging up drawings, labeled diagrams, or words to remind them of the story they wished to share. A few wonderful things have come out of having this big section on our blackboard (messages hung with magnets) and later bulletin board (students LOVE tacks). Firstly, toys are welcome in my classroom. Many great inquiry groups have sprung up around a toy or set of toys brought from home. I do not, however, have a "show-and-tell" time, so I encouraged students who asked about showing if they would like to share on our parking lot. This meant drawing or writing because one cannot hang a bey blade/pony/doll. And so, observational drawings of toys began. One girl shared her picture and said: "My doll has a purple dress but I couldn't find purple so I mixed pink and blue". Later, a boy laboured for five minutes to write: "My ba blad spins for 70 sekns". These days we have many students engaged in our bird inquiry, thus many shares are bird facts, drawings, or stories.

    Another exciting spin-off of students sharing their ideas and observations is the way the shared artifacts started being left up after share time (it may have started one day when we ran out of time and left shares for the next day) provoked interest in the other class. Students now routinely ask to leave notes for their AM or PM counterparts, and write notes to each other. Inquiries sparked in one class catch fire in the other, and when we create books or murals or document panels, there is much curiosity about the friends in the other class, how they will respond.

    A third spin-off of the sharing space is a newer space on our blackboard, our "question of the day" sign-up spot. I used to come up with the questions for daily sign-in, but one student connected to an ongoing inquiry and shared her noticing with us. I can't recall the first question off-hand, but it was something like: "Maybe tomorrow the question could be about what kind of tree do you like best". I praised her thoughtfulness, had her make a quick sketch so she wouldn't forget, and the next day I hung the sketch and wrote the Q. We then came up with the idea of student-written questions. I gave the students a special rainbow pad of paper (little squares) and the questions started pouring in. What's wonderful about this is the way we can dialogue about what makes a good question for sign-in (e.g., you can choose an answer) and what makes a good question for further exploration.

    I am loving this book both in the way it is extending my thinking (so many ways to explore!) and also how it reassures me, in my still half-day program, that there's still so many ways to embrace the ideas of FDK.