This morning I had the privilege to be invited to a special event about Wonderoplis, a new web site created by the National Center for Family Literacy. When I got the invitation, I was intrigued by an organization’s goals that seemed to speak to me. Words jumped off the invitation: discovery, imagination, creativity, literacy. With Jenna Bush Hager as the spokesperson. I knew that this was an event worth waking up for and heading into the city to.
After an introduction and video, I learned that Wonderolopolis was Created by National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and is sponsored by Verizon Thinkfinity. With a mission of making learning an everyday, fun family activity, Wonderopolis launched in October 2010. It’s a fresh take on literacy and education, one that both parents can use at home and educators can use in the classroom.
The folks at Wonderopolis performed months of research determined parents were eager for resources that reflected learning in the context of daily life and real-world knowledge. With this information, a core content strategy evolved revolving around a Wonder of the Day®, a curious question derived to make learning fun and practical, and a web site was born. They created a “Wonder of the Day”, something that bottles the learning that happens all around us into the Wonder of the Day. Each day, the site focuses on a clever topic, designed to immediately be put it to use by parent and child with the suggested activities, vocabulary words and enjoyable videos. Families can learn where banana bruises come from, how Jell-O keeps its jiggle and why a trip through the imagination can be better than a trip around the world.
The event was held at Fishtail, a lovely eatery located in a historic seasfood house. Our tables were set with lovely place settings that were jars of wonders. Here’s what one looked like:
Jenna Bush Hager is clearly passionate about teaching. She talked about her inspiration coming from her mother and grandmother, and their love of reading. She’s a teacher and truly believes in this initiative. Here she is talking to one teacher about her use of Wonderopolis in the classroom and there are some of her sound bites in the video below.
Deep cuts to school budgets, demands to increase parental engagement and pressures to meet higher standards on test scores are just some of the challenges facing today’s educators. While originally intended for families, Wonderopolis has quickly found it’s way into the classroom as a way to attract and engage parents. It helps teachers find creative new ways to infuse fun into learning and encourages parents to be partners in their children’s education.
Created to combat summer learning loss, a troubling trend of children forgetting much of what they learned during the school year, NCFL’s Camp What A Wonder is a free virtual camp to engage families in wonder-filled learning while school’s not in session. The first camp of it’s kind, Camp What a Wonder will provide exploration, adventure and discovery, without having to leave home or pay thousands of dollars in camp registration. Virtual sessions will “convene” each Thursday from June 23rd through August 11th, when the Wonderopolis.org background will change and reveal a new weekly theme.
The National Center for Family Literacy is the worldwide leader in family literacy. More than 1 million families have made positive educational and economic gains as a result of NCFL’s work, which includes training more than 150,000 teachers and thousands of volunteers. For more information, visit www.famlit.org.
Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this article. I did get a jar of wonders as a gift.
(The picture to the left is of Jenna and myself)