Photo by Samet Kurtkus on Unsplash

“SCHOOLS SHOULD BE BUILT AROUND STREAMS OF WONDER. THESE STREAMS OF WONDER SHOULD CONSTANTLY BE IN MOTION ALLOWING YOU TO DIP INTO THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN. ” – Chris Fancher, Educator and Author

January 26, 2014. That’s the date on the draft post I was thinking about writing. It is one of about 10 “draft” posts I have on my blog. I’m about to shift this blog over to WordPress and away from Blogger. I have 276 blog posts altogether. Most were written over a 4 year period when I was actively writing (2011 through 2015).

So today I am cleaning up the pile of posts and I will start finishing some of the draft posts – starting with this one.

The idea for this post was brought about after attending an Educon conference. Educon conferences are one of the best conferences an educator can attend. I would recommend that you all put that on your educator bucket list.

I attended a session on “Wonder, By Design.” The beauty of an Educon is that the room creates what the attendees get out of the session. In this case we were instructed to come up with a table manifesto.

I know from my notes that all of the people at my table I knew from Twitter. And, most of them I am still in contact with via Twitter 6 years later.

“Wonder By Design.” 
I loved the initial brainstorming around that statement:
     Learning is an opportunity — not a location.
     Curiosity builds on curiosity and questions lead to questions.
     Wonder and curiosity go hand in hand — one builds on the other.
     Wonder evokes open-endedness.
     There is no limit to imagination.
     Schools should be built around wonder.
     Schools should be built around wonder and ideas of everyone.
     Wonder invites joy.
     No one has the right to steal someone else’s wonder.
     Wonder is essential to learning.

You can see that we were ready to take the concepts of wonder, imagination, and curiosity and find a way to create a manifesto that could be applied to all of education. So what the heck is a manifesto? Well, it just happens to be “a written statement that describes the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group.” Therefore, we needed to take these statements and put them together for our manifesto.

What we found as we started working with these statements was that we were heading down a path that led to the idea of wonder flowing through a school. This moved us into various water analogies. Fountains of wonder. Waterfalls of wonder. Streams of wonder. Someone even brought up Herodotus and a quote of his about water (I told you these were some pretty smart educators at this conference).

And so our first group of ideas became
(1) We believe that wonder and curiosity work together — you cannot have one without the other and each spurs new ideas, new possibilities, and new creativity.
(2) Wonder is essential to learning and can be reflected in our spaces, our practices, our mindset.


These were great on their own but we felt that they weren’t manifesto-y enough. So that led to these two statements:
(1) Schools should be built around wonder.
and, (2) Schools must be streams of wonder that are constantlly in motion – carving new paths – which you can dip into again and again.


My take on these two give you the following as my education manifesto:


SCHOOLS SHOULD BE BUILT AROUND STREAMS OF WONDER. THESE STREAMS OF WONDER SHOULD CONSTANTLY BE IN MOTION ALLOWING YOU TO DIP INTO THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN.


How can you build streams of wonder in your school? How do you allow students to dip into their creativity and imagination as a matter of routine? We all need to pause and consider those questions for our own classroom, building, or district.


NOTE: If you like this post feel free to look through the archives (on the right side of the page). Most are about PBL and/or Math. And, stay tuned for the shift over to ChrisFancher.com. The webpage is already there but the posts need to be shifted over. Coming Spring/Summer 2020.



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