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Reading Response Activities for Wonder

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that we have just finished Wonder by RJ Palacio as our read aloud ... but not wanting to give up Auggie just yet, we're reading The Julian Chapter from Auggie and Me.  A few people have asked me about what we did during our reading of the novel, so I decided to put together a blog post with some of our favorite activities.

For our daily read aloud, I usually read for about 10 - 15 minutes a day.  I don't do a reading response for our read aloud every day - usually about 2 to 3 a week, though (through our independent and shared reading, they have a lot comprehension and response minilessons so we have other avenues for practice).  I also like to switch up our format a bit - bored learners are not engaged learners.  We do have a reading response notebook where we do a lot of our responses, but we like to use other formats as well.

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder
We completed one of our first favorites early on in the novel, and was a great tie-in to teaching empathy.  Perhaps you've seen images from an anti-bullying lesson and crumpled paper - that one stuck with me from the minute I saw it.  (There are many examples all over the web, but you can read a little more about it HERE.)  I knew it would be a great lesson to go along with Wonder.  We talked about how it would feel to be Auggie - to have people stare and call names.  I then handed out a small piece of paper to each student.  I told the students to call the paper names and say mean things to it - the kinds of things Auggie may have overheard.  They were to crumple the paper in a ball as they were doing this, being responsible for the paper getting smaller and smaller and more destroyed.  I then had them apologize to the paper, over and over, as they tried to smooth it out and make it "better".  We talked about how the paper never went back to the way it was before - even when they tried to make it better, the marks and scars were still visible.  They thought this was pretty powerful.  I then had them use this paper to do their reader response on.  I asked them three questions to respond to on the paper:
  • What did we do?
  • What did you learn?
  • How can you connect this activity to Auggie in Wonder?

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for WonderSometimes I just changed up the way we answered questions, instead of having them answer in their notebooks.  I would write a quote on the whiteboard and they could respond right on the whiteboard, or use sticky notes to take notes while I was reading and post them after, and I also used a lot of printables from my Building Better Reading Responses and Stick-It-Together editable templates because they reinforced the reading response goals we were working on.  I didn't have a set list of questions from the novel to choose from, instead, I came up with a question after our reading each day, thinking about the parts that really seemed to stick with the students or became great discussion starters.  (You'll see color coding on some of our reading responses - this comes from our Reading Response Goals from my Building Better Reading Responses resource.)
Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for WonderFor our summative activity for the book, our last reading response, I knew I wanted to do something special.  We started by doing directed drawings of the face shape on the cover of the book.  I gave each student a piece of white paper, and just told them what to draw from looking at the image.  For example, I said, start out by drawing a large oval in the middle of the page, with the top being a little flatter than the bottom.  For the hair, make an upside down V about an inch from the top of the oval, a little to the right of the middle.  I was also drawing the same picture on the board as I was giving the instructions, so they had something to follow along.  When we were done we cut out the face shapes and glued them to a piece of blue paper. We loved how these turned out!

Our last reader response question was based on a event from Auggie's graduation.  I wrote this on the board:
Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder
  -  At the end of Wonder, Mr. Tushman said, "Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength.  he is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts ...".  Auggie won the Beecher medal because this quote applies to him.  Explain, using evidence from the text, what this quote means and how it applies to Auggie.  How did he use his greatness to make others great?  It was a pretty deep question for my grade 4/5 class, but we've had many deep conversations throughout the novel, and they ROCKED it.  Super proud teacher moment.
When they were done the rough drafts of their responses, they wrote their good copies right on the faces (they drew lines in pencil to write on).  These turned out so wonderful!  They made a great celebration and evidence of learning bulletin board, appropriately entitled, Choose Kind.  :)  

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder

When you're reading a book that has so many great lessons, you just feel inspired to come up with some great lessons of your own.  :)

Runde's Room - Reading Response Activities for Wonder

I'd love to hear about some of your must-do lessons to go along with Wonder.  Leave a comment below about something you do in your room.

3 comments:

  1. I love your cumulating activity!! We are currently in the middle of reading this book. It is such a great book with many great lessons for the kids!

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  2. Wonder is my absolute favorite book to read with my 5th grade students! I have done a Wonder Unit for the past three years, and am always looking for more meaningful activities to incorporate. I like the idea of using a reading response notebook, something I have not done. You bring up a good point – bored learners are not engaged learners, so I will probably begin using a reading response notebook two times a week.
    Wonder is the perfect book to integrate social skills, habits of mind and character traits lessons. While I have included lessons on bullying, I have never come across an illustration as powerful as the crumpled paper – thank you so much for sharing! I like the way you related it to the book by having students call the paper names while crumpling it, so that they felt responsible for destroying the paper. This forces them to think about what Auggie might feel.
    I am going to steal your other forms of reading responses, as well! Students love writing on the white board, and it would be nice to display everyone’s responses so that all students can read and internalize them for a few days. Students also love writing on sticky notes, which would help keep them engaged. Your summative projects are AMAZING! I love how you walked them through the drawing process, step-by-step, and that you drew it on the board at the same time – this would especially be helpful for my ELLs. Your reader response question definitely encourages critical, higher-level thinking. Knowing your experience with it, and knowing how much my students were invested in this book, I know they would do an incredible job with this project. Your bulletin board looks phenomenal – what a truly great message.
    For my unit I do a lot of graphic organizers, with focuses on inferencing, word meaning, character development and perspective, conflict & solution, theme and symbolism. I did a similar activity to yours with my students at the end of the book. Instead of drawing the outline of Auggie’s face, they drew the outline of their own faces in a similar way. I had them each come up with their own precept and write it by their face. Then they created a postcard addressed to Mr. Browne from their “summer vacation.” They wrote about their precept and what it meant to them. I posted their postcards next to their faces in the hallway outside our classroom. For their final project I let my students choose how they wanted to showcase their learning, and they were so creative!
    I have just a few of questions for you. Do you have your students read on their own at all, or is it strictly read aloud? I am working on getting a class set of books for next year and am hoping to incorporate some independent and partner reading. Have you done any partner or group work within your unit? If so, I would love to hear how you scaffold, structure, and assign roles. I am also attempting to integrate more technology into my classroom and am looking for how to go about that within my Wonder unit. Have you used technology with Wonder, or any other books? And if so, how? Lastly, are you familiar with the Universal Design for Learning? I am wondering how you differentiate and plan for potential barriers?
    Thank you for your time, and for continuing to share your wonderful classroom and teaching practices with the rest of us teachers!

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  3. I love all that you've done with the book, Wonder. Your bulletin board is adorable and I love how you connect your read aloud with answering readers response questions. Thanks for sharing!

    -Becca
    adventuresofbeccasclassroom.wordpress.com

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