While the number of apps available to us seems to be increasingly infinite (oxymoron intended), the number of apps that we use on a regular basis is finite. Therefore, we are adjusting Thursday a bit. While in the past, we have written about specific apps, we are going to have Thursdays be technology-oriented and not just focused on apps.
Today, I'm giving a shout-out to Wonderopolis.org. Tony Wagner wrote A Global Achievement Gap in 2008 and described seven survival skills that are important to "what it means to be an educated adult in the twenty-first century" (p. xxv). The seventh survival skill that Wagner writes about involves curiosity and imagination. He states that "(students) have to be new and improved knowledge workers--those who can think in disciplined ways, but also those who have a burning curiosity, a lovely imagination, and can engage others empathetically." (p.39)
One way that we have found to teach students to ask questions is to model asking questions; Wonderopolis is a great forum for doing this. The National Center for Family Literacy is responsible for Wonderopolis.org and describes it as "a place where parents can seek and nurture a brighter world for their children through the power of discovery, creativity, learning, and imagination." That being said, many of the comments about today's wonder, What Can You Make in a Slow Cooker?, were from classrooms and yesterday's wonder, How Does Technology Change Lives?, has significant relevance to education. The video that accompanies Wonder #710 could inspire innovators and inventors and is completely worth the two minutes! Other examples of questions to ponder are Why Do Some Things Rust?, Why Was Morse Code Invented?, How Many Different Ways Can You Read? and many more. (704 more, as of today...) While some questions have the potential to inspire deeper conversations, almost every wonder I have read has kept me reading.
Melanie Swider has instituted "Wonder Wednesday" in her fifth grade classroom and her morning meetings include lively discussions of Wonderopolis questions. Additionally, if you are on twitter, there is a #WonderChat hashtag. Reading through the comments had my whole family wondering, hypothesizing, researching, and laughing. I'm sure it would inspire the same in your classrooms. How are others using Wonderopolis in classrooms? Please share your experiences!