Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Night of Wonder - Family Literacy Night

The theme for our Family Literacy Night was, "A Night of Wonder".  Each participating teacher picked a Wonder from Wonderopolis, or something they wondered about and chose activities to go with that Wonder.  All but one teacher chose an existing Wonder.  The event was open to all PreK-2 families, thus the activities had to accommodate students from different age groups.  The activities also had to be open ended and need little direction because families came and went at their own pace.  For each Wonder a child completed, they earned a ticket to put in a bin for a chance to win a grade level Wonder Jar.

An agenda for A Night of Wonder was handed out as families entered so they knew what the Wonders were and where to go.  We had about 110-120 families participate in an hour and a half event.  I can't think of a better way for families to spend an evening, interacting, learning and wondering!  It is a fun, non-threatening way to encourage parental involvement.  

Below are the Wonders and activities that each teacher planned:

#207 What do You Want to be When You Grow Up?
The teacher for this activity had dress up clothes for the children to "try on" some different professions.  She also had different versions of the Three Little Pigs on hand with marshmallows and toothpicks for children to try being a builder/architect/engineer.

This kindergarten teacher even dressed up as "Mother Goose".  Her activities included having the children make their own "Mother Goose"mini-book and reading nursery rhymes.

Our school Book Fair had a great Optical Illusion book.  The teacher took the book apart and laminated all of the "optical illusions".  She also put some copied optical illusions in plastic sleeves.  The students were able to take apart a plastic version of the eye.

#260 Do Birds Really Get Angry?
Our preschool teacher has her own pet birds.  She brought in two of them for students to meet during Literacy Night.  Her room was a real "tweet".  Besides petting the birds, kids got to see some real bird artifacts including feathers and eggs and read information about birds.

#342 Do Animals Play Hide and Seek?
Students got to make a butterfly and see which scene it was most camouflage in.  They watched the video provided by Wonderopolis and were able to learn more about camouflage and disguises in books and magazines.

#352 Where is the Tallest Waterfall?
The first grade teacher had all kinds of information about Niagara Falls for students to explore.  Sticking with the water theme, students were able to experiment with common items to see if they would sink or float.

#359 What is a Scavenger Hunt?
A "Wonder Word" was chosen to go with each Wonder and printed on green construction paper.  For each "Wonder Word" students had to find a certain letter in the word and write it in that Wonder's spot.  When they collected all thirteen letters, "Keep Wondering" was spelled out.  Parents were encouraged to discuss the words and how they related to the Wonder.
#415 What Rhymes with Orange?
This Wonder was organized by our two Title teachers.  They had rhyming games and activities for students play and interact with.

#430 Are Sloths Lazy?
Students were able to make a rain forest butterfly out of ripped up construction paper.  They also were given directions on how to draw different rain forest animals.  The video to this Wonder was also shown. There were lots of comments on how cute the video is that goes along with this Wonder.  If you haven't seen it, check it out!

#464 What Makes Art Priceless?
Our art teacher had the students painting and wondering with marbles.  Students made their own piece of "priceless" art inspired by Jackson Pollock as discussed in the Wonder.  This was a very popular Wonder!

#474 Which Dessert Takes the Cake?
Students were able to graph their favorite dessert using the eBeam (interactive white board), decorate their own cookie and read picture books about yummy desserts.  Many students found this Wonder to be their favorite.  They really enjoyed decorating cookies.

#505 Who's on Mount Rushmore?
Students read books about Mount Rushmore and were able use play dough to try to sculpt their own Mount Rushmore.  This teacher also drew Mount Rushmore so students could get their picture taken with "funny" glasses with the famous presidents.

#522 How Much Rain Can a Cloud Hold?
The first grade teacher used the science experiment described in the "Try It Out" section of the Wonder to engage students in exploration.  They predicted how many drops of water it would take to saturate a cotton ball and then got to test out their prediction.  They also got to read books on the water cycle.

How do you Mix Colors?
Students got to explore using paint to see what happens when they mix different colors together.  They also got to interact with a program on the eBeam (interactive white board).

I encourage you to consider organizing a Literacy Night at your school.  It was well worth the time and effort in planning and organizing!


  1. What a fantastic idea! I really enjoyed your slice about this family event. A real community builder!

    1. Thank you! It was a fun event for students, parents, and teachers. We had lots of WONDERful comments as parents were leaving!

  2. Love this idea! It would be awesome for students to create a Wonderstation for parent night or for student led conferences!


  3. What a great idea! We spend a lot of time on Wonderopolis. I think it would be a great family event with my students creating their own wonders.