Wonders – the “first” book series for tens of thousands of American children

Alaska Academy has been at the forefront of educational innovation in Hanoi by implementing the Wonders Curriculum from kindergarten to elementary school over the past 7 years.  

To help parents understand why the Wonders Curriculum has become the “first” book series for tens of thousands of American children, Alaska Academy is introducing the essential elements that create value and effectiveness within the Wonders Curriculum.

I – Design of the Wonders Curriculum

The Wonders textbook (McGraw – Hill Publishing House) is considered the “first” book series for tens of thousands of American children. Wonders brings together lessons and reading comprehension in many literary forms (stories, novels, poetry, editorials…) on many topics from literature, science, society to surrounding life issues. Helps children get closer to the language.

The Wonders curriculum is designed synchronously, skillfully integrated and fully and scientifically combined: Student books, teacher books, workbooks, reading books to supplement students’ knowledge, weekly test sets. /lesson/end of term/end of year to guide students to achieve the American Common Core State Standards.

The ideas and teaching materials of the Wonders Curriculum are divided into each level, helping students increase their ability to think for themselves, look at diverse and multi-dimensional problems, and create habits of critical thinking for them. pupil.

With the integration of many ideas and teaching materials for each level, the Wonders Textbook helps students learn English as a language, not learn English just to speak a foreign language. Accordingly, students will learn English as their mother tongue, absorbing it unconsciously, without being constrained by the concepts of right and wrong. Comfortable psychology, autonomy in learning and learning anytime, anywhere using many different channels or methods.

Specifically, children are focused on equally developing 4 skills: listening – speaking – reading – writing in lessons. Improving English vocabulary is not emphasized too much, instead it will be supplemented through regular life situations, helping children learn style and way of thinking, standard pronunciation like native speakers, with the ability to use English to research or study other subjects.

II – What do students learn from the Wonders Curriculum?

  • Correct pronunciation, increase reading speed and reading comprehension at each level

The Wonders curriculum offers a methodical roadmap for pronunciation, reading speed and understanding of English like Americans. Reading books are divided into stages with language materials on vocabulary and grammar equivalent to the level of students at each grade level. The goal at the end of elementary school is for students to be able to pronounce correctly and read and understand complex texts.

Learning to spell in Wonders (Phonics), students learn to read and become familiar with letters the same way native speakers learn. Children match known sounds with unknown letters to learn to read instead of knowing the letters before knowing how to pronounce them. This way of learning helps students speak English more according to their habits and ears than the words. Therefore, when encountering a completely new word, children can still pronounce it correctly. To help students pronounce correctly, Wonders has designed many support materials such as slow pronunciation of a word, recognition of homophones, videos or movies in English…

Along with learning to spell and increase reading speed for each age group, Wonders designs a separate reading comprehension program to help students learn how to read and understand complex texts, interesting literary works and informational texts. . This is a way for children to read deeply and improve their knowledge of literature and society.

1.1 – Literary comprehension: Stories of adventure and fantasy take students to new worlds. Through poems and folk tales, children can discover any new wonder without encountering language barriers.

1.2 – Reading and understanding informational texts: Reading and understanding informational texts opens up the world of science and social studies for students. Children read about brave people, the diverse animal world, learn some surprising facts.

1.3 – Reading and understanding complex text: Wonder guides students how to read and understand a complex text based on vocabulary, connecting ideas, text features, and text structure.

+ Vocabulary: When students don’t know a word, they will know how to look for clues in the context of the sentence or use a dictionary to look it up.

+ Connect ideas: Students connect ideas from one part of the text to another part to better understand the text.

+ Text features: Students can rely on images, maps or diagrams in the text to understand the content.

+ Text structure: When students know how to organize a text, it will help them understand what they are reading.

  • Create excitement through experiential learning

The Wonders curriculum provides special guidance to create an enjoyable learning experience that engages students in lessons; Build language skills step by step.

Accordingly, before introducing a topic, Wonders takes students to videos in which students will better understand what they are about to learn. Specifically, with the topic “How can animals help each other?”, students watched videos about the “friendship” of animals, they saw birds catching lice for buffaloes and treating them. That helps the buffalo stay cleaner, the shrimp eats parasites in the fish’s mouth to clean the fish’s body…

Or with the topic “How does an animal’s body support itself?”, students watch the video and see that giraffes have high necks to eat leaves from high trees, and elephants have very large trunks. long to eat and get food, turtles have hard shells and hedgehogs have sharp spines to protect it from other animals.

With such an intuitive video teaching method, the Wonders Textbook stimulates students to actively participate in learning the language, grasp vocabulary and understand a topic as quickly as possible.

Besides, each new vocabulary mentioned in the lesson is introduced in a certain context and in a specific sentence. For example, when talking about Swim, Wonders provides students with an image of a swimming fish and puts Swim vocabulary into a fun, exciting song. Thus, students can absorb new vocabulary in the most natural way and know how to use it correctly.

In addition, the Wonders curriculum also designs visual vocabulary cards, spoken language cards and language development kits (alphabet, writing models…) to help children easily absorb new words and remember them longer.

  • Think like a native, develop reading comprehension – communication – comprehensive writing skills

The lesson content and teaching methods in the Wonders curriculum aim to help students be able to use English comprehensively and master the language, not just translating from Vietnamese to English.

The Wonders curriculum does not focus too much on basic details that may not be really useful such as learning to tell colors, telling the time, how to conjugate verbs into the past tense… Instead, Wonders focuses on focuses on teaching the in-depth structures that native speakers use, rather than just focusing on simple words.

