JCPS encourages families to use Wonderopolis to enhance learning - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS encourages families to use Wonderopolis to enhance learning at home during snow days

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Second graders at Tully Elementary School explore Wonderopolis during class on Jan. 22, 2015. Second graders at Tully Elementary School explore Wonderopolis during class on Jan. 22, 2015.
Tully Elementary School teacher Holly Hawkins talks to her second graders about Wonderopolis on Jan. 22, 2015. Tully Elementary School teacher Holly Hawkins talks to her second graders about Wonderopolis on Jan. 22, 2015.
JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens promotes Wonderopolis during a Feb. 18, 2015 press conference about snow days. JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens promotes Wonderopolis during a Feb. 18, 2015 press conference about snow days.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Looking for a way to keep your children engaged while they are out of school?

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens is suggesting families should use these snow days as an opportunity to read books and do something productive with children, such as using the website www.wonderopolis.org to enhance learning at home.

“I encourage you to go to that site and go to No. 477, which is the challenge of the day, and the challenge is: ‘How Many Blocks Make an Igloo? There is reading and an assignment on there,” Hargens said during a press conference earlier this year. “I want you to do an assignment because learning, even if you are not in school, is incredibly important.”

WDRB News visited Tully Elementary School in January and saw how second grade teacher Holly Hawkins uses Wonderopolis each day to engage her students.

“It helps extend research within the classroom, but it also encourages them to continue learning at home,” Hawkins said.

In her classroom, students were paired into groups and were using Wonderopolis to research not only the Wonder of the Day, but other people and things have been learning about, such as Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, George Washington and Sacajawea.

“It's safe for kids to search but it also engages them in their learning,” Hawkins said. “So as a snow day, I kind of tease with my kids - I'm like you're sitting in you PJs at home having a cup of hot chocolate, it's too cold to play outside - how can you still be a learner at home and doing something you enjoy?"

Sharis Lattimore, director of computer education support for JCPS, says Wonderopolis is a great way to “engage all students on all levels.”

“Students don't have to log in or use a password, it is a free site,” Lattimore said. “It's very easy.”

And Lattimore adds, it's not just for little kids.

“It's for all students in grades K-12,” she said.

Here are some other fun weather-related wonders out there:

No. 79: Why Are All Snowflakes Different?

No. 1386: How Are Frost Flowers Made?

No. 437: How are Sleds and Sleighs Different?

Wonderopolis is run by the non-profit National Center for Families Learning, which is based in Louisville.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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