I wish that I could remember who recommended A Place for Wonder by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough so that I could give that person their proper credit. Sometimes, when I am reading Monday posts, I just place titles into my Amazon cart, and I know that this is how I wound up with this book in the brown box on my doorstep. Whoever suggested it, thank you!
Even though many of the descriptions are of early primary classes, all elementary teachers could use the ideas in this book. Jennifer McDonough, the kindergarten teacher who writes reflections throughout this book, created a "What Do You Wonder" center in her classroom. The result was teaching students to ask meaningful questions. I loved the concept of teaching students about different types of wonders. There are "heart wonders"--what makes a good friend? But there are also "research wonders" that we can find answers to in books or in other sources of information. Additionally, there are combination wonders, and there are no-answer wonders. What a cool way to sort wonders and keep discussions going!
A Place for Wonder has some important messages for classrooms. Encourage curiosity, tap into students' passions, teach how to ask and answer questions, create reasons for authentic research, and allow students to present their findings. Additionally, take the time to slow down and look closely, noticing what is around us with all of our senses. These skills can transfer to the close reading we want from students, as well as the detailed writing we want them to create. I recommend this book as a practical reference with many lesson descriptions and templates to use, as well a resource to inspire curious, passionate learners.