Sunday, September 22, 2013

Preparing for a WONDERful Year!

Wonder by R. J. Palacio 

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

Over the summer I read Wonder by R.J. Palacio, and LOVED it. Loved might even be an understatement. I obsessed over it, and told everyone who would listen about what a great book it was. Needless to say, I decided to incorporate the story into my classroom this year. 

My crafty self started with some classroom decor (to get the students excited and thinking about the book early on).  The large middle canvas is what the book cover looks like, and the other canvases are quotes that I pulled out from the book.

 Turns out my grand plan worked! When I introduced that Wonder was going to be the first read aloud of the year, I heard shrieks around the room, "That's the book on the wall up there!" "I heard about that book!" "My sister told me to read that book!" Wow, I didn't even have to talk this book up, it already had a great reputation. Instead of giving a brief introduction to the book, I did a lesson that I had always wanted to do. 

This lesson really did make an impact on many of the students, and some of their comments and discussion gave me the chills! After the great discussion I began reading the book. A few days (and a couple chapters) later, I felt that the students were engaged in the story enough to begin the positive reinforcement plan! 

The WONDERful positive reinforcement plan is a way for students to recognize when their peers are doing something right. This has been a great addition to my class this year. Students make stronger connections to the book and are more mindful about their choices. This plan strongly encourages "Choosing Kind" and "Building Monuments." Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store to find out more about the plan! 

I have also created a fourth grade Common Core Close Reading activity to go along with the book. I plan to introduce precepts as well. I believe these activities can be used in other grades, too. Hopefully there are more to come! These two activities go along with the quotes I incorporated in my paintings as well as my behavior plan. 

Click here to purchase this from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Click here to purchase this from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

I look forward to implementing these activities in my classroom, and I'm curious to see how they work in yours! Please comment with any questions or ideas! Have a WONDERful day!