Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wonderwall Wednesday: Sept 25, 2013

What activity has high expectations, develops critical thinking, has both vigor and challenge?

Yes,Wonderwall Wednesday!

Why Wonderwall? Giving the students time to "wonder" is important. It develops early in the first graders independent thinking and I model for them how to develop their student work into a project. It also has wonderful 21st Century skills of disciplined inquiry, mixed with big ideas and a guiding question. Another great thing that Wonderwall Wednesday does is provides alternative learning opportunities as well as creates a space for rich, relevant learning.

Although some people might walk by us and think we are "just playing", the truth is far the opposite. We are just learning in a style that is best suited for the needs of many people. Conversation, inquiry and hands on ownership in our thinking. Today we wondered how big the planets were. The guesses that the students made were far, far off. (Objects in the mirror are not as close as they seem...kinda moment). However, that developed the idea of very large numbers to emerge again in our studies. We are learning to put commas after three numbers as we count from right to left as well.

As you can see from this triangle image, there are many aspects of Bloom's Taxonomy that helps us as we become learners and as we use Wonderwall to help us. This week, I went an extra step and added a section for what we already knew and a section for what we now had new wonders about as we studied planets.  We enjoyed learning a few details about the planets as well like how many moons they have, whether we could live on them or not and why as well as some aspects of Roman/Greek mythology that tie into it.

Did we get our numbers right? No. We're we close? Not. At. All! But that was not the point. We were learning. We were creating. We were analyzing. We were understanding. We were evaluating. We were applying what we already things we are learning about. Beautiful, organic learning. The best way to learn!

PS: Yes, we know Neptune is tilted differently. A student said that he knew it was. I didn't even know that. We looked it up. He was right. Scientists think some big huge thing knocked it off kilter.