Saturday, January 12, 2013

Choose Kind

I knew when I finished reading Wonder this past summer that it would be on my must read list for this school year's read aloud.  We started the book as a class in December but because so many students had heard about the book, I had to tell them in October that it was our next read aloud.  Many of the students didn't care, they purchased the book and read it first as their JR (just right) book. They knew that we would read it as a class also but that didn't matter to them.  The day we started I had the sign below on our daily schedule...and the buzz started in our classroom.

First I heard, "We don't have a subject called that." Then I heard, "It must because it is December, and we need to be extra kind this month" I laughed secretly on that comment. Then I heard one of students who had read the book reply that is the theme of our next read aloud. BINGO!!  Before we started reading Wonder, I asked how many students had already read the book 9 out of 22 students and 4 more were in the middle of the story.  One of students said, "Don't worry Mrs. Caplin it is such an important story everyone should hear it twice."  With that said I began reading about Auggie.

We read aloud four days a week no matter what ( and yes I mean no matter what including reading the last few paragraphs before we left for lunch which is pretty important in fifth grade) The students are recording their thinking in their Reader's Notebook and for many of them they are reading along with me using their copy of the book. It's exciting to see students offer to share their copy with another student that does not have one.  Choosing kind within our read aloud.

As we finished our first section, Auggie's point of view, I asked the students to stop and reflect.  I struggle with this part of read aloud and when I say struggle I deeply mean that.  I desperately want my students to enjoy the story (Bill Prosser taught me that lesson when we team taught together-Thanks Bill!) But I want to know what my students are thinking, how are they feeling about the story, what are their thoughts about August?  I tried something new with Wonder.  I asked students to do a reflection based on 10 points.  We brainstormed the ideas and filled up our dry erase board, students chose their own topic for their reflection.  I was so pleased that I took this step - it was a big one for me, but one that I will do again.  It didn't ruin the read aloud for us, and it gave me a glimmer of what my class was thinking.  I love knowing what they are thinking about as we read each day.  


  1. I was so excited to see your post today! A few minutes ago my fifth grade son and I were going through the books in his room and sorting them...ones to donate, ones to keep, ones to reread, ones he has not gotten to yet and then he came across Wonder. He looked at me and said, "I am keeping that one!" I was so happy to see he still had the post-its in it that I used to mark parts that were special to me and wanted to talk about with him when he got there. It is a WONDERful book on sooooo many levels. Happy to hear your reflection piece helped you to see their thinking while reading!:)

  2. This is such a special book - and thank you for sharing your kids' thoughts, you can see how the story moves their thinking. Powerful stuff. I am plotting to make this a grade wide readlaoud at the beginning of the school year for our sixth graders - it would be a wonderful way to establish a sense of community, right?!

  3. I'm behind you -- just started this as our read aloud. I need to hear more about the 10 points. Was it 10 topics or they had to write 10 things that fit the theme Choose Kind? Elaborate, please!

  4. Tracy: Love that you and your son can connect with this story!

    Tara: Absolutely!!

    Mary Lee: We create a list on the board about all the fiction strategies we had focused on: influence of setting, character's thoughts, words, actions, order of events(plot), theme, etc. My BIG idea was to have students connect all our mini lessons to our read aloud then have them process by writing to me. 10 points was random but I liked it. Students could write on one topic for 10 points or 2 topics for 5 points each. Worked amazingly well!