I Wonder Board

The first school I taught at was an IB (International Baccalaureate) School.  The primary IB program is big about asking questions to guide the students learning.  In my first grade classroom, we used an "I Wonder" Wall to ask and answer questions about the content we were learning.  This is the perfect place to help little ones understand what a question is and practice asking, writing, and answer questions. 

Here's a look at the routines for our first grade Wonder Wall.

Question Words

At the beginning of the year, we talk about our attitude words and what good learners do (Read about that here.)  When we talk about being curious, or an inquirer, we brainstorm question words.

I don't have a picture of my original anchor chart, but basically, I have a poster size question mark and I add these question word cards to the question.  There are some years that I just add the question cards around the I Wonder Wall bulletin board.

We spend some time asking questions and writing questions using these question words.  Then, the cards stay up all year on this bulletin board to help kids brainstorm questions they are wondering about our learning.

Key Concepts

In the IB curriculum, key concepts are attached to the content units you teach.  For example, when we taught weather, one of our key concepts was causation.  Many of our essential questions were causation questions.

Each of the key concepts are copied onto color card stock and put on the Wonder Wall.  Here is the original board from years ago so you can see the layout.  Ignore the "outdatedness" of it! :)

I Am An Inquirer

When we talk about being an inquirer at the beginning of the year, each kid makes a kid diecut to match them.  I add them to the Wonder Wall with a speech bubble around the bulletin board.

This is each child's space to add questions.  When they have a question about what we are learning, this is where it goes.

If we are learning the content whole group and they have an unanswered question, they can ask it and I will write it on a sticky note with the class and we will stick it on that persons bubble.

If students think of questions during other times of the day, they can write it on the sticky note themselves.  I let them do this if they finish work early, or if they go to our Big Idea station (where they are reading books about our content topic.)

Wondering Wednesday

I try to keep an eye on our questions and we look over them as we study our big idea.  Sometimes I might add a lesson or book in to answer a particular question that I think is important for the whole group.

Other times we take a "Wondering Wednesday" and google answers to our unanswered questions.  This is usually what we do with the left over questions at the end of the unit.

As questions are answered, we talk about what kind of question it is.  This is so we can sort the question under the key concept it matches.  Depending on our content topic, some key concepts will be fuller than others.  For example, in our weather unit, most of the questions will be causation questions because that just naturally goes with the topic.

We record the answer to the question together on a light bulb and a move the question and answer under the appropriate key concept.  Depending on your kids, and definitely for older kids, this is something they could research and answer on their own during a "Wondering Wednesday."

All of the materials you need for you own I Wonder Wall bulletin board can be found here.

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