I had been teaching for almost seven years when I finally decided to give teaching young learners a try. Despite feeling very insecure, one day I was like, ‘why not?’ and finally decided to give it a try. So it was February, 2020 when I first welcomed my 7-year-olds into my classroom (and, as I later discovered, into my heart).
I was honestly quite excited when I got my set of books and all the stuff that comes with it. The material is called I Wonder and it’s easy to like it straight away as its characters are basically this cute family, called the Wonders, a clever robot called ROLO, and their friends, Chico the dog, Carlos and Tara. That’s right – the characters are so much more than the usual Johns and Annas you usually find in stereotypical English books. As a person who truly believes in changing the world one student at a time, seeing characters from different backgrounds and ethnicities, as well as other details such as kids in wheelchairs, is definitely something that draws my attention.
Another aspect of I Wonder which totally sealed the deal for me was trying its augmented reality (AR) app, which gives a whole new meaning to bringing characters to life. AR is still pretty new, especially in ELT, and therefore you will certainly find your students (and colleagues) in awe seeing ROLO popping out of the pages to help you teach the colours. The pack also comes with this huge set of big and colourful posters, as well as a considerable amount of ready-to-use flashcards made of shiny, resistant material that can survive being handled by little hands on a daily basis.
As if that wasn’t enough, I Wonder’s Teacher’s Book meets all the criteria I could possibly come up with regarding organisation and navigation. It gives me access to all the pages of the Pupil’s Book, as well as very detailed teacher’s notes near their corresponding pages. The lessons are clearly divided and they always begin with this beautiful box telling the teacher what is to be covered: aims, language (both what is new and what will be revised), cross-curricular links, thinking skills, extra materials needed for that lesson and so on. As you can see, I Wonder goes beyond teaching English and is actually concerned about raising citizens of tomorrow.
And, yes, I am currently teaching from home. You may think it would be a nightmare to keep 7-year-olds engaged in this scenario, but the interactive whiteboard software is so helpful, the videos are so beautiful and the songs so catchy that hardly do my learners even blink. My first time overcoming my fear of teaching YL turned out to be the whole package. However, having materials which support me so well and cater for my students’ needs and respect their learning pace definitely makes a difference. Of course, I would’ve somehow managed it without I Wonder, but it most certainly has made my life so much easier.