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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Place for Wonder

I'm taking a another break here today from children's books. With two preschoolers at home I'm always looking for books on learning. Here's one of my recent favorite finds. It's called A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Non-fiction in the Primary Grades by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough. This book is basically a teacher's guide for a curriculum of reading and writing with students. The process that they walk you through just clicked with me and I plan to do supplemental 'wonder' activities with my two once they start into kindergarten and first grade. I think this is a great basis not just for the reading and writing but for a life long love of learning. The process starts with having kids share what they wonder, then to write their wonders down, to discuss them, to collect their wonders. The authors established different 'wonder stations' in their classroom for the kids to ponder and explore at. The next step is to learn how to find out about your wonders such as observation, research, discussion, and to ponder it. Final step kids are writing about their wonders, what they have learned and what their thoughts are. I think it would be fun even now to keep a notebook of my wonders. The authors encourage/ provide opportunity for the wonders to tie into nature such as taking the kids outside to explore, having a wonder window to observe the outside, bringing natural objects into the classroom. They shared how nature really makes the best topic for early writing exercises. It's all around us, kids are naturally drawn to it, they are curious about it and it is something tactile that they can explore and observe.

The writing style of this book is not dry at all, it's imaginative, clear, engaging and flows from one concept to the next. I love the basic premises of taking time to wonder and ponder with children. To explore what they are curious about. I'll have to come back through in a couple years and let you know how it worked for us once we put it to practice. But I am going to start talking to my two about their wonders and plan to keep a little book of them to share with them when they are older.

3 comments:

  1. I always loved making little 'nature kits' for my kids: cheap plastic (small) toolbox, hand lens, bug jar made from jelly jar and a bit of screen, notebook and pen to jot observations, plastic baggie for mosses and stuff. Those were the days! :-)

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  2. this looks fantastic, and, as a soon-to-be homeschooling mom i think i need to get this! thanks for the review.

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