I really loved reading RJ Palacio’s Wonder with my students. We shared laughs, tears, and righteous anger. The most powerful thing that I watched happen in my class, though was seeing my students draw parallels to their own lives. Nobody in our class had Auggie’s struggles, but we all had moments in which we felt tiny, unloved, and insignificant, so Ms. Palacio really touched a nerve there. But more powerful were the times that we saw ourselves in the unkind behaviors. As we reflected on how we treat others, none of us was proud to admit that we all have had some Julian in us at times.
Some books are just fun read alouds. They’re good for laughter and chatting about story structure, main idea, or foreshadowing. Other books, though, books like Wonder, make you really want to dig in with your students. You’re not just practicing good reading skills, you’re practicing your humanity. It’s this that made me want to take a crack at putting together some Buncee activities to help a class do just that. So if you’re reading Wonder, or are planning to, maybe these activities can help you and your students to #ChooseKind:
- Choose Kind Pledge
My students and I had a copy of the Choose Kind Pledge Poster. We all signed it, and we referred back to it. It was a nice tool for us to focus on being good to each other, but I’ve found that if a student personally creates something, they are more likely to take it to heart. In this spirit, I think you’ll find more power in having students design their own Choose Kind Pledges in Buncee. You can set your expectations for their work, but to my mind, if they include a sentence saying that they will choose kind, and sign their name, you’ve got some powerful posters of your own! Collect them in a Buncee Board, and you have a document of intention for your class to follow!
- Kindness Journal
One way to reinforce a practice of kindness is to encourage your students to think about it daily. I’ve put together a copyable Buncee journal with ten prompts ready for your students to respond to and record their thoughts on their feelings and the feelings of others. When your students complete all ten entries, perhaps you can have them help to write more prompts and make this last as long as you'd like!
- Response Journal
I’ve put together this copyable journal with places for your students to reflect and create in response to each of the numbered parts of the book. There are two pages for each section, a place to create your favorite of Mr. Browne's Precepts, and a page to record your review of Wonder!
- Wonder Me Self Portrait
One of the important lessons of Wonder is that Auggie is so much more than what you see when you look at him. He’s a brother, a son, a friend, a dog lover, a Star Wars fan, and he’s got a great sense of humor. With Buncee’s avatar tools, your students can make a Wonder style self portrait, and then make a word cloud of things about themselves!
- How I Can Choose Kind - Word Cloud/Poster
It’s easy to say that you’re going to Choose Kind, but sometimes it can be hard to put words into action. Give your students a hand by having them brainstorm and create a poster of ways that they can Choose Kind every day! This is a great way for them to practice writing and design with a topic that will help them to make their world a kinder place.
- Precepts Buncee Board
Mr. Browne’s Precepts really help to set the tone of the book. Have your students create a Buncee of one of their favorite precepts, and then collect them in a Buncee Board for all to see. If you need inspiration, feel free to check out my friend Matt Ostrowsky’s Board (linked below).
Sean Farnum is a teacher, troublemaker, the host of the #2PencilChat, and the producer of The #BestClass Podcast. He is an Education Associate at Buncee and runs the Buncee Ambassador Program. He thinks you’re pretty great.