Student-centered, Wonder

An Hour of Wonder

 Innovation Day is something my students have already started asking me about.  This fantastic day, also known as FedEx Day, is a day set aside for the students to explore whatever they choose, create something and then deliver a presentation.  However, Innovation Day will not be until the end of the year.  So welcome Hour of Wonder instead.

Hour of wonder is rather simple; the students get one whole hour to explore whatever they have been wondering about tied to a certain unit, within that hour they must create something and then present it the following day..  We were studying the European explorers and they had quite the list of questions, this therefore wrapped up our unit much better than any test could.

So how did it go?  Brilliantly.  The students were engaged and teaching each other new information.  Two boys discovered that James Cooke was the first European in Australia and in Antarctica and they thought that was really neat.  Others built ship models, created posters about other people and whatever else they had wondered about.  I had supplied construction paper, anything else the students had to figure out themselves.

Innovation Day can be harder to fit into your schedule but Hour of Wonder is not.  Think of all those hours leading up to vacations or disrupted blocks because of assemblies or something else.  Why not turn those over to the students?  Have them explore what they are curious about and then share it with the class; you will not be disappointed.

PS:  Little prep went into this.  I revealed the project Wednesday, they brainstormed and then did it on Thursday.  They didn’t need approval or anything like that.

Pete decided to create a stop motion video 

5 thoughts on “An Hour of Wonder”

  1. Pernille, This is a fantastic idea. What a wonderful time for your students to pursue their own thinking and wondering! I have a little guy in my room who keeps reminding me everyday that we should write an OREO paragraph about cheetahs. I can only imagine what he could write after answering his own questions about the topic. To my teaching partner Celina (in the words of Phineas and Ferb) "I know what we're going to do today!"

  2. I love this idea! Have you considered creating a "wonder wall" or "wonder boxes" (don't have to be fancy) where all those wonderings could be collected throughout the unit, or do you think that would take away from the spontaneity and creativity of the projects?

  3. Pernille,How exciting to read about "An Hour of Wonder"! I love it. In my classes, we are busy wondering and practicing being geniuses, as well. Here is a blog post of resources about Genius Hour. Genius means producing and creating in early definitions. Will you share links to any other must-see inspiring resources on the topic of Innovation Day and An Hour of Wonder?Thanks,Denise

  4. I love the idea of the wonder wall or wonder box. I tried having a Googler this year and it seems to have fizzled, it would be so much easier for the kids to just stick their questions up somewhere. Hmm, I am wondering now if I could make it happen.This worked like a charm, the kids were so excited to share, they had all learned something more than what we had covered and they all gotten to create something. This is definitely not a one time event in my room.

  5. Hi Pernille,I just wanted to let you know that I loved the "An Hour of Wonder" post and decided to try it as a wrap up for my social studies unit this week. It will be a bit longer in format, but the idea is the same. We started yesterday and my kids have embraced it wholeheartedly and couldn't wait to start working on their mini-projects today! So Thank-you!

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