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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wonderstruck

So many things today caused me to wonder. Every time I walk by my neighbor's pear tree, I marvel that there is one in my neighborhood. The children listening to Lady Lollipop (by Dick King-Smith) had fabulous insights about how Johnny Skinner not only trained the pig but also trained the princess - and made her think differently. One boy perfectly explained the phrase "between a rock and a hard place." The children listening to The SOS File knew so much about Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. The first graders listening to Three by the Sea (by Mini Grey) noticed how the three friends cooperated to fly their kite, all their differences behind them, on the story's last page.

It was the fourth graders' fascination with Wonderstruck (by Brian Selznick) that warmed my literary heart most. One had heard about it because he attended Books & Blondies with his mom this morning. His teacher was the lucky first person to check it out, and I brought it with me to the classroom for inquiry learning. She enthusiastically shared the content with the students, held up The Invention of Hugo Cabret for them to see, and fielded questions. One person asked if she would read it aloud. She looked to me for guidance. "I'm not sure it would work well as a read-aloud selection," I told the students. So much of the story is told through the artwork, and it just would not be the same to see those images through the document camera. They begged to see just a bit. As the image of wolves became clear, the room became silent - and remained that way while I showed those few pages. I could not resist telling them more about Ben Fisher's story and then shared how the other character's story was told through illustrations only (until the end of the book). They were mesmerized by the images. Wonderstruck, even. They want this book.

4 comments:

  1. These are the kind of days that make life worth living. Aren't we lucky that they come along once in a while? More often, when we are in professions that we love.

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  2. While I listened to you read the SOS files to third graders earlier this week, I too was amazed at how much some of those students knew about the Gettysburg Address (more than I, I'll sheepishly admit).

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  3. ah, once again you have done your job brilliantly.

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  4. You are completely right about finding these moments most when we do what we love, Joyce. The three of you must feel that often.

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