1-2-3 WONDER –> #WONDERblogTour Project

Where does an idea start? And once rolling, how does a grain of sand gain mass?


The idea of having a group of teachers talking and sharing ideas about RJ Palacio’s Wonder started with Colby Sharp’s Book Club on July 17. Most of us had read Wonderand blogged about it one way or another (here is my original post; and my Skyping with RJ Palacio post). During that Twitter conversation, Deb Tyo (@ChocolateAir) and I Tweeted back and forth about how cool it would be if all the teachers reading Wonder could partner with one another during the school year. And from that: #WONDERschools.

It was just a hashtag at first—until Deb Tweeted me near the summer’s end and said something along the lines of, “Dude—are you going to start that WONDERschools sign up, or what?”

I considered, Me? I’m nobody. Who’s going to follow something I start? I’m no SharpHankinsMillerSchuScopesDavis. This could fall flat and flame out. But then I channeled my inner August and remembered: Fortune favors the Bold!

So I pressed on. I made the #WONDERschools page on my blog, created a logo, and made my first ever Google Form.

Those grains of sand I mentioned? They gained mass and were glued together by a powerful and meaningful novel. Our Wonder. And now…119 teachers and librarians have signed up and put their contact information out there as a way to collaborate. And collaboration led to our little project we call 1-2-3 WONDER.

Sherry Gick (@LibraryFanatic) from Indiana, Reilly Posey (@PolkaDotOwlBlog) from Baltimore, and me (@DavidAEtkin) from Buffalo-ish, New York, teamed up on this project that was for each of our individual classes, but was also compiled into a master product. Simply put, we posed questions that needed to be answered in 1 word, 2 words, or 3 words. (These questions were decided upon after a monster brainstorming session on a very scattered and colorful GoogleDoc). Students worked in partnerships or trios to come to a consensus and write their answers on dry-erase boards. They then posed for pictures. Finally, we asked all students, “In what area of your life do you need to work harder to chooseKIND?”

And for the first time ever in public, I reveal to you my classes’

1-2-3 WONDER project:

 

            But don’t stop there. Please visit Sherry’s 1-2-3 WONDER Video and Reilly’s 1-2-3 WONDER video.

And then watch our cumulative video below.

I have so much to say about Wonder. I’ve been “living” with the book for about nine months now. It’s interesting how it keeps deepening and I keep connecting life events to it. I will post about it again in the near future–another post for another day.

There are many more #WONDERschools milestones out there, such as:

At a more grassroots level, educators started a Twitter conversation under the hashtag #WONDERschools, to share ideas and resources as they experience the book with their students. The idea became so popular that Amherst, N.Y. teacher David Etkin created the #WONDERschools Web site, with more than 100 educators participating.

Congratulations, fellow #WONDERschools: You are part of a grassroots campaign.

  • Working with Lauren Donovan to devise a blog tour. It was cool to speak with her on the phone and brainstorm the possibilities. 44 bloggers signed up! WOW! Read Lauren’s open letter to all #WONDERschoolers on the blog.

¨     Seeing my #WONDERschools logo pop up in random places and blogs. Always a thrill—and humbling. I’m glad that such a powerful, deserving book has garnered such a following.

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“Choose Kind”–inspired by WONDER

How important is the message of Wonder?

Important enough that the publisher has set up a whole site dedicated to the message of the book:

[Click this picture to jump to the site….after you finish reading this post.]

Important enough that the message is being spread in NYC’s Times Square:

As I have blogged about many timesWONDER is a book with a huge heart. It should be required reading for all humans. Skyping with author RJ Palacio just deepened my affection for the book.

When I was on Twitter the other week, I saw that Lauren Donovan, a PR and social media rep for Random House Kids, was talking about “Choose Kind” cards. I quietly *raised my hand and requested some. She sent them right out. This is what they look like:

Today in classes I will draw names and pass some of these out. I will also encourage my students to sign the PLEDGE. I did:

And I will fill out this certificate and hang it in my doorway.

Will you join me?

And will you take a couple minutes to write a response to Wonder on the site?

I have been signing yearbooks with CHOOSE KIND as the year ends. Now the students will know what it’s all about.

If you’re a blogger or have a way to promote this campaign, grab the CHOOSE KIND button on the side of my blog and add it to yours.

Thank you for making the world a better place–one person at a time.

VIDEO: TodaysMeet-ing about WONDER

We did it.

We finished Wonder.  After the applause died down, it was time to chat.

In preparation for Friday’s Skype with Mrs. Palacio (OK–she said we could call her RJ, but it feels too informal), we had an end-of-book conversation using TodaysMeet.com.

The students have improved dramatically in their digital conversations since using the site two weeks ago. (Here is the video of our first session.) I was very impressed with their comments and ideas. They even learned the trick of how to string two comments together using numbers (like “1/2” and “2/2”)–just like we do on Nerdy Book Club #titletalk and #RdgPartners Twitter chats.

Here are the students working hard at getting out their ideas.

Here are the transcripts from the three classes. If you’re wondering if TodaysMeet.com is worth trying, scroll down towards the end where the students encourage you to give it a try.

(It might be helpful to know that my questions are in ALL CAPS.

Period 2/3 Chat

Period 5/6 Chat

Period 9/10 Chat 

If you have any questions or suggestion, leave a comment.