Thursday, July 5, 2012

Starting the Day with a Wonder

Let me tell you a little about how I like to find fun things for students to do in class to start the day off right.  I think that the old saying is that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that students need it to start the day off in a good way.  Well I think that we also need to start their classroom day off right as well.  Something that feeds their minds when they get to school just as much as breakfast does before school.

About a year and a half ago, give or take a month, I was introduced to Wonderopolis by a co-worker as a site that offered up something different.  What they offered was short video clips that talked about some things that most people just wondered about.  I learned about the site in January of 2011 but the site had been up since October with its first wonder, Why are Flamingo Pink? That launched on Oct 4, 2010.  Wonderopolis is… “a program brought to life by the National Center for Family Literacy, engages and inspires families in the pursuit of education and learning together.” It also a product of Verizon Thinkfinity which… “offer comprehensive teaching and learning resources created by our content partners – the most respected organizations in each academic subject and literacy.

In January of 2011 I started talking to teachers about how to use Wonderopolis in the classroom and how it could benefit the students as the day begins.  I talked to the teachers and showed them the website and their eyes were wide open by all of the information.  Many times I would show the site to them and they immediately would start talking about how to connect what was on the site with what they were working on in class at the time.  As this was going on I would show them how they could search through all of the Wonders either with a keyword search or through the category options along the left side of the page.  The teachers were amazed at how much information was available to them as they looked at each of the wonders.  There is a description of the wonder, some additional questions, did you know section, some vocabulary words and even some fun project ideas to go along with the wonder of the day.  

I really enjoy the site and will continue to share it with as many teachers as I talk with.  The site offers so many additional resources associated with the wonders that even though they are meant to be short lesson starters, it is more often than not they can be turned into full blown lesson designed in conjunction with the curriculum.  

With all that being said, go to Wonderopolis and see for yourself.  I can be sure that there is something on the site which will add to your daily instruction.  Who knows you may even explore beyond the site to some of the other resources available from Verizon Thinkfinity and extend the learning even further.