Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Celebrating Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

My class and I celebrated Auggie's 11th birthday today! Auggie is the main character in the book, Wonder by RJ Palacio. If you have not read this book to your class yet, I HIGHLY suggest you do! It is a heartwarming story about a boy with a facial deformity who is starting school for the first time in 5th grade. The book focuses around the theme of kindness and really hones in on the idea that we should ALWAYS treat each other kindly.

I started my day off bright and early so I could come in and decorate the classroom before the students arrived. I purchased "Happy Birthday" necklaces to give everyone and placed one around each student's neck as they entered the classroom today. 

Last week, I suggested to my students to bring in a book that they thought Auggie would like or reminded them of him. I framed it as the book would be his birthday present and a donation to our classroom library. After the students got settled in this morning, they wrote me an email response explaining what CHOOSE KIND means to them. When everyone circled around for Morning Meeting, students shared their ideas about choosing kind and then we opened up Auggie's presents (his books for our library!).

Next, students created a birthday card for Auggie. The directions were to include in the card something Auggie taught them. I gave them the sentence starter "Thank you, Auggie for teaching me _____ when _____"

After students finished the cards, we gathered together in a circle and students performed a Reader's Theater skit where they re-enacted the story. This was an AWESOME resource I found on Teachers Pay Teachers here.  The kids had so much fun and this ended up being one of their favorite things from today! Lots of laughs!

Our final activity was one that focused on the students and their positive traits. I gave everyone a name tag and they were asked to write one positive trait they hold (in place of their name). Then I used the name tag to stick a blank paper to their back. Next, the class went around and wrote positive affirmations about each other on the paper. I used cardstock so the kids can keep these papers for a long time.

Once everyone got a chance to write positive affirmations to each other, I settled them down to listen to an interview with R.J. Palacio. Afterwards, we discussed. It was great to hear the students reflect on their learning based on what they learned of the author's perspective when she wrote Wonder.  You can find the interview here.

I have a few more activities that I will share with the kids before we finally wrap up this book. I have a feeling they will get really excited when I tell them that we are going to get a private screening of the movie on opening day!!

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