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The Curiosity-Driven Curriculum: Identity to Inquiry #TheEdCollabGathering

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The Curiosity-Driven Curriculum: Identity to Inquiry  #TheEdCollabGathering

This series of posts includes learning and reflections from #TheEdCollabGathering, a day of online professional learning hosted by Chris Lehman and team at The Educator Collaborative on April 2, 2016.

“If school was more interesting, kids would learn more.”

Harvey Daniels and Sara Ahmed opened The EdCollab Gathering by challenging our thinking about the way we engage students in school. Daniels and Ahmed shared that children are naturally curious. Based on Susan Engel’s research (Curiosity and School, 2011), we know that at the prekindergarten age, kids experience an average of 26, and even up to 76, curiosity episodes per hour. Curiosity episodes were described as instances in which kids were asking or investigating.  By the time kids reach kindergarten the number of curiosity episodes drops to 1 per hour and by fifth grade, there are almost too few episodes to even count. Most children studied by Engel spent their whole school day without asking a single question.


Harvey Daniels & Sara Ahmed #TheEdCollabGathering 2016

“Kids are the most important part of your curriculum. Start there.”

Daniels and Ahmed challenged us to  consider how to breathe new life into kids’ innate curiosity and create a culture in which it is nurtured. How can this be done? Watch the archived presentation to learn more about:

  • Identity Literacy
  • Identity Webs
  • Wonder Walls
  • Wonders in My World
  • Recommendations for Read-Alouds


Daniels and Ahmed also call on us to think about the notion of grit, which is often referred to as something kids need to draw upon when faced with a challenging task. Why do we approach grit as something the child needs in order to get through the school day? As in, “If this child had more grit, he would learn more.” This mindset feels like one of deficiency. Daniels and Ahmed would like us to consider reframing this notion. As in “If school was more interesting to this child, he would learn more.”

To read more about tapping into student identity and using inquiry as a method for learning, check out the following resources:


The book is in your court…


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