In A Place for Wonder, Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough discuss how to create a landscape of wonder, a primary classroom where curiosity, creativity, and exploration are encouraged. For it is these characteristics, the authors write, that develop intelligent, inquiring, life-long learners. The authors’ research shows that many primary grade state standards encourage teaching for understanding, critical thinking, creativity, and question asking, and promote the development of children who have the attributes of inventiveness, curiosity, engagement, imagination, and creativity. With these goals in mind, Georgia and Jennifer provide teachers with numerous, practical ways—setting up wonder centers, gathering data though senses, teaching nonfiction craft—they can create a classroom environment where student’s questions and observations are part of daily work. They also present a step-by-step guide to planning a nonfiction reading and writing unit of study—creating a nonfiction book, which includes creating a table of contents, writing focused chapters, using wow words, and developing point of view. A Place for Wonder will help teachers reclaim their classrooms as a place where true learning is the norm.
"It's the way that the authors capture wonder and curiosity and teach the children to use it in their writing that is a breath of fresh air. This is an amazing addition to the primary teacher's bag of tricks as they teach nonfiction writing." - Timmons Times blog
"I use many of Heard's ideas and resources in my poetry unit, so I knew her nonfiction ideas would be stellar. I was not wrong--this is a great book for any teacher interested in growing his/her students' knowledge about writing nonfiction." - Reading Zone blog
"I really intended just to skim it over. Two hours later, I discovered that I had read the whole thing from cover to cover. Not just read it, but thoroughly enjoyed it, and couldn't wait to pass it on." - Teaching with Picture Books blog
In A Place for Wonder, Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough have created a text to guide educators of young children in establishing “wonder” in the classroom. The text is divided into three main sections: Creating a Wonder World; Nonfiction Writing from the Heart; and Nonfiction Research Wonder Writing. In particular, the first section of the text contains many useful tools for creating a sense of wonder in an early-years classroom. Included in these pages are sample letters for home communication, recommended book lists, student observation and recording sheets, how-to information and the authors’ personal reflections. However, the later section that pertains to research is light on the actual research aspect. The reader needs to be cognizant that the authors’ focus is on nonfiction writing, and not on inquiry. All in all, this is a strong text to assist educators in their quest to instill a sense of wonder and encourage students to question the natural world around them.
Green Teacher, Fall 2016