They Say I Must Be One of the Wonders - July Book Club with Ramona Recommends

Hi!! Welcome. I am so glad you have come over here to join me in July's book club. I am so grateful to Courtney at Ramona Recommends for allowing me to host this month. These books will run from July 2nd - August 6th. You've got lots of time to discover the magic in the following two books!

I must be honest and say that I had originally selected a different book (The Lemonade War). However, after having read this month's selection I knew I had to email Courtney and change it.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Whether you have read this book or not already, I urge you to join us this month and reread it. The moment I finished this book (which was less than 24 hours after I started it) I knew I needed to discuss it more with people (and teachers)! It also made me a little sad that I don't teach a 4th or 5th grade class so I could really teach and study this book. Maybe one day. For now, I've been researching and reading every article I could find about Wonder. I've been thinking about how it could be toned down for lower grades. While I'm not sure the actual book can be toned down for lower grades (I teach 2nd), I do think the principles in this book are some that are never too early to teach to students, regardless of age. This book serves such a valuable lesson (or lessons). There are so many sayings that can come from this book. 

I have my personal reasons for choosing this book. I'll save that for another post. Here are some questions to help guide you as you read it. I have also included some lesson ideas and resources. 

*If you are new to book club please introduce yourself, your blog (if you have one), and the grade you teach. 

Questions to Wonder About:
1. What did you think of this book? Did you love it as much as I did?

2. Did it make you think about things and your actions differently?

3. I have provided lesson ideas below, but how might you teach this to your students? I'm thinking that Choose Kind could really be a mantra all year long for a class. What do you think?

4. I would love to know what your precept would be - I have created an editable postcard template. Please share your precept either in a blogpost or share it with me via e-mail. I would love to compile all of them and create a teacher collection of precepts. 

Click on the image below to be taken to the editable Google Docs file. It is meant to be printed back/front.

Lesson Ideas to Keep Your Students Wondering: 
1. What does it mean to wonder? vs. What does it mean to be a wonder to someone? (reference the lyrics from Natalie Merchant's song, 'Wonder' - "They say I must be one of the wonders..."; You can even post all of the lyrics to the song and disect it - how does it relate to the book Wonder?).

2. What is a precept? What would your precept be? <--this could even be monthly, or choose a different student each month. 

3. How can you choose kind? What does it mean to choose kind?

4. What does it mean to be a friend? How is being a friend different from being friendly?

5. Do you believe bullying exists in our school? How can you help change that by choosing kind? <-- this could be an excellent writing assignment. 

6. One other lesson idea is to discuss the different points of view the story is told from - what was the author's purpose in doing this? Why do you think some characters didn't tell their story (i.e. Julian)?

Resources About Wonder:
1. I created a Pinterest Board for Wonder. There is a great lesson idea about character traits and using Tagxedo.

2. There is a great teacher guide at RandomHouse

3. This is the author's site. 

4. This is the page for Choose Kind.

5. The Children's Craniofacial Association has resources and gear. I emailed them for a teacher packet and two are being sent to me. The email address to contact is on their page. 

6. Pages of quotes from Wonder. I bet you could even use one or two for a mentor sentence. ;)

 I am so excited to hear from you and hear your thoughts! If you have questions for me, feel free. 

Primary Teachers: this one's for you! 

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

I wanted to choose a book that went along the same lines of self-esteem, believing in yourself, and being kind. This book has long been a favorite of mine.

1. Writing - what are your strengths? What makes you special? Is there something you want to be able to do better?

2. Rhyming book

3. Adjectives

1. Why did Gerald feel sad? Were his friends kind?

2. How can we use this book to teach about being a friend and being kind?

3. Do you think you would use this book more to teach students to believe in themselves or as a being a friend book?

I have seen numerous resources and activities to be done with this book. If you have others please share. 
1.There is a link here at Scholastic that includes a free lesson plan. 

2.This offers a variety of different connections with Math and Literacy. 

3. You can find a game for Giraffes Can't Dance here.

Search on Pinterest, there are really so very many ideas for this book. I think you'll love Gerald and cheer him on! 

