#carryCuriosity

A travelling notebook gets passed amongst students for each to add to about what makes them curious.

Photo of Erin Quinn

Written by

Some amazing colleagues of mine started a project called #carryCuriosity this spring. It's a travelling notebook, along with a couple of great books (Angela Stockman's Make Writing and Linda Berry's incredible Syllabus), and asks educators to answer one question: what makes you curious? It's currently making its way across Canada and the US, and each contributor is adding, remixing, and augmenting what others wrote and drew before them.

I wondered: could this work with kids? Could we pass a notebook amongst a class of students, asking them to add to it with what makes them curious, gets them all full of zest? Could they be inspired by what their classmates wrote, and take time and care to add their own piece? And wouldn't it be amazing if this could be mailed from classmate to classmate before the start of the school year? If I included some stamps and a list of addresses, it would totally be doable (though not this school year unfortunately).

I need to think carefully about what inspiration materials I could include in the package. I think one book I'd for sure include would be Keri Smith's amazing book How to be an Explorer of the World. I've always wanted to use that book with middle schoolers.

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. Do you love this idea?

Yes! I love this idea! - 100%

10 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Liisha
Team

Erin!!

I absolutely LOVE this- and with your OK- would love to start it at school this year- start with my class- then pass it along throughout the school? Do you have any literacy suggestions that could go along with it for elementary- I too can do some hunting!  I am curious to see what awesome things our students are curious about!  Start small - then perhaps branch out!

Photo of Erin Quinn
Team

Oh ABSOLUTELY!!! And please share back what happens! 

I'll ask my lovely colleague Heather if she has any literature suggestions. She's a brilliant early childhood educator and literacy specialist. 

Photo of Liisha
Team

sounds great!!  thank you :)  I will be sure to #carryCurosity

Photo of Garreth Heidt
Team

Thanks for the book suggestions.  Please excuse all the typos in my original response.  I was using an iPad and I'm not all that capable with the keyboard.

Photo of Garreth Heidt
Team

Hey Erin,

I saw that you referenced Keri Smith's How to Be An Explorer of the World.  Linda Keene, an architect and teacher at the Art Institute of Chicago put me onto that book.  I've used a number of the exercises with my own children, but I realized after looking through it that I was doing many similar exercises with my middle school humanities students.  So much of it is about focused,sustained attention on the ordinary, which is something we did with photography but also with reverse engineering of everyday objects as well as the reading and writing of poetry.  

If you are looking for an even larger treasure trove of activities like those in Smith's book, you absolutely have to check out the website next.cc   This was created by Linda Keene and here husband, also an Architect and it's just amazing.

Oh, and for me, as my former stud nt's will tell you, on Dixon Ticonderoga 2.5 Medium lead pencils, prior to the 2008ish value engineering that lead to duller yellow paint and reduced quality control.

Photo of Erin Quinn
Team

Well! That is QUITE the find! I love this site - thank you so much for sharing it!

Another couple of books that have been quite inspirational to me are the Wander Society also by Keri Smith, and Syllabus by Lynda Berry (referenced above). You might like them both. :)

P.S. I still like the pencils. ;)

Photo of Valerie Lewis
Team

Erin thanks for sharing this idea of the traveling book of curiosities. I had not heard of the book references you shared and must add them to my list of growing things to read. Nonetheless, I wonder if there would be some safety concerns with including student's addresses in the package but the concept is certainly great. How could we be sure that students at the middle school and high school levels use appropriate commentary? How do we keep track of the book's path and that it isn't lost or damaged through the journey?

Photo of Erin Quinn
Team

For sure there would be privacy concerns about it being actually mailed. Permissions could be obtained before the summer to share addresses with the students. But the more I think about it, the more interesting it would be to have the students do the "trade off" in class and have the contributor share insights with the other students as they pass it along to the next student.

Photo of Chris Good
Team

This is such a cool idea. I love the travelling notebook and the idea that it is paired with inspiration materials.

I wonder if there might be a way to track this notebook's route, and to make the inspiration components more personally compelling. One thought might be to have the notebook travel digitally through some form of social media portal -and as it travels from individual to individual, maybe each person attaches some piece of their own inspiration.

And maybe the route path is not linear? Perhaps as more students add their inspiration it divides and circles back on itself so that in the course of the year each student is touched by it multiple times - seeing perhaps not only their original notes and inspirations, but how those inspirations affected the students after them.

So much fun inside this idea!

Photo of Erin Quinn
Team

I like it. Yes! Our own #carryCuriosity project I'm doing with colleagues asks us to post on Twitter when we receive it, a shot of it in progress, and then when it's on its way to the next person on the list. I think social media would be a great way to track it. I also toyed with the idea of the "hand off" happening in class and the person who has just contributed to it sharing with the group some "a ha" or interesting thought they had as they were contributing. 

LOVE love love the idea of it not being linear. It travelling on its merry way in a very organic way.