A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades

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Overview

In A Place for Wonder, Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough discuss how to create "a landscape of wonder," a primary classroom where curiosity, creativity, and exploration are encouraged. For it is these characteristics, the authors write, that develop intelligent, inquiring, lifelong learners.

The author's research shows that many primary grade state standards encourage teaching for understanding, critical thinking, creativity, and question asking, and promote the development of children who have the attributes of inventiveness, curiosity, engagement, imagination, and creativity. With these goals, in mind, Georgia and Jennifer provide teachers with numerous, practical ways-setting up "wonder centers," gathering data though senses, teaching nonfiction craft-to create a classroom environment where students' questions and observations are part of daily work.

They also present a step-by-step guide to planning a nonfiction reading and writing unit of study, which culminates in nonfiction texts created by students-a project that includes creating a table of contents, writing focused chapters, using "WOW" words, and developing point of view. A Place for Wonder will help teachers reclaim their classrooms as a place where true learning is the norm.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
This in-depth description of curriculum and activities with a kindergarten and first grade class is based on the beliefs that (a) a classroom should be a place that fosters and builds upon children's natural sense of curiosity and wonder and (b) that "purposeful and authentic writing and reading come from children's own authentic and passionate wonders and observations about the world" (p.5). Readers walk through the process of developing children's own questions into researchable topics—through "wonder" centers, journals, and boxes—and teaching young learners to write nonfiction through building habits of mind (e.g., pondering, inferring) and writing skills (e.g., writing to your audience, using "wow" words). The book is replete with specific resources, tools, and approaches, examples of children's work, and reflections of the classroom teacher (McDonough). This is an inspiring example of revitalizing teaching in an era of accountability-driven, test-preparation education systems. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571104328
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/17/2009
  • Pages: 178
  • Sales rank: 83,799
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Ch. 1 Creating a Wonder World: Center, Projects, and Clubs

Ch. 2 Nonfiction Writing from the Heart

Ch. 3 Nonfiction Research Wonder Writing

Appendix

Resources

Bibliography\

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