Wandering through Wonders: McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Overview

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade

My school district recently adopted McGraw-Hill Wonders as our new K-6 reading series.  Previously, we were using a variety of series and resources to meet our students' needs.  In my 8 years of teaching, this will be the first year I've had a reading curriculum that addresses {most of} our standards!  If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you might know that using a basal to teach is not exactly my style, so this is a HUGE change for me.  In an ideal world, I would use a reading workshop model to teach whole group mini-lessons with trade books and then differentiate with leveled readers in small groups.  I am still planning on using a reading workshop model, but I will be integrating Wonders into the model.  I hope to blog about Wonders throughout the year to share about the integration process.

According to McGraw-Hill, Wonders is the first and only reading program designed specifically for the Common Core.  This is a definite improvement over our previous series; however, this does not mean the curriculum is without flaws.  My colleague, Amanda, and I spent A LOT of time this summer aligning Wonders to our 2nd grade CCSS and developing a scope and sequence for the year.  Throughout this process, we discovered many things we loved about Wonders, as well as a few things we were not impressed with!  I will start with the things we loved! :)

1) Literature: The stories in the literature anthology of Wonders are very good!  I've worked with a lot of basals that had really dull stories, so I am excited that Wonders includes stories that are engaging and high-interest for my students.

2) Instruction Model: The 2nd grade curriculum of Wonders includes 2 textbooks.  You use the Reading/Writing Workshop textbook to pre-teach the comprehension and vocabulary of the week, as well as model close reading.  Then, you have students apply these skills to the weekly selection in the Literature Anthology.  I really like the concept of being able to pre-teach skills and apply them to quality literature.

3) Multiple Selections: Both textbooks include multiple selections each week.  The selections are a variety of genres to allow for multiple ways for students to practice their skills.

Now, onto the main problem we are having with Wonders...  scope and sequence! {a large problem, I might add!}

Scope and Sequence: I emailed the folks at McGraw-Hill multiple times to see if they could provide a matrix that indicates which CCSS are being focused on each week.  (Because my district uses standards based grading, it is important for us to see the scope and sequence of the standards we are teaching and assessing).  The best McGraw-Hill could do was tell me to use the online Weekly Planner resource to pull up the weekly standards.  So, I tried it.  Unit 1, Week 1 lists 44 standards for the WEEK (12 of which don't pertain to 2nd grade).  Clearly, that's not going to work for us!  Like usual, I decided to create my own resource to meet my needs.

My friend and colleague, Mary, created a template to use to map out Wonders for 4th grade.  Using the template, I worked with my friend, Amanda, to create a scope and sequence that showed the CCSS that were truly being focused on each week.  You can download the FREE checklist by clicking on the image below.

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade

{Full Disclosure: We worked on this at 2 AM on some nights, so I make no promises that it's 100% accurate, but it's a start!}



Throughout the year, I will be creating additional Wonders resources to meet our needs.  One of the first things I have already created is a spelling unit!  Second Grade Wonders includes weekly spelling words based on a pattern.  Although the words are provided by Wonders, I found that the curriculum was lacking some necessary components such as:

1) Organized lists to send home to parents

2) Word cards for sorting by pattern (Wonders does provide word cards in their online resources, but they do not include sorting headers and their cards are huge... which wastes too much paper in my opinion!)

3) Most importantly, a guide on how to assess students' spelling!

Because my team is going to be utilizing Wonders for spelling this year, I decided to create a comprehensive unit for us to use.  So far, I have Unit 1: Weeks 1-5 completed and posted on TPT.  I am currently working on Units 2-6 and will create a bundle if there is enough interest.  Here is what my unit includes:

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling

{Click on the image above to check out the unit}
  {Download the preview file for a FREE sample of Unit 1: Week 1}

Click on the images below to see a full size image.  These can also be downloaded in the preview file.

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{How I plan on teaching spelling}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{The weekly spelling patterns and the words that are on each test}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Word list to send home with students... includes lines for handwriting practice!}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Word cards and headers for sorting}

I have my students cut, sort, and glue the word cards on notebook paper.
I've included a few blank cards to help students think of additional words that follow the pattern.

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Description of the spelling test}

McGraw-Hill Wonders Second Grade Spelling
{Example of a spelling test}


Phew!  This was a long post!  Hooray for you if you made it to the end!
Please comment below if you are using 2nd Grade Wonders this year.  I would love to connect and collaborate with you!