Furthermore, this textbook also requires students to use more difficult words like “prefer” or “scrumptious”, instead of simple words like “like” and “good”. At the same time, Wonders connects students with scientific, historical, and social knowledge to help them think deeply and communicate in English more fluently than their peers.

Possessing a basic English foundation according to international standards not only helps children improve their ability to use English to research or learn other subjects, but also ensures children are ready for educational experience opportunities. abroad as soon as the opportunity arises.

 

  • Flexible and intelligent communication 

The Wonders program provides diverse vocabulary, knowledge of scientific – literary – social information texts, designs collaborative conversations so students have the opportunity to practice listening and speaking regularly, Develop proficient English communication skills.

– Situational learning: Students participate in a short conversation in English with many different topics. There will be a few people telling the story and some of you playing the characters in that story. This ensures students always practice speaking after learning a specific structure, while also increasing their communication reflexes quickly and accurately.

– Ask questions: Students form pairs or small groups, continuously ask questions and answer them together. For example, “Do you like blueberries or watermelon better?”. This method helps students be confident and less shy in daily communication life. At the same time, teach students how to compare and contrast and explain their choices.

– Project-based learning: Participating in thematic learning projects teaches students how to make and defend arguments, discuss cause and effect, and organize sequences. , make requests and connect evidence through previously learned knowledge.

In addition, the Wonders program also integrates many directly interactive English learning games, used on each student’s own account, creating conditions for students to learn English at home proactively and effectively.

  • Perfect your writing, essay, and essay writing skills

Writing documents, essays and essays are required skills for future academic and work purposes. Writing is not simply holding a pen and writing down what you are thinking, but requires research and practice to make the writing profound, convincing, and touching people’s hearts.

With the viewpoint, “Never let children write about a topic the way it is”, Wonders will help students hone their writing skills with the Grammar and Writing section. In it, students will participate in activities such as: Writing documents, Practicing writing, Writing letters,… to get acquainted with different literary genres as well as writing styles. This helps students supplement their vocabulary, learn new sentence structures and practice creative and attractive writing style, which is the foundation for future essay writing activities. More specifically, turn children’s writing into a hobby that children look forward to every day.

Specifically, for grade 1 students, Wonder will let students become familiar with how to write small essays with topics close to the children’s surrounding lives before achieving higher essay requirements in grade 1. next classes.

  • Open the door to the World

The goal of the Wonders curriculum is not only to develop English skills for students like native speakers, increase confidence when communicating, but also to help them become more mature in life by incorporating into lessons lessons. Stories, international cultural experiences and issues of science, history, biology, environment, culture, world architecture… help students easily integrate with the world. At the same time, this is also one of the natural and exciting approaches for children to easily absorb and improve the language.

Throughout the lessons in the Wonders curriculum, students will learn about very diverse and interesting content, such as:

– Explore the biological world: In this lesson, students not only get acquainted with the diverse biological world through images and videos, but also supplement their knowledge and vocabulary notebooks related to animals. , plants, insects…

– Great inventions and how to turn a new idea into reality: This will definitely be a learning session that brings a lot of fun to students. With vocabulary about inventions, science, technology and solutions, along with phrases to compare and contrast the future and the past provided in the lesson to help children improve their vocabulary and use of words. correct for the situation.

– Learn about world cultures and festivals: Providing knowledge about the origins of festivals and customs around the world, children improve their vocabulary as well as commonly used grammar for anniversaries, major festivals… This is truly a useful lesson that can help students gain access to world cultures and gain more love and pride in Vietnamese culture.

– Learn about life and the community around us: In this lesson, the Wonders program introduces students to words and phrases related to life and the community around us, helping them enrich their vocabulary as well as understanding about school, where you live, pets, how to make friends, buildings, jobs, maps… This is the foundation to help children get acquainted and integrate into modern life more easily.

– Learn how to protect the environment: Wonders guides students to learn about one of today’s hottest issues through learning English. Students improve their vocabulary about water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution, environmental protection measures, measures and solutions to protect the environment from seemingly simple small things. . Besides, they practice critical thinking and problem solving, and know how to use the words and grammar they have learned effectively to call on everyone to join hands to improve and protect life. Our lives become better and purer.

– Discover world wonders: Coming to the lesson about world wonders, children not only discover activities and wonderful wonders in the world, but also add vocabulary related to travel… From there, use it to create an interesting advertisement to introduce a wonderful place or wonder that children like.

  •  Practice learning skills, 21st century soft skills, promote creativity and problem-solving ability

Wonders not only teaches students to speak another language in English, but also trains them in critical thinking, teamwork skills, and presentation and rhetoric skills.

– Critical thinking: Wonders provides daily activities based on topics for students to find alternative solutions to problems, encouraging them to ask open questions instead of closed questions.

– Teamwork skills (Collaboration): Wonders designs projects for students to collaborate from start to finish. Thereby, students will learn the skills of listening to other people’s opinions and the ability to present to listeners without communication errors.

– Communication skills: Encourage students to present their own ideas through speech effectively.

  • With the 2023 update of the Wonders English Language Arts program, McGraw Hill Publishing has partnered with Sesame Workshop to provide an approach that integrates social-emotional learning (SEL) skills in the curriculum to build student confidence by encouraging them to take an active role in their literacy journey.

Accordingly, lessons are carefully shaped to reinforce literacy skills, while supporting social-emotional competencies such as: social problem solving, task persistence, empathy as well as the ability to self-regulate emotions and behavior.

Access to positive social-emotional learning skills provides elementary students with the critical foundation to experience success in school and life with understanding, flexibility, support, and resilience.

(According to Mheducation.com)