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 "Never wonder..." 
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As I was reading Hard Times I came across a sentence that really struck me. "Never wonder. By means of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, settle everything somehow, and never wonder"

I think this may be what some teachers and state expectations are doing to our students. Where is the wonder with our students? Are they just given answers for problems and not allowed to explore them on their own? As a Kindergarten teacher, a child's wonder is one of my favorite things to explore. It's amazing to watch them be curious about something and then discover all about it. I believe that teachers should create lesson plans around their students' wonderings....things they are interested in. With no room to wonder, explore, have fun, students will become disinterested in school and probably not live up to their potential, or worse not even graduate.

This quote made me think of an activity we did in a science workshop in Boone. We went around the building and outside finding things we wondered about and took pictures. We then put them into a powerpoint with the sentence, "I wonder..." under the picture. It was an amazing experience and I tried it with my Kindergarteners last year but it was over their heads at the time I did it. Just thought I'd give everyone fun idea!

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Melissa Ervin


Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:29 pm
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As I was reading this novel Melissa I was thinking much of I think what you are; this text written so many years ago makes me think of all the teachers today that teach the cold hard facts, trying to cover their massive curriculum but leave no time to inquiry, investigation, creativity, etc. In the book, Mr. Bounderby and Mr. Gradgrind leave no room for anything but fact. Nowadays, many of our teachers are leaving no room for anything but drill-and-kill and lecture. There is no room for individuality, creativity, wonderings, etc. I wonder how much our world will be lacking when this generation of youngsters grows up. Many of our kids can't think on their own. They don't know how to investigate and try things out. They are never allowed to fail at something and then pick themselfs up. I think in many classrooms we are seeing a resemblance of what Dickens is describing.

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Erika M. Nelson


Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:56 am
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And this, for me, raises a really important question. Can we really learn something, anything, without "wonder" being part of the impetus for learning? How does that work for you, and what do you see in your classrooms?

I'm not sure I can really learn unless I am trying to answer some sort of question, "wondering" about something....

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Gayle Turner


Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:13 am
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I think true learning/understanding/ability to transfer to new situations will only occur if there is a desire and motivation to learn; thus, the students must hold some need to want to know the information; they are going to have a wondering about something to make the learning meaningful and remember it in the future.

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Erika M. Nelson


Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:21 pm
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So, as a middle school librarian and reading about teaching only facts to children and such. I wondered what would happen if we took all the fiction (not true) books out of the library. I mean they are made up stories that contain no facts in them. Should libraries only contain nonfiction (true books) information books bc they are all factual books? Could you imagine what this would do to kids imaginations? I am sure reading levels would drop as well bc most students do not enjoy reading only nonfiction. I know most middle school kids love to read fantasy, action, mystery books ect.... There are several days that nonfiction books are not checked out. Fiction books however are checked out in mass loads daily. Our students love reading fiction and embrace what the made up stories bring to their lives. I couldn't help but think about how much more there is to learning than just facts.

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Shea Richey


Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:05 pm
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I too believe that there must be "Wonder" in the classroom. Unfortunately this testing situation has robbed many students and teachers in the classroom. I don't think I noticed it as much in years past, but this year I have. Teachers are killing themsleves worrying about test scores and we are only 20 days into the year. I can see the looks in the eyes of my co-workers, they are going to kill themselves with stress. It worries me to see them like that for their health, but also for the kids that they teach. I agree with what Erika said about students being able to fail and not to feel bad about it. We must create atmospheres where this can happen, and that students know it is ok.


Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:37 pm
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I was wondering at what point in time did we start valuing facts over wondering???? I mean how did this come about? IT is obviously something that started a very long time ago? Why did we chose to value facts over wondering? It is something that as human race across the board has been valued...And why would this be important? And more importantly, why did some of the authors of fairy tales and nursury rhymes break that mold? They wrote them at a time where facts were out numbering the amount of value we placed on wondering.

Of course a person can not truly learn unless there is spark of wonder...Even if it is hard cold facts...Wondering is a part of human learning no matter how old you are...And in our classrooms beyond all facts we need to ignite the wonder that will help fuel our students to become better thinkers and ask questions that truly matter. So that way we don't all end up like the dreary characters in the book where it seems that the only kind of weather is fog...So lets not fog up our students minds and try to teach them that wonder is truly everywhere...even in the most basic of facts.


Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:03 pm
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Melissa I had some of the same thoughts. How sad it was that the children in the book were discouraged from their sense of wonder. I would have been kicked out of that school for sure.
I agree that we should create lesson plans to help the students learn more about things they wonder about.

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Melissa Crotts

"We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of the dreams." Willy Wonka


Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:05 pm
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The question "can we really learn without wonder" is very interesting. I think teachers feel the fastest way to deliver the entire tested curricullum is with the drill and kill method. Interestingly, my school gave baseline assessments this year. None of my students scored above 80% on prior grade knowledge. Obviously drill and kill isnt working. We are creating more gaps in their knowledge. If we used more inquiry & investigation in the classroom, I think we would start to see less gaps in their knowledge and more student motivation. I laugh everytime I read my district's mission statement "to ignite a passion for learning." Well I don't know about you guys but drill & kill & assess doesn't ignite a passion for learning with my students.

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Samantha Harris


Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:29 am
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It is wonderful when students wonder about things and we can create lessons based on their interests. Sometimes we do get stuck on the programs our counties have purchased for us to teach. However, we must not forget to allow children to investigate the things that they are curious about. Sometimes, children learn the most from those type of lessons because they interest them.


Sun Oct 11, 2009 12:15 pm
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This reminds me of a day that my class was at recess when I first started teaching. A veteran teacher was bringing her class to recess across the busy parking lot. She turned around to fuss at them to hurry up and realized the students were moving slowly because they were stepping on each other's shadows. She told us she could not complain because this was a joy of childhood. I can't remember my students in the last few years showing many of these moments of spontaneous wonder. This saddens me. How have we come so far from what we feel is a vital part of childhood?

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Natalie Burris


Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:36 pm
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