Children ask thought-provoking, important questions and we are taking advantage of students' curiosity with a ritual called Wonder Questions. Whenever possible, students develop questions based on their interests. Their questions guide their independent reading and research with the goal of sharing their answers with classmates. Students use books, magazines, people, other printed resources, and the Internet to answer their questions. While they find joy in self-directed learning, students are fine-tuning research skills, nonfiction reading strategies and informational writing strategies.
After a series of guided lessons, the children realized that Wonder Questions cannot be HUGE questions. Wonder Questions need to be more focused so a person can investigate the wonder. A question such as, What is a garter snake?, is a HUGE question. A Wonder Question focuses on a smaller aspect of the topic. How does a garter snake fit a mouse into its mouth and swallow it whole at mealtime? is a focused question. This question surfaced right before we fed Fred the Snake. Observations and reading helped a child answer this question.
Wonder Questions let children know that learning can be fun, purposeful, and challenging. They've discovered that a Wonder Question often leads to even more questions and learning. We are so impressed with the enthusiasm and determination of the IMA children to make Wonder Questions a part of their learning lives.
You can make Wonder Questions a part of your home reading lives as well. A pet, an upcoming trip, a question sparked by a documentary, or a spontaneous question can lead to many priceless opportunities with your child. Enjoy your time together and let us know about your Wonders!