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.


Are you reading RJ Palacio’s Wonder to or with your class this year? Join #WONDERschools to connect with other teachers, students, and classrooms that are.

Grab the #WONDERschools button for your blog–use the code below or in the sidebar —>;;>;;



You can also add a #WONDERschools Twibbon to your Twitter profile pic –>;; http://twb.ly/P4fz2c


Join the #WONDERschools


39 thoughts on “#WONDERschools

  1. Pingback: Wonder by R.J Palacio | kassandrarodriguezblog

  2. Our district is planning to have all Middle School Students read Wonder this summer, with discussion and activities beginning during the school year. I am interested to know if any schools used the book in classes that have students with craniofacial or other different appearances or deformities. My concern as an educator with differences is that the students may be uncomfortable with the discussions since they may have had experiences similar to Auggie. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    • Just in case you don’t check back here, I’ll also send this to your email.

      I would highly recommend getting in touch with Dede Dankelson (@ddankelson) at Children’s Craniofacial Association. I hope you’re on Twitter. Their www is ccakids.org. Twitter handle is @CCAKidsTweet. CCA has adopted WONDER as their own as it hits so close to home. Dede and the organization will be able to give you much more sensitive feedback to your question than I would.

      Thanks for stopping by and keep me posted!

  3. It’s so funny that I happened upon this blog! We read “A Long Walk to Water” as a school last year and this year…”Wonder”! Great minds…. : ). Thanks for putting this together. We’re going to do the 1-2-3-Wonder activity.

  4. Will be using this book with my Grade 8 classes, would love to connect via twitter as well. Just wondering, about the @mrsmiltonsclass account – do all of your students log in using this account and tweet using this profile? Thanks!

    • My class finished WONDER a couple months ago. You may want to look over the list of participating classes and teachers and contact them directly.


  5. Hi,
    I’m new to blogging, and my Grade 8 students and I will be reading the book starting next week (I hope). I have set up a class blog, but I’m not sure how to ‘grab the #WONDERschools button for our class blog. Any help?

  6. Pingback: Celebrating the Wonder of Wonder by Sherry Gick « Nerdy Book Club

  7. Pingback: 1-2-3 WONDER –> #WONDERblogTour Project | {Eat the Book}

  8. We can’t access the Tumblr from our school because the district has it blocked. Is there another website or another way our kids can make the pledges? Thanks!

  9. I look forward to seeing everyone’s ideas. We used the book as our All School Read this past summer, but I plan to keep using the book as one of my fifth grade novels in future years.

  10. Hi! I’m signed on to Wonder schools. Wondering if any of the above Twitter accounts are grade 5? We’d love to connect via a grade 5 or 6 Twitter about the book and other things. We are @yis5b

    • Hi Kristen,

      Have you been able to look at the spreadsheet of collected information above? 66 teachers/librarians have signed up. It shows in the 6th column that Many are 5th grade. Let me know if you are having trouble finding them or viewing the sheet.

      • Thanks! I can see it. I’m looking for schools who have Twitter accounts with their students, so students can Tweet about the book. Our grade 5 Twitter is @yis5b.

      • Just guessing–try @mrsmiltonsclass, @highfillcrew, for starters. I know I’ve seen more. Why don’t you tweet it out there with the #wonderschools hash?

    • @mrsmiltonsclass is a 5/6 class in Fort Erie, Ontario Canada. We don’t start school until Tuesday but would LOVE to connect through Twitter!!!!!

    • I am a principal in Alabama. I am going to read the book starting next week to our 5th and 6th grade classes. I would love to tweet about the book with your class.

    • We are doing the same in London Ontario Canada with the junior division-grades 4-6 (we have 7 classes participating and will begin reading on Tuesday. Can hardly wait to connect with other schools. My e-mail is m.perez@tvdsb.on.ca. We are open to twitter when school begins and we get set up.

  11. Pingback: 8.20 It’s a Summer Monday! What are you reading??? « {Eat the Book}

  12. Pingback: Those Who Need It The Most | sonya terborg

  13. I’m not certain my sign up was successful – it’s incomplete because I’m waiting for the okay to have a classroom-based blog and need to add other info as well. I’m very excited to share ideas with everyone and especially to share this book with my rising 5th graders!

  14. Pingback: Join #WONDERschools « {Eat the Book}

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