This Unit Plan of the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio encompasses the whole 5th grade nature retreat moment (often seen as the culmination point in the novel), from Part 8's 5th grade nature retreat until before Auggie sees his parents again (first 20+ pages of part 8). It is a 10-hour unit plan which comprises of lessons targetting at the reading, writing, speaking, grammar and vocabulary skills. The Directed Reading Thinking Approach (Tompkins) and Exploratory Talk (Dawson) are also considered. This unit plan fulfils a number of ELA standards across the Reading, Writing and Speaking skills in Grades 4, 5 and 6.
- 10 hour unit plan with details on pre, during and post of lessons (with key teacher questionings) (Refer to preview)
- 3 detailed 1 hour lesson plan with activities and rationales (Reading, Speaking – Talking Points, and Vocabulary)
- Powerpoint Slides including videos of song “Beautiful Child” and Chronicles of Narnia (parts of story used in the Wonder Novel) and quickwrite topics for students during the whole 5th grade nature retreat
- “Beautiful Child” song lyrics
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Chapter 15 and Chapter 16 extracts
- Film vs Novel activity sheet
- Hyphenated Compound words activity sheet
- Literature Circle Roles sheet (Refer to Preview)
- Talking Points sheet (on Bullying)
- Singapore bullying incident in classroom (newspaper article)
- Actual footage of Singapore bullying incident in classroom
- Stand against Bullying (Don’t be a bystander) video
- Kindness Poem (Refer to Preview)
- Kindness Poem activity sheet
- Culmination Task activity sheet
My teaching of Wonder stems from Rosenblatt’s transactional theory where comprehension is created through the interaction between readers and the texts they’re reading (as cited in Tompkins, 2010, p.11). Students become reflective thinkers as they negotiate their preconceived notions and dispositions with their understanding of the novel. There are elements of both critical (discerning how texts are constructed and influence) and deep literacy (how we live and what we do with the discernment) (Winch et al., 2010, p.535) through examining the author’s point of view and higher-order thinking.
Elements of integration in the receptive and productive skills are present. In Lesson 4, students translate their reading into writing based on their assigned roles, before employing their speaking skills as they share through group discussion. For Lesson 8, students are exposed to the authentic context of learning vocabulary through a poem, taking into account their reading, speaking (through group discussion) and writing (through post activity) skills as they improve on their vocabulary. These lessons provide good quality and balanced amount of language input and output, which is crucial because it helps students improve language acquisition for both the native and second-language learners (Anthony, 2008, p.472-473).
Learning-Focused Interaction is evident in most of my lessons as they contain elements of group discussion (with the exception of grammar and writing which focuses more on individual work). An example would be the Speaking lesson (Lesson 6) where students watch videos and read an article on a theme (Bullying) that is relevant to the novel before engaging in group exploratory talk. Sloan mentions that “small group discussions promote literary growth through reading, reflecting and re-evaluating one’s response in light of other’s response” (2003, p.48). This is also in line with the theory of constructivism where students “collaborate to conduct investigations in which they ask questions, seek information, create new knowledge to solve problems, and reflect on their learning” (Dewey, as cited in Tompkins, 2010, p.8). Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development becomes apparent through the extended language and thinking facilitated by the teacher in the plenary.
Another salient part of Learning-Focused Interaction is the Culmination (Lesson 9) at the end of week. The advanced nature of my class gives the students “opportunities to pursue and extend their learning beyond the classroom as they create projects” (Tompkins, 2014, p.359). Activities such as poster-making “enables application through the authentic contexts of language use and collaborative learning with the teacher and other pupils” (MOE, 2009, p.12). Learning opportunities will be activity based, which builds an engaging environment through collaboration with peers (Paris & Carpenter, 2004, p.76). These features of Learning-Focused interaction in my series of lessons “provide a rich environment for communication… [which] actively engages and encourages pupils to participate in their learning, boost their confidence in language use, and promote collaboration among learners” (MOE, 2009, p.11).