Building an Inquiry Mindset

The following is a guest blog post from Trevor MacKenzie. Trevor is a high school teacher at Oak Bay High School in the Greater Victoria School District in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is the author of the best selling inquiry resource Dive into Inquiry: Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice. His upcoming release Inquiry Mindset: Nurturing the Dreams, Wonders and Curiosities of Our Youngest Learners (co-authored with Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt) is all about bringing the power of inquiry to our K-7 classrooms in accessible powerful ways. In this post, he discusses how he built an inquiry mindset with a poetry assignment on Flipgrid.

After sharing this post, Trevor and Rebecca hosted a "Building and Inquiry Mindset" Webinar - check it out here!

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Inquiry is at the heart of my teaching. It provides learners with a personalized experience, challenges them to reflect, stretch, and share their thinking, and better prepares them for the world as creative and curious and collaborative individuals. Finding creative ways to support learners in capturing, reflecting, and sharing their learning is a large part of my role as the inquiry teacher. Cue the beautiful synergies between my work in supporting teachers in adopting an inquiry approach and the powerful benefits of Flipgrid.

Flipgrid has helped me support my students in making their thinking visible, the action of willingly and powerfully sharing their opinion, their understanding, their skills and their talents with others. Case in point, this semester I challenged my students to write and perform an original SLAM poem that would represent the topic of “identity.” What I thought was a creative and exciting learning opportunity was met with uncertainty, nervousness, and, dare I say it, anxiety from students about performing their poem in front of their peers. So I decided to empower them in this process by giving them the option of performing their poem live in front of the class or on Flipgrid. I hoped that by giving them this voice and choice they would feel more confident in sharing their poem. However the benefits I discovered in using Flipgrid in this activity were so much more than merely students gaining some confidence.

Students used Flipgrid to rehearse and hone their skills prior to posting their poem - behaviours that I didn’t witness from students who performed for the class in realtime. They would rehearse, capture their performance, reflect on their recording and redo the piece prior to sharing countless times. The grit they demonstrated was awesome! Once their poems were all shared they left feedback to one another’s pieces and celebrated each other's performances. The authentic praise, organic networking, and powerful support without me manufacturing it all was surreal to witness. And finally, they demonstrated poise and mastery in their spoken language skills - they rocked it! Their poems were genuinely stronger than they would’ve been if they performed nervously in front of the class. Collectively these benefits all drastically impacted my assessment of their SLAM poems resulting in overall higher scores, higher student achievement and engagement, and a greater sense of pride in their work.

At its essence, inquiry is about exploring student wonders, curiosities, and questions. It’s about empowering students in the classroom to capture, to reflect, and to share their learning. It’s about nurturing the learning conditions that will eventually help us explore their passions and wonders in authentic learning experiences with the world around us. This activity and how the students leveraged Flipgrid to support their learning needs demonstrated this for us all. I couldn’t be more proud of my kids and more thankful to Flipgrid!

Check out a few examples of Trevor's incredible students at work, shared with their permission:

🖌✏️🖍 Celebrating the Flipgrid Sketchnotes Challenge Winners! 📝🎨🏆


Looking to help her students use Flipgrid more effectively, Julie Newton of Peterson Elementary created a sketchnote with directions and tips. True to the #FlipgridFever spirit, she decided to share the resource on Twitter. In just a few hours, it went viral! Clearly, educators love the easy-to-share content that a sketchnote affords. Inspired, we decided to host a Flipgrid Sketchnote Challenge!

Since announcing the competition, we've seen some seriously awesome sketchnotes covering everything from use cases to recording tips. Needless to say, we've been blown away! In addition to your amazing creativity, we we're awestruck by the community's celebration of the entries. Thank you to everyone that participated - your sketchnotes are #solidgold to your peers around the world!

With so many amazing submissions, Flipgrid Ambassadors Karly Moura and Claudio Zavala had a nearly impossible task to select the three winners of a Flipgrid hoodie. Nonetheless, they managed to reach a decision and thus, without further ado...the winners:


Omar Lopez


Stephanie Reed


Karen Wilson

Thank you to everyone that participated! Stay tuned for new fun challenges in the near future!

Savvy Field Trip - Westwood Intermediate

The following series is written by Flipgrid Head of Educator Innovation Jornea Armant Erwin. In this series Jornea will share her reflections of field trip experiences to amazing schools in the Flipgrid community! For the full digest, click here.


Westwood Intermediate - A Welcoming Community
I immediately felt at home when I was greeted by a smile and Minnesota Vikings welcome from Tyler Nelson, Associate Principal. As we shared the goals of the day and toured the school, excitement built up for the experiences I would get to be a part of! Enjoy the best practices captured and lesson ideas shared from teachers across the school including Flipgrid Ambassador, Leah Becklund's 4th grade class.

Best Practices in Action -
✅Goal Setting
✅Flexible Seating
✅Celebrating Student Achievements
✅Learning Targets, Game Plans/ Agendas for the Day
✅Graphic Organizers

Classroom Learning Ideas in the Discovery Library - 
🔍 Math check-in via Flipgrid
🔍 Close reads with Favorite songs
 🔍Rocks & Minerals

Westwood Intermediate, thank you for having me as a part of your school community for the day!  