27 comments

  1. Thank you for all the great resources Kate!

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  2. This is our 2nd year with Wonders! Your pages were a welcomed addition to what we attempted!
    Thanks

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  3. Your spelling pages look great! I still have a few Smart Start lessons to create, and then I'm ready to get into the literature!

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  4. I'll be teaching first grade wonders for the first time. We are very overwhelmed and trying to mesh stuff together now. This will be a great model for us!

    neillkk@hotmail.com

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  5. I would love to know how you are incorporating Reading Wonders into your Readers Workshop, still trying to figure it out!

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  6. I would love to know how you incorporate Reading Wonders into Readers Workshop, still trying to figure it out!

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    1. Hi Jana! I cut out quite a bit of the Wonders program in order to fit it into our daily schedule... but I'm happy with how it worked out and my students showed great growth. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions. I will try to do a Wonders Wrap Up post and explain more within the next few weeks!

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  7. You may have already said, but what do you do for authentic writing pieces (not just response to reading)? Thank you!

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    1. Hi Claire! I use a writer's workshop model in my classroom. I focus on the three writing standards for second grade (opinion, narrative, informational) and take my students through the writing process.

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  8. You have done an amazing job with this, we are required to use Wonders but we also do Daily 5, so trying to mesh them is tough. Any ideas/suggestions?

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am no longer a 2nd grade teacher-- I am now the school counselor! Last year, I used a combination of Wonders with guided reading and stations... it may help you in your planning with Daily 5!

      My school is fortunate to have a huge Scholastic guided reading library, so my core reading instruction centered on the Wonders stories (whole group) and small group guided reading with the Scholastic books. Here is how I structured my week in terms of reading instruction:

      On Mondays and Tuesdays, I used the Wonders Reading/Writing Workshop textbook to go over vocabulary, read the short story, and teach students the main comprehension skills of the week. On Wednesdays, I read the Literature Anthology story with students and had them reread the story for homework. On Thursdays, I assessed the students' vocabulary from the weekly words and did a comprehension activity that went with the skill of the week. On Fridays, I assessed the weekly comprehension skill using a cold read passage.

      All of the previous instruction I mentioned took place in my whole group instruction period (25-35 minutes per day). I spent an additional 45 minutes each day in a guided reading block where I met with small groups of students. During this time, I used the Wonders leveled readers for my lowest group and the Scholastic trade books for my three higher groups. I had a separate chunk of daily time for language and writing skills.

      Good luck with your planning and implementation of Wonders!

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  9. Thank you for this great information! Can you direct me to other grade level resources like yours?

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    1. Thanks! My colleague, Mary, has some great Wonders resources for 4th grade available on TPT: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Mary-Dressel

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  10. Thanks for the great resources! Our district will be starting to use Wonders this year. Just curious...you had a mention to word study notebooks? How did you use them?

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    1. Hi there! Word study notebooks were used for morning work. Take a look at the document above called Spelling Weekly Outline-- it will show how the words were sorted each day and then glued in the notebook by the end of the week.

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  11. Hi, I love your spelling unit. Did you include the Approaching and Beyond spelling lists as well? If not, is it possible to get your template so the same format could be used?

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    1. Hello! Thanks so much for the feedback! Unfortunately, the Approaching and Beyond lists are not included. In my opinion, the Approaching and Beyond words from Wonders show very little differentiation, so I chose not to use them with my class. I used Words Their Way to differentiate my spelling groups, instead. I do not currently have a blank template for sale, but it is something I may work on in the future if there is enough interest. Sorry that I'm unable to help!

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  12. I'm totally interested in the template! I LOVE your thoughts and approach!

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    1. Sorry, I am only familiar with the 2nd grade curriculum!

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  14. You mentioned that you cut out somethings to make it work for your schedule. What are the things that you cut out?

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    1. Hello! I do not recall the specific items I cut out, as it has been two years since I used Wonders (I am a school counselor now). I recommend trying the curriculum with fidelity for a few weeks and then cutting out the parts that you do not feel are necessary for your class.

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  15. We are just about to order Wonders. I love your chart for alignment!! Thank you!

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Hi Ingrid! It looks like you deleted your question, so perhaps you found the answer. If not, I give an explanation of what the numbers mean in the resource-- you can download it for free in my TPT store. Unfortunately, I do not have any updates as I am no longer a classroom teacher-- I am a school counselor now!

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