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 Wonder—and 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!
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:
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:
- Getting mentioned on the Publishers Weekly site:
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.