Traveling journals bring the world to Pagosa

Cara Hagman’s Pagosa Springs Intermediate School fifth-grade class sent out a Traveling Journal in October 2008, with hopes the journal would travel around the world and back to their classroom by May 1, 2009.

With the exception of five students, the youngsters received their books back, loaded with information about the different places their journals traveled to.

The social studies project was one the class embraced with the hopes of learning more about places other than Pagosa Springs. And that they did. Except for the five who did not get their journals back yet (Mrs. Hagman will make sure the late books get to the students), the students were amazed at how far the journals travelled. Some of the students received mementos from the last place their journal visited. Throughout the year, journal writers dropped postcards in the mail indicating where the journals were.

Some of the journals went to Europe, and one went to Japan.

Elena Donharl received an autographed photo from an astronaut at NASA. Some of the journaling was done by students and some was done by adults. Some of the entries were typed, copied from the Internet and pasted in the books; others were penned by an author telling all about the town, city or community in which they live. Many of the books included photos, postcards, maps or Internet downloaded pictures.

Blake Irons’ journal started in Connecticut, then went to New Hampshire (twice), New Jersey, England, California, Pennsylvania (twice), Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, Illinois, Texas, then back to California before heading home to Pagosa Springs. Whether in small towns or big cities, everyone loved sharing the history and facts about the climate and activities where they live.

Journals included information about sports teams, and favorite and famous foods. One writer shared that she has a vacation home in Chromo, Colo.

Melanie Cowan loved the fact that Tyler’s journal made it to Germany and Tyler got a look at what it might have been like for his parents, Justin and Melanie, when they lived there prior to having children. “Hopefully we can take the children to Germany some day and this has sparked some interest in Tyler,” said Melanie.

Most of the writers were proud of where they lived, enjoyed receiving the project and encouraged the kids to be proud of where they are from. Some of the students’ parents loved reading the journals as well, and shared in the excitement of “meeting and visiting” so many different places.

Cara Hagman will repeat this project with her fifth-grade class next year and will ask that the journals be returned earlier so the class can do more sharing of the books before the school year ends.

Photo courtesy Joanne Irons
Displaying their returned journals are class members, front, from left, Carson McKee, Blake Irons, Sam Chronowski, Elena Donharl, Joseph Espinosa, Jeremiah Hawkins, Second Row: Faith Heitz, Adolfo Valenzuela, Molly Burkesmith, Tyler Cowan and Payton Burnett. In back are Kasey Perea, Taylor Lee and James Berndt.