The Wonderopolis Project

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Grade 4 Wonderopolis Project Chart

A few days back, I came across this amazing website called “Wonderopolis” (http://wonderopolis.org/), with the perfect tagline:  Where The Wonders of Learning Never Cease.  Now, who wouldn’t be fascinated?  I want a world exactly like that.  I like the idea of wondering (obviously), but I also love for the wondering to be heard in class.  To actually get inside the brains of my students and know what on earth are they thinking!  Whenever they stare in space.  During lunch time.  Whenever they see a peculiar object.  How they view people, how they see the world.  It’s funny how we teach things that we adults think are important to know, when our students ask the questions that reveal the things that are important to them.

I started the Wonderopolis Project, and immediately it had an impact on my students.  My purpose is simple: to make inquiry fun, personal and more consistent.  I asked them on a voluntary basis who wanted to join the project. The volunteers wrote one wondering on a post-it note. Each of them would have the opportunity to share, depending on which day they fall at. A lot of them asked if they can write more wonderings.

The wonderings are hilarious and interesting!  From “Do girls flush their toilets?” to “Why do Cheetahs run so fast?” to “Who made God?”  Things I’ve learned from my students:  1)  I don’t have all the answers and there are so many things that I don’t know;  2)  I discovered that they wanted to know more about their teachers; 3)  I learned about the things that matter to them.

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My students inquiring about my family tree.

Are they simple questions?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  But somehow I know they are valuable.  For instance, my students inquired about my family tree for her Wonderopolis project.  As we were working on it, she and some of her classmates were shocked about how big my family tree is.  This led to learning about the Filipino and Indian culture, the similarities and differences.  This led to the differences amongst generations, the life before and now.  This led to some of the current issues families are facing.  It wasn’t just about my family tree- it was about culture, history and issues.  I can’t wait to see where ‘do girls flush their toilets’ will bring us.

I’m looking forward to more exciting Wonderopolis Project sessions with my students.  I thanked one of my students for being so passionate about the project and shared to her how I enjoyed it.  Her answer:  even I.

#PYPCHAT

pypchat

“Educators from around the world are invited to participate in the new #pypchat. Inspired by the success of other Twitter chats such as #elemchat, #pypchat was created to provide PYP teachers with an opportunity to come together and share thoughts, experiences and strategies ~ to learn from and with each other.”

As a PYP teacher, this site has been helping me A LOT. It is such a warm community of teachers and school staff, all trying to help everyone with their teaching and learning. I feel valued in this community even if I just joined recently. The members are very inspiring, too!

Encouraging ALL teachers and school staff: http://pypchat.wikispaces.com/

It’s Time to Wonder

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I love traveling.  And whenever I travel by air, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of me reaching another country, another continent, just by sitting.  And I’m actually more fascinated by how pilots get to find the airport from way above, through those puffy clouds.  Of course I know they’ve been trained for that and I’m sure they must recognize signs and symbols, this and that.

It’s just that from the top- north, south, east and west could just be…anywhere.  And yet the wind takes you knowing that there is such a thing called direction… or the lack of it.  Then before you know it, you are just where you’re supposed to be.  Amazing.

I think the best things in life are products of interesting and provocative questions.  Like how they asked before ‘how on earth can I reach another country just by sitting?’  Every question that my students ask inspires me to be a better teacher.  The fact that they wonder, the possibility of their questions to become a discovery, for those questions to be the solution, for the questions to just make them realize who they are and who they’re meant to be.

And just maybe, if I become a better teacher for them, they’d find out the answers for themselves.  And actually LEARN.

Here’s a Lesson.

From Paul Arden’s book “Whatever you Think, Think the Opposite”

It is better to live in ignorance than with knowledge.  Solving the problem is the exciting part, not knowing the answer.  Once a conjuring trick is explained, it loses its magic.  The excitement of a game of football is in not knowing who is going to be the winner.  Some people have success and rest on their laurels.  The lucky ones get to continue to live in ignorance.

Now, maybe you will agree or wont with what Paul Arden wrote.  But I agree to it in a way that ignorance is translated into the feeling of wondering.  To ask.  Then to be brave enough to look outside and find out.  To have the resilience for changes, knowing that things can be what you never expected them to be.  And then to ask again.

It’s time to wonder.  And it’s time that we allow our students to do so.  Cheers to inquiry.