Gloria Ann’s Seven Wonders
After finishing a unit on world history and geography with her third grade students, the teacher thought a good follow up would be to ask the students to list what they personally considered to be the seven wonders of the world. All the students except Gloria Ann turned in their list and the teacher tabulated the results.
“Here are the seven wonders that got the most votes. It was all very close and when Gloria Ann finishes her list the results may change, but for now here is the list.”
- The Great Pyramids
- The Taj Mahal
- The Eiffel Tower
- The Grand Canyon
- China’s Great Wall
- Brazil’s Christ Redeemer
- The Panama Canal
The teacher waited for a while but Gloria Ann still hadn’t finished her list. Finally the teacher asked Gloria Ann, who was a rather quiet, petite girl, if she was having difficulty making her list and needed help.
Gloria Ann said, “Oh, no, I don’t need help. I came up with over twenty wonders right away. I just don’t know which seven to hand in. But here’s what I have.”
The teacher took Gloria Ann’s list and read it. She was amazed at what Gloria Ann wrote and wasn’t sure how to handle it. Finally she decided to read the list to the class.
“Class, here is Gloria Ann’s list of seven wonders,” the teacher said. “Please listen as I read it.”
- I WONDER why people let children starve to death
- I WONDER why people hurt each other and say cruel things.
- I WONDER why parents don’t listen to their children more.
- I WONDER why people die and what happens to them when they do.
- I WONDER how many stars there are in the universe.
- I WONDER if God ever sleeps and if he does what his bed is like.
- I WONDER why school can’t be more interesting and fun.
The children immediately said, “But those aren’t any of the famous wonders we learned about.”
The teacher said, “You’re right. What you listed are what we might say are ‘inside the box’ wonders, what we learn from books. What Gloria Ann listed might be called ‘outside the box’ wonders. In other words, Gloria Ann used her creative imagination to think of wonders that aren’t in the books. Both ways of thinking are acceptable. Unfortunately, we spend more time teaching ‘inside the box’ thinking and not enough time encouraging individuals to think ‘outside the box’, even though we know that the world’s greatest inventions and discoveries came from ‘outside the box’ thinking. I’m glad that Gloria Ann reminded me of the importance of ‘outside the box’ thinking. I’ll do a better job and spend more time encouraging that kind of thinking.”
by Charles Milton Lee