Wonderopolis: An Unexpected Community Builder

Nov 7, 2017

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Susan Hellard

Is this the time of year that we all feel bogged down and busy, or is that another time of year? I simply cannot remember! However, I have made a conscious decision to not let all the noise and outside negativity get to me. I have to keep my focus on my students and do what I know they need; not change my instruction based off a snapshot of what people may see when they walk into my room. Turns out Wonderopolis did more for my students than I could have ever imagined.

Like many of you reading this blog, we have expectations throughout the day and those begin first thing in the morning even before all of our students arrive in our classrooms. These expectations do help keep our classroom orderly and running smoothly, but this year I wanted to incorporate Wonderopolis into my morning routine. I could have never imagined what this 5-10 minutes of exploration would do for the relationships between my students and myself.

My students, some of whom would have never thought they had anything interesting to share with me, now rush up to me to ask me if I have read the new Wonder. They are excited to share with me something they have read! My struggling readers feel successful because of the support the text provides. My high performing kids love the topics and take the topics deeper by asking more questions about the topic. I even had a student tell me, "I know I did better on my reading test because I have been reading so much on Wonderopolis." This is a kid who I struggled to confer with at the beginning of the year. Now, I use "Wonderopolis" as a springboard to most of my conversations with students due to the number of connections they make to the text. The best part is that those connections have led them to deeper inquiry on their own.

I recently shared Wonderopolis with our 3rd grade team. They love it so much, it is used in the mornings and AS A REWARD! That is SO GREAT! I see the 3rd graders in the hall and they thank me for coming into their room and love that I call them my "3rd Grade Wonderologist Team!"

Our new media specialist this year, who is AMAZING, is going to add Wonderopolis as a rotation in our library so all kids can be exposed to Wonderopolis! Isn't this a GREAT idea!? Steal it, PLEASE! Ask your media specialist if there is room in their rotation for a Wonderopolis station!

I think when we grow tired, the kids are still thirsty for more. We cannot let what is thrown at us bog us down to the point that it detracts the kids from investigation and discovery. We have to keep pushing ourselves to be learners and wonderers. We have to be Wonderologists at heart and that is why I am so proud to be part of this Wonderopolis Team.

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