Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Classroom For Discovery And Curiosity - Part 1

One of my goals this year was to weave a wonder and curiosity theme into our classroom.  I wanted to put the choice in the students hands this year.   We will learn through inquiry and discovery.  We will question and be information seekers.  We will be wonder experts.

The next few blog posts will be about my journey, first starting with the space, second with a few of the key lessons that were delivered and finally a reflection of how it is going from my point of view and from my students point of view.

Before the students even stepped foot into our classroom, I wanted a space where my students curiosity would be peaked instead of flattened.
 I wanted a classroom that would encourage my students to learn, explore and investigate. Now don't get me wrong, I know the space is not the only factor in the equation.  However, through modeling and explicit teaching I knew that my students were already asking questions and seeking answers to those questions.

I began with the furniture.  I was able to replace the desks in the classroom with tables.  Some are round and others are rectangle.  I also made a few crates into stools and brought a large ottoman in that I had donated.  Other furniture additions were two high stools that sit in front of the observation window  (a place where children can sit and write about their observations of the outside world) and a new carpet for the students to gather on to work alone, with a partner or a group.

The next thing I added was a science table where I invited my students to bring in things they found that they may have questions about or natural treasures they have at home they wanted to share.  Currently, we have an assortment of bugs in bug jars that the students have found outside at recess, 2 different bird nests that were found around their homes and a strawberry/blueberry bush that I brought in to model my inquiry question.   We also are growing crystals in a jar (One of my students found a crystal making recipe in a book from the library that he wanted to try). There is also a science notebook for the students to write their predictions, questions, observations and answers in.

Another thing that I brought in was various potted plants for the children to take care of.  Our window sills now have plants growing on all of them and it is a favourite job of many of my students to be in charge of pruning and watering them for the week.

On the first day of school, instead of a large pillar in the middle of the classroom there is now a large tree with branches stretching throughout the classroom.  The bulletin boards are all a chocolate brown with green borders to give the space a more calming and "green" feeling.

From the first day of school we started wondering.  Some students brought in their wonder jars I had given them as an end of school token with treasures from the summer in them (one student even brought in a toad!)

I aslo picked many read a louds at the beginning of the year that would inspire my students to wonder.  A few of my favourite are:

 A story that encourages children to put down the TV remotes
and video-game controllers and take a look at the wonder of
the world around them.

On a Beam of Light:  A Story of Albert Einstein

Me...Jane - A Story of Jane Goodall

Finally, our first completed bulletin board was our "Wonder Wall"  where students wrote their wonders on with dry erase marker so they may change their wonder as frequent as they wish.

Please stay tuned for my next blog post on "Lessons That Spark A Sense Of Wonder".



  1. I love the Wonder Wall. How do the students reach them to change their wonders?

  2. Thanks for a range of wonderful and doable ideas .