Flipgrid Explorer Series: Sharks 🦈

Note: the Sharks Explorer Series has ended! Fear not though: we’re working on more opportunities for your students to connect with Flipgrid Explorers. Find out more over here!


We're excited to kick-off the 2018 Explorer Series by diving in with the sharks!

During this two-week Explorer Series, Jonathan Davis (meet Jonathan below) will take your class on a swim and discuss his awesome research and day-to-day life, how his childhood passion led him to where he is today, the importance of studying sharks, and more!

Along the way, Jonathan will encourage your students to share what they know about sharks, implore them to conduct some research of their own, and challenge him with any questions they might have! To accompany the Series, our Head of Educator Innovation Jornea Erwin and Flipgrid Ambassador Jen Giffen created this amazing HyperDoc for you to share with your students!

Starting on February 12, 2018, join Jonathan for daily videos and weekly discussion prompts for your students:

  • Pre-Series: Dive In (LIVE NOW!): What's the coolest things about sharks?

  • Swimming with Sharks, February 12-23: In this Topic, Jonathan will share daily videos about his research and what it means to be a shark scientist!

  • Week 1 Discussion Prompt: Misconceptions, February 12-17: What’s something interesting about sharks that most people don’t know?

  • Week 2 Discussion Prompt: Scientists, February 18-23: Why are scientists important?

  • Questions for Jonathan, February 12-23: Share your questions for Jonathan; he'll answer as many as he can!

  • Reflection, February 22-23: What’s something you learned?

If you haven’t participated in a Flipgrid Explorer Series, we’d love to have you join us. To get an idea of what it's like, check out Beth Mistretta's experience along with our previous Explorer Series Grids: Antarctica, Raptors, Fossils, BrainsNature, and Code.

Meet Jonathan Davis!

Jonathan was born and raised near the coastal marshes and bayous of southeast Texas where his passion for the water and all things living in it thrived. He received his BSc in Marine Biology from the University of Texas and his MSc in Marine Science from the University of Auckland, New Zealand where his studies focused on sharks and their relatives. He has studied sharks all over the world including the Florida Keys, the entire northeastern US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Louisiana and now in Texas!

Meet Flipgrid Rockstar Susan Castigliego 💫

Susan Castigliego, a 3rd grade teacher, has been rockin' out Flipgrid for over two years!  She is a Flipgrid Certified Educator & Flipgrid Ambassador who shares with the world so many amazing ways her students are engaged in learning with Flipgrid.  Susan extends her prep times to her colleagues by helping other teachers and students learn how to  best use Flipgrid in their classroom and gives PD sessions to colleagues as well on a monthly basis at her school. Susan integrates Flipgrid into so many practices in her classroom and describes Flipgrid as being "extraordinary".  


#WednesdayWisdom from Susan


  • Daily station rotations in math and readers workshop

  • To enhance the reasoning portion for CER (Claim - Evidence - Reasoning) in science

  • Connect with community leaders

  • Build school community (Grades Prek -5) with a shared grid about love for school and why students are thankful for their school and community

Flipgrid has transformed my teaching. Using Flipgrid has helped my students strengthen their written and oral responses across the curriculum. It has given my reluctant writers a positive and confident avenue to proficiency. It has helped all my students feel comfortable with expressing their ideas on and off the grids. It has helped the students that are not always willing to participate feel confident. 

Start off using Flipgrid and getting to know Flipgrid in one area with your students. I  first gave a grid as a homework assignment to do with their parents. Getting the parents involved and assigning grids weekly will strengthen their awareness of how to use Flipgrid accurately. Then let the magic begin....Use it for all you teach. The students will learn quickly and you will see their responses developing as well. When ready try to make a connection outside of the school, it is amazing  to see students excitement when they get responses from the people they are connecting with. Connect with the Flipgrid community on Twitter. The Flipgrid community has amazing ideas and are always willing to help.

Twitter: @SusanCast7
Grids Susan welcomes you to explore

Flipgrid Presentation Library


👋 Thank you so much for building a culture around amplifying student voice by spreading #FlipgridFever! We’re excited that you’re presenting Flipgrid and we've made it super easy for you to share your Flipgrid story!

Presentation slides:

Feel free to adjust the order, remove slides, and insert your own content as you see fit. However you decide to present Flipgrid, the thing that will make your presentation most impactful is you!

Presentation resources:

🖥 Right-click to save any images from our website and download the Flipgrid logo here.

🚀Explore the Educator Innovation Station for getting started resources, Integration Docs, and #GridTips.

💡Karly Moura and Sean Fahey’s Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid is packed with everything you need to become a Flipgrid expert! We highly recommend sharing this fantastic resource with your audience!

🔥Search the hashtag #FlipgridFever on Twitter to find inspiration from educators around the world!

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🤗Follow us on Twitter (@Flipgrid), send us an email (, and check out our Help Site! And if you haven't already, please let us know about your upcoming event at so we can hook you up with some swag!

Thank you for sharing Flipgrid. We’re so glad you’re part of this community!