Skip to main content

#WonderSchools Blog Tour


Last School Year:


Like most members of the Nerdy Book Club, I first heard about Wonder on Twitter.  I'm fairly certain either Paul W. Hankins or Mr. Schu (probably both) were singing its praises. I first read Wonder by R.J. Palacio in February of this year. I tried to purchase it right after the February 14 release date, but Barnes and Noble didn't have any in stock yet.  (I was appalled!  Didn't they know what an amazing book this was supposed to be?!)  I immediately went home and tried to download an ARC from NetGalley.  Luckily, I was approved and was able to read it less than a week after it was released.  

Simply put, I fell in love.  


After reading Wonder, I immediately ordered copies for my school library. I introduced it to one of the 6th grade reading classes during library time.  They sat and listened to me, seemingly spellbound by the story.  I knew it would be a great read-aloud for their teacher to continue.  (As our student council sponsor, she runs all kinds of great anti-bullying awareness activities and has a real heart for students.)  The teacher continued reading the story daily to her class and allowed me the privilege of reading bits during library time each week.  The class continued to come to me and tell me how much they were enjoying the story and view points.  I spent a full period reading to the class when the teacher was absent and had to read about...you guessed it...Daisy dying.  Tears were shed by the students, by me,...we all had to just take a few minutes to absorb the loss, reflect on our own losses, and console each other.  It was a moment I will never forget.

 I tweeted to R.J. Palacio and was able to arrange a Skype visit with her and this class of 6th graders for our last day of school!  We had never had an author visit via Skype.  Students prepared questions and we had an amazing visit with her, talking about the story and the impact it had on all of us.  

Video of our Skype visit:


This School Year:

We knew that reading Wonder would be a wonderful way to begin the school year.  I gave all three 6th grade teachers a copy of the book to begin as a read aloud on THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.  We felt it was a great way to set the classroom climate.

The 6th grade hallway was adorned with a huge banner and posters that illustrated the message of Wonder.

The classes are now almost finished with the book.  We've had discussions in the library, connecting Wonder to The Dot, discussing the power of choosing kind, making our mark in a positive way at school, at home, and in our community, and the ripple effect of our actions.

The wonderful 6th grade teacher who first used the book in her classroom (our student council sponsor) and I have had many ongoing discussions about what else to do to make a big impact with "choosing kind" during October and beyond.  She ordered bracelets and post-it notes from Office Depot/Born This Way. (It's not too late to order -- only took 2 days to receive, although some of the bracelets are on back order.)

 

The plan is to have student council members put a bracelet on the locker of EVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT.  This will be done on Saturday, October 6.  On October 8th, students will enter the building to find their very own "Be" bracelet at their locker with a positive message.  Posters will also be in the hallways with either "Choose Kind" or "Be":



Teachers will each be given a post-it note packet as well to further promote the positive messages.  There will be daily announcements during the week about "choosing kind".  On Wednesday, October 10, I will host a birthday party in the library for Auggie for all of the 6th graders.  We'll have cake (of course!), sign the pledge at the Choose Kind Tumblr, and make a lengthy list of all the ways we plan to choose kind in the days ahead at our school and in our individual lives.

During the following weeks, I hope to make some Skype connections with other classrooms, sharing our "choose kind" stories.  I'm also working on a student project with David Etkin (founder of #WonderSchools) which he will reveal in an upcoming blog post!

That 6th grade teacher at my school who's been instrumental in all of these plans?  She's taken it even further to the Indiana Association of Student Councils, making Choose Kind their theme for this school year and hopefully (fingers crossed!) bringing author R.J. Palacio to their ML Spring Conference for students!


I would, of course, love to have R.J. Palacio visit our school either via skype or in person this school year (details still in the works).

Above all, I will continue to do my best to daily "Choose Kind" and be an example for students and staff.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary - the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder






Comments

  1. Wonderful post, Sherry! Thanks for sharing! You are doing amazing things at your school. They are lucky to have you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much! I remind myself daily how lucky I am to have a job I love and enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! Awesome! I'm reading Wonder as a read aloud, and I LOVE your idea of celebrating Auggie's birthday on Aug. 10th!!!! :-) I also love the bracelets! Thank you for your great ideas!
    holly

    ReplyDelete
  4. Liked the beautiful message conveyed in this book. Thanks for sharing that you enjoyed the flow of the multiple POVs.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ch-ch-ch-ch- changes...

This space looks a little different.  The url has changed (no more thelibraryfanatic.com) & the title is yet to be determined... (If you have any great suggestions, please let me know!)
I've found myself singing this Bowie song quite a bit: "Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes  Ch-ch-Changes (Turn and face the strange)..."

While I didn't go back in time to make it happen, there has been a BIG change in my life.

I recently accepted a new job with Five Star Technology Solutions as an Associate Director of Innovative Learning for Northwest Indiana.   With a mission of "creating awesome learning experiences for kids", how could I NOT want to be a part of this fabulous company?


Monday marked the beginning of my fourth week in this new position.  It also marked the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year for my children.  Taking them to school and even going into my former building where I had worked and practically lived the previous eight years was the true test.  Would I be sad …

1-2-3 Wonder

Collaborating is one of the aspects of teaching that I most enjoy.  As a school librarian, I have the unique opportunity to collaborate, teach, and work with many different teachers and students in my school building, grades K-12.  This school year, one of my professional goals is to collaborate outside of my school and even outside of Indiana. 

When David Etkin mentioned on Twitter that he had an idea for a Wonder extension lesson, I immediately said "I'm in!"  We talked it out a bit and decided to recruit a few more people to the collaborating party from the #WONDERschools initiative.  Davidforced  persuaded Reilly into participating in this project with her 5th grade students.  

We worked together in Google Docs on the lesson idea, questions, and discussed how to best implement this in our classrooms.   Then we decided how to combine and showcase what was done in each of our classes. The cool part of this collaboration was that we used several methods of communication: …

The Curse of the Were-Hyena

Book mail is (obviously) some of my most favorite mail to receive.  When this book arrived, I immediately opened the package to find this super fun book.  I put it on my TBR shelf, promising myself I'd get to it soon but I needed to continue to concentrate on finishing up my YA reads for the Eliot Rosewater committee (our state YA list).  
A few days later my son and I realized we needed a book to read together.  We'd just finished one and had neglected to pick out a new one.  Mom to the rescue!  I grabbed The Curse of the Were-Hyena and began reading it to him as our nighttime story.  After only a couple of pages, we were both hooked.  Many giggles and gasps as we fell head first into the engaging story.  The next morning he asked if he could take it to school to read.  That's when I knew he was REALLY hooked!  That afternoon/evening, I had to read to catch up with what he'd already read so we could continue to read together at bedtime.  This proved to be a lot of fun …