Add some wonder to your listening center!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I have a listening center in my classroom, but honestly, I didn't love it.. and neither did the kids. My 5th graders are wonderful readers and really don't need any help with fluency, so listening to our anthology stories on CD is dreadful for them. I had been wracking my brain trying to come up with something more meaningful that's also fun for the kiddos. 

I. Found. It. 

Have you ever heard of Wonderopolis? Until last week, neither had I. I have no idea how it slipped under my radar! 

Here's how it works: 

  • Every day they post a new "Wonder of the Day". There is an AMAZING selection, over 1,100 wonders to choose from! An added bonus, you can search wonders by topics, grades, and Common Core!
  • I think each wonder of the day has a video (I haven't watched all 1,115 of them). The videos are VERY high interest and approximately 3-5 minuets on average. 
  • There is also a brief article. You have the option of listening to it being read with highlighted text. The one weakness is that the read aloud isn't fluent.
  • Under the article, there is a "Did You Get It?" button. The students take a quick (3 question) comprehension quiz. 
  • There is also a vocabulary component! Take the "Wonder Word Challenge" - students have to match vocabulary words from the article with their definitions. 
  • There are also "Try it Out" and "Still Wondering" sections offering a variety of related ideas, recipes, other sites, games, interactives.. the list goes on and on!

Needless to say, after HOURS of playing professional development, I decided to give it a try as our *new and improved* listening center. We tried it as a whole class and then as their center for the week. I had a secret comment box for students to put their honest opinions. Here are some direct quotes from my 5th grade critics: 

"I like Wonderopolis better than the CD because there are so many wonderful stories and articles. It teaches you things you didn't know. I had fun with the game and the quizzes. I LOVE WONDEROPOLIS!"

"Wonderopolis is miraculous. The CD just told us the story and let's face it, was boring. This tells us a lot about really fun topics."

"I loved Wonderopolis because of the choices we have of really exciting topics and activities. It is incredible, has a lot of learning, and is FUN!"

It was unanimous, all 22 of my kiddos loved Wonderopolis! I created a quick little Wonderopolis page for my kiddos to use at the center to hold them accountable, which you can download for free on Google Drive here

Try it out! I would love to hear how you would use it in your classroom! 

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