Saturday, March 31, 2012

Engaging Students in "Wonder" Using Melissa Stewart's Nonfiction Books

In preparing for the #Wonderchat Monday night, I have been thinking about the books (both fiction and nonfiction) I use in my second grade classroom that promote and engage students in wondering.  There is one series of nonfiction books that I have found this year to be a great addition to our "wondering".  The series is Why Are Animals....... by Melissa Stewart.  In total there are six books in the series.  Each book focuses on a color and why animals are that color.  In addition to using her books, she has a great website to encourage even more wondering.

One of my favorite books in Melissa Stewart's series is Why Are Animals Green?  From the first few pages, Melissa encourages children to to wonder by saying, "go outside and look outside" and "Can you think of some green animals that live near you?"  One example of a green animal given in the book, was the male mallard duck.  Melissa shares that the male's head is green so that it can be easily seen and attract a mate.  She also shares how the female mallard duck is entirely brown to hide from enemies while sitting on her eggs.  This ties in perfectly with Do Animals Play Hide and Seek? and how and why animals camouflage.

In addition to using these books to encourage "wonder" in my classroom, I also used them as a mentor text in writing a lead and an excellent example of organizing information during our nonfiction writing unit.

What books do you use to encourage and engage children and students in "wonder"?  Come share them Monday, April 2nd at 8:00 pm EST on Twitter.  Be sure to the hashtag #Wonderchat.


  1. This looks like a great series. I will be checking this out for my kindergarten students. Great for the beginning of the year color studies that we do! Thanks for the reference.

    1. What a great idea Betsy! After writing the post, I thought this would be a great series to use with writing found poems.

  2. Thanks for coming up with such a great way to use my books in the classroom.