Wonder – Teaching About Bullying and Acceptance Through Literature

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

wonder

So if you know me, you know I absolutely LOVE to read. I am that annoying friend who will gladly push book selections on you if you ever make the mistake of telling me that you enjoy to read! I own tons and tons of books and enjoy nothing more than sharing them with others. I am always eager to know if my friends too enjoyed them as I always feel a certain sense of triumph when I’ve paired a friend to a book they’ve loved. In short, I am a huge book nerd!

A few years ago, a close teacher friend of mine, Stephanie, asked if I wanted to read the book “Wonder” with her. I dove right in and ordered the book without hesitation. Once I opened it, I was hooked and couldn’t (and didn’t) put it down until I was done. To say that the book was an emotional journey for me, would only begin to describe the effect it had on me. If you have not yet read “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, I strongly urge you to do so. (You can totally borrow my copy!)

This year, I decided to read the book to my class because I feel it encompasses so many life lessons, and illustrates it in such a believable and moving way. I love how the language and characters in the story are so realistic, and so I really felt like the students in my class would be really moved by this story. Well by day one, they too were hooked!

Here is a quick synopsis taken from Wikipedia: The story “Wonder” is about a 10-year-old boy with facial deformities named August Pullman (Auggie) who wishes to be treated normally. He attends public school for the first time in his life, although he does not want to, he agrees to go. Throughout his fifth grade school year, he faces many challenges of having a deformed face, but some surprises also come up like Summer and Jack. The book also goes into other people’s perspective of August: Via’s, Summer’s, Justin’s (in which he doesn’t capitalize his “I’s” and has other grammar mistakes), and Miranda’s.

The themes of kindness and inclusion, meanness and exclusion, and friendship, are the main ones weaved throughout the story. Wonder is told in several different points of views, allowing the reader to see how one person’s differences can affect the lives of so many others. It will make you laugh, cry, question your own behaviors and thinking patterns, and force you at times to be uncomfortable. This is the magic behind the story and what makes it so powerful and moving.

I will be posting some activities we did as a class for the book as we go along. Here is a FREEBIE that we used to create text messages to Auggie prior to the chapter when he goes to school. I had my students write him a text message offering him some advice on his first day of school. They enjoyed it very much and did a great job balancing the right words to encourage Auggie, while also setting him up to be prepared for the possibility of not all kids and adults treating him nicely. I was very proud of their work and excited to showcase it.

We were also working on persuasive letters in Writer’s Workshop at the time, so I had students write August letters persuading him to either go to school, or stay at home and continue to be home-schooled. CLICK HERE  for the paper we used for that.

We signed the Choose Kind Pledge online as a class too! After each kid signed, I gave them one of these cute labels I printed onto a label to wear.

Last, they visited this SITE and created digital postcards that they e-mailed to me. On each postcard they were asked to write about how they would carry out their pledge to be kind.

Each of the assignments is pictured below.

Text to Auggie

 

Auggie Text

 

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Wonder

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wonder postcards

 

A List of Resources

Choose Kind Tumblr

Educator Guide for Wonder

 Teachingbooks.net

 

HAPPY READING!