This fall, the eighth grade boys in English Teacher Joey Wasson’s class are reading and analyzing the book and the movie Wonder. Wasson felt that the story’s themes would stimulate great conversations about kindness and bullying. “I appreciate how relatable this book is to 8th grade boys, even though its audience is mostly grades 3 – 7, said Ms. Wasson. “They can see a bit of themselves and their friends in the story.”
Though only half way through the book, which they are reading together in class, this week the entire class traveled to the theater to see the movie. “It was a wonderful experience taking the boys outside of the school to see Wonder, said Ms. Wasson. “The boys did a great job representing King’s at the theater yesterday. I even had a woman come up to me afterward to tell me she was initially nervous when she saw our large group of Jr. High boys, but she ended up being very impressed with how well they behaved.”
We asked some of the boys their opinions on the book and the movie so far:
Hayden Teeter had this to say: “I thought that the movie did a good job with the characters and casting. It really kept my attention all the way through. The story helped me understand that people with physical disabilities often like the same things as everyone else. I think my favorite part of the movie was at the end during the awards ceremony when they said, “Everybody deserves a standing ovation once in their lives.” I just thought that was cool. I also felt like many times in the movie, like when Mr. Brown was talking to the class about precepts, the character wasn’t just talking to the people on screen. He was talking to us, too.”
Ethan Pham thought the movie portrayed each character’s point of view better than the book (so far) because it was in the third person rather than the first: “In the third person, we can see how all of the characters are reacting rather than just the one. I definitely could relate to many of the characters, but probably Via the most because she was quiet and shy. When I came to King’s in 5th grade, I was shy, too. Friends really helped. Hayden was actually my first real friend. He showed me around the school and helped me a lot. The story made me think that people are often like icebergs: What you see is just a small part of who they are.”
King’s makes it a high priority to teach students how to be kind to one another and why choosing kindness matters. Ms. Wasson subtly tries to engage her students in the classroom about kindness and the story’s precepts. On the day of our interview, she was wearing a “Choose Kind” T-shirt.