A new fourth-grade class began yesterday, due to every class being way over in the number of students in the classes. So as I was preparing to help get the class going (the new teacher will start in 2 weeks), I decided I wanted to build a caring and kind community within the classroom. I was hearing quite a bit about a book titled “Wonder” by RC Palaco. I decided that I would use this book.
About half of the class has already heard the book, but they were told to please not spoil the book for the students who have not. The story is about a fictional character named August, nicknamed Auggie. We have read as far as him going to the school and meeting the new principal and three students his age who are going to take him on a tour of the school. The school is called Beecher Prep.
The students are asking questions and trying to understand why Auggie looks like he does. I have shared some pictures of a cleft palate with the students as well as a video put out on YouTube by the Children’s Craniofacial Association (ccakids.org).
As we read the early portion of the book, my students enjoyed hearing the part about his birth, especially “the farting nurse.” They also enjoyed hearing about Mr. Tushman and all of the puns associated with “tush.” My next goal in reading “Wonder” will be to get them thinking about some of the characters and what positive and negative characteristics are for each one. As we read we will look up and learn more about some of the additional craniofacial disorders that are mentioned.
I am really looking forward to having my students understand that they can respect those who have physical or mental differences. Those people are just that. People.
Another aspect of “Wonder” that I am sharing with my students are the precepts. One of the teacher’s in the story is a man named Mr. Browne. He puts up a precept each month, which is a rule for life. One of the books that are a part of this series is written as if Mr. Browne did the writing, but he shares 365 different precepts. All are quotes taken from different authors or characters in the story. My students are enjoying reading those and understanding what they mean to them.
I am looking forward to continuing our reading and learning from Auggie in “Wonder.”
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