Thanks for joining us. I hope you have fun. 

created by me


  1. I LOVE Giraffe's Can't Dance! I voted for it!!! Great post girl!
    Love, Dianna
    Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching

  2. PUMPED! I can't wait to finally read Wonder!

  3. This is going to be an AMAZING month! I am so excited!!!
    Ramona Recommends

  4. Hi! I'm new to the book club but my name is Caitlyn and my blog is Fourth Grade Lemonade! I teach fourth grade and I'd like to be a part of the book club this month! Sounds like a great book and it's been on my wishlist.

    Fourth Grade Lemonade

  5. Hi! My name is Nancy and I am new to this book club. I do not have a blog at the moment but I am very interested in starting one. I currently teach 5th grade self-contained LLD. Wonder has been on my wish list to read with my students this year. I am excited to share teaching ideas with all of you. :-)

  6. I'm Sandy and I blog over at Soaring Through Second :) I'm so excited to read Wonder- it's been on my to-read list forever!!!!! And Giraffes Can't Dance is one of my FAVORITE picture books!!! :) I have an adorable art project I can't wait to share with you all!!! Happy reading!

    Soaring Through Second

  7. Hi! I'm Sarah! I teach 2nd grade. My blog is and I am so excited to participate and FINALLY read Wonder!

  8. Hi everyone, I'm Mel! I teach 5th grade, and I've read Wonder with my groups for the last 2 years. It's such a great book for 5th grade and talking about inclusion & kindness. Can't wait to discuss it with all of you!

    The Teaching Crew

  9. Hey y'all! I'm Kristin. I teach 2nd grade in NC and I blog over at My Carolina Classroom.

    I love Giraffes Can't Dance. I used it in multiple guided reading groups this past year. The kids love the book too, so they didn't mind re-reading it throughout the week for fluency practice. Here's a list of what we did.
    1. Poetry - rhyming words and rhythm
    2. Decoding tricky words (There are a handful!)
    3. Context clues / vocabulary
    4. Characters / character traits
    5. Bibliotherapy: Bullying, kindness, uniqueness, etc.

    It's truly a great book. It seems so light and silly, yet has a deeper meaning that kids can dig into.

    Now, to answer your discussion questions!
    1. Gerald was sad because he was rejected by his "friends." He took the initiative and went out on the dance floor. Instead of support, he received jeers. True friends would be supportive and including regardless.
    2. Have students put themselves in Gerald's shoes. "How would you feel? What would you do?" Then, have them imagine that they were the other animals in that same situation. "Did the other animals do the right thing? Why not? What would you do differently? How could they fix their mistake?"
    3. Although this book can definitely be used as a self-confidence lesson, I prefer to use it as an anti-bullying lesson. Or you could do both! Example: If you are bullied, how could you respond that would demonstrate believing in your self-worth?

    I really hope to have time to read Wonder within the next few weeks!! Thanks for hosting!!

    My Carolina Classroom

  10. I love the book, Wonder. There are so many good lessons to use in the classroom. Rather than pointing out all of the differences Auggie has, I like to make a list of all of the things about him that are the same as everyone else. I just posted a list of books that all contain a character with some type of physical disability or learning difference. CLICK HERE to see the list. It was actually harder than I thought to create the list. Writing about kids with differences does not seem to be a popular topic for chapter books. I think the book Wonder might change that! Thanks for a great post.

  11. Hi everyone!

    I posted my thoughts on Wonder over at my blog. Please check it out!
    July Book Club- Wonder (The Teaching Crew)


  12. I'm Ryan over at The Disneyfied Teacher. I have taught 3rd grade for the past 2 years, and am moving back into ESE this upcoming year.
    Hope you come over to my blog to see my thoughts on Wonder.

  13. Ummmm! I am LOVING this book! Have I been under a rock... I can't believe I have not read this until JRR! I will be doing a special blog post about this WONDERful book soon!
    You ALL ROCK!!!
    Ramona Recommends

  14. Hi Everyone!!!!! I blogged about Wonder! You can check it out here! Thank you for hosting Sydney!!!! It was a great book!!!!!

  15. I just blogged about WONDER. My favorite BOOK ever!!!!
    Ramona Recommends


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