Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Wonder Wall

I've seen a lot of great educators use a Wonder Wall in class. It is a student space to dream, wonder, ponder and question. A dedicated white board is transformed into the musings of the students. It is a way for kiddos to share their questions, see others' thinking and get ideas. Wonder walls are great additions to any classroom. I always liked the idea but never had the space to give over to the students. In my new room this year, I have tons of space. We have a white board that runs the length of the classroom. That board is our student space. Each week or two, I ask a question or put a title on that board. The kids have time to fill in their answers, questions and thoughts. Some kids make a big deal about it and some hang after the bell a few minutes to sneak their comment on the board. Either way, kids are participating. For the most part, the comments remain anonymous.

Kids do have ideas, thoughts and questions. Sometimes we don't spend enough time asking kids their opinions and thoughts, but they're there. I think when kids see that their thoughts are valued, they see themselves differently. They see that they are an integral part of the class. They see that their ideas have an audience. They see that their learning is respected as much as anyone else's.

One of my goals this year is for kids to see themselves differently. I want them to see themselves as serious learners who are in school to develop their talents and ideas. The only thing that my group of kiddos lacks is confidence. I don't know how much their learning, ideas and talents have been valued in the past, but they severely lack confidence as students. One of the things that I've learned over that past few decades is that confident learners will learn more because they will try new things and make attempts in class. They are prepared to be wrong and they don't mind if they are. At least they will try. Students who lack confidence will not try because they fear being wrong. Once these kiddos have more confidence, they will take more shots in class and by doing so, learn more. Our Wonder Wall is a good way for students to begin gaining the confidence they need to further their development as learners.

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