Kindergarten Teacher

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Wonder Journal: First Activity of the Day

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I started using a Wonder Journal each morning this year. When the kids walk into the room I have an image and a word written on the board (see below). They unpack and then grab their journal and start wondering. They can use words, pictures or both to document their thinking. After the tardy bell rings the kids leave their journal on the table and sit on the carpet for the school announcements. Then I let the kids share with me what they have been wondering. The questions/wonders they have been sharing are amazing and they lead to some great discussions. After sharing for a few minutes we then watch a video about the wonder. Most days the image and video comes from Wonderopolis. Each morning I check the Wonderopolis sight and use the “wonder of the day” or pick from this list of 50 great wonders. Wonderopolis even includes a wonder gallery of images for each one so I have everything I need in one place. I decided not to display the actual Wonderopolis website on the board when they walk in because I don’t want the kids limited in their wondering by reading the “wonder of the day.” Having only the image about the topic has worked best so far for me. After our discussion and watching the video the kids go back to their journal to wonder some more or document their learning. This also allows time for kids that don’t arrive before the bell to get something in their journal. I am very happy with this process so far. The kids are excited to walk in and see the wonder, unpack quickly to get started and are engaged and thinking first thing every morning.

Example of what I have on the screen as they arrive each day. This is from the polar bear wonder.

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This is the journal. It has 20 blank pages (completely blank) and paper binding. Anything simple would work for this

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Sample page from the Where is the fastest roller coaster wonder. His wonder was how do they go so fast. 

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Sample pages from “What is the Hottest Planet wonder…

“I wonder why the sun is so bright.” 

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“I wonder why this one has a red spot”

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Red arrow shows the “Wonder Gallery” where I find the images most days. 

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18 Responses to Wonder Journal: First Activity of the Day

  1. Kari says:

    I LOVE THIS! Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Great idea – thanks so much. I want to try to add this somehow.

  3. Kerry Johnson says:

    This is a great idea! I have been wanting to incorporate Wonderopolis into my daily routine and I have been looking for a more engaging way to start our morning. This sounds like the perfect fit. Can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Pam Taylor says:

    Great post! Just out of curiosity – do any of the wonders from their journals become inquiries in the class? Do they research it, or do you just share the Wonderopolis with them and that’s it? I like the idea of expanding their questioning and their curiosity.

  5. carole says:

    Thinking I might change up my morning journal time! Thanks for always inspiring me Matt! So fortunate that I get to work with you every day :)

  6. Karen Balbier says:

    What an awesome idea! Since I don’t have students, I’m inspired to do this at home with my daughter.

  7. Jolyssa says:

    Hi Matt–I’m curious if you have modeled this kind of “wondering” with your kids? How did you get them started with this? I have tried a couple of activities this year, trying to incorporate inquiry based projects, but I get a lot of kids who tell me they don’t wonder anything about the topic, aren’t curious, don’t have questions etc.!

  8. Brenda says:

    Interesting. Although I teach all day kinder, I only teach reading and teach it to two different groups during the day. This may be something I look at incorporating next year. A good idea!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Courtney Stott says:

    What a fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing. You have definitely given me some food for thought for new ideas. The students in my class would absolutely love this and I teach year 2. A great writing prompt for students to spark their creative flair.

  10. Bobbie Rogers says:

    Thanks for sharing. Julie suggested I have a look at your wondering journal. I have a lot of boys in my class this year and think this may help them enjoy writing. Love the idea!

  11. wendy says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I have LOTS of kids who “straggle in” tardy 10-15 min daily! This would be GREAT for my “ontimers”! Thanks for sharing! Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  12. Tara says:

    Would you do this right in September? I don’t know that kindergarteners would be able to label their drawings in the beginning of the year… Or do you just let them draw their idea and then discuss afterwards?

    • Matt Gomez says:

      Yes we started the first week of school. The first few entries I guide them in what to respond, usually with things they can cut and paste. After that they use pictures or words depending on their ability.

  13. Love this idea, too! Matt, can you give a couple examples of Wonders you do the first few days of school and what you give the kids to cut and paste? I can’t quite picture what you mean. I figure that’s scaffolding for the first few times until they “get it” and are off and running. Thanks! Keep the awesome ideas coming! BTW, I’m presenting at our district’s technology conference Thursday on iPad apps for lower el. I’ve got a link to your app post in my presentation!

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