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Who Keeps A Journal?

Author: Curated by Brian Kelley with an Introduction by Kevin Hodgson

Kelley, Brian. “Who Keeps a Journal? .” YouTube, 24 Aug. 2022,

Kevin Hodgson writes:

A number of years ago, Brian Kelley shared a folder with me of images of notebooks and journals from famous artists, scientists, writers, athletes and more. It was an intriguing look at how scribbles and margins and notes were being used. I tucked the folder away in Google Drive and sort of forgot about it.

As we began to think of how a focus on notebooks and journals might infused this year’s STEAM-powered Write Out in October, I rediscovered Brian’s amazing curated work and asked if he would allow us to share it. He did.

I am inviting Brian to join this discussion thread to talk about his inspiration for this Who Keeps A Journal Project, and how it has been used, and maybe give us some advice on how we might consider using it with students for Write Out.

Meanwhile, just enjoy Brian’s curation via video (which we created with his permission). What are your impressions here? What do you notice? What can we learn, and our students learn, by looking at notebook pages like this?

Brian Kelly writes:

Thanks for sharing, Kevin.

The whole thing started when I asked myself who a notebook is for—I would try to mentor students in keeping a notebook but inevitably they would identify a notebook as something for me or for school so they never really gain traction.

Sure, I assign prompts and write alongside students but scant few ever took it as their own. So, I just started exploring and digging for notebook use out in the wild.

The notebooks of Emma Watson, Beethoven and Serena Williams sparked something in me first. I was completely fascinated by how much art there is of Beethoven holding a small pocket notebook. What was in it?

Then I started to question if the smartphones and social media in our hands and pockets took on some of the nuance of a personal notebook…

What motivates people to engage with a notebook and make it their own for their own reasons and needs…and could that need be seen as welcome and safe in school by all of my students. Sure, students may want to write but I keep learning how easy it is for me to unintentionally squash that personal want and replace it with a responsibility to me or school—which I don’t want in this case for this tool.

DMU Timestamp: September 07, 2022 19:06

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