Welcome to our 52 Week GID Challenge (for Educators Using Guided Inquiry Design)

Here you will find pioneers in inquiry-based learning engaging in a 52 week challenge of reflective practice.

As one of the authors of Guided Inquiry and Guided Inquiry Design and national trainer in the approach, I am always looking for unique ways to build networks around our process to support educators in their implementation and best practice of inquiry based learning.

In January of 2016, I gathered the educators in my network who were trained by me and using GID in their schools, and I invited them to blog.  We were looking for examples and reflection on best practice for inquiry based learning. Then, I created the blog with the goal of having 52 educators, a different one each week of the year, share their reflective practice using the GID model. It was so successful and exciting in year one that we continued the challenge in 2017.

Through GID, we believe in reflective practice and educators are finding this to be a great venue to reflect and learn from others using the model, across the globe. Most of the bloggers here have participated in an official GID workshop that has supported their implementation of GID best practice, which is a research backed best practice for inquiry based learning.

The object is simple: once a week someone takes over this blog account and the @52_GID twitter account and shares their experience on their use of the instructional design model called  Guided Inquiry Design.

You will find connected educators at all grade levels (K-12), from all over the globe, ladies and gents, young and old, social media superstars and first-time tweeters. We include varied perspectives on inquiry learning from district and school based leaders/administrators, librarians, teachers and instructional coaches. Everyone brings their own voice to the table and all of us, collectively, bring the student voice to the fore. That’s the reason we are in this, we are working to help our students use inquiry based learning to grow complex ideas, dig deeply into content area learning, develop authentic literacy skills, grow socially and emotionally through a complex learning process, learn information literacy skills through deep questioning and real research and learn how they learn!

Enjoy these wonderful examples and come join us by commenting and participating in our community of reflective practice. @InquiryK12

Leslie Maniotes, PhD  @lesliemaniotes
For more information:
email: Leslie@guidedinquirydesign.com
Website: guidedinquirydesign.com

Guided Inquiry Design Website


Here are links to our books. This first one describes the research behind this approach and why inquiry is important for our students and teachers right now.  This second edition includes new materials and updates with the Common Core standards. Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century

Guided Inquiry Design describes the research backed instructional design framework for inquiry based learning K-12. Guided Inquiry Design

 Guided Inquiry Design in Action: Middle School provides practical examples and full units from the middle school level.

Guided Inquiry Design in Action: High School provides practical examples and full units for the high school level including a complete unit for National History Day, Physical Science, and more!

Our Series of Books on Guided Inquiry Design



Pick a partner or two

After planning and implementing Guided Inquiry for a few years, I’ve learned lots of things.  I almost always learn as much as the kids do when I am part of a team that teaches using GI.  Some of my reflections are below:

  • For me, implementing units goes better if there are lots of adults available to help.   Ask your counselor, teachers on other teams, sped teachers, music teachers, your principal, parents, interns, gifted teachers, ELL teachers, anyone that you think might be willing to help.  You can even ask your mom.  I asked my mom and her friend to come and help with a unit I did with 2nd graders.  We were learning about national monuments and symbols.  For the explore phase, I needed a person at lots of small stations.  With just a quick description of what our purpose and goal was, she and her friend jumped right in.  They are both retired first grade teachers and sometimes miss being with kids.  Neither of them knew one single student, but I put them in the library with me, and students rotated through our groups.  ASK ANYONE.  The worst they can do is say no.  If they say yes, your groups just got smaller.  The people that help do not have to be trained.  This is especially true with when working with non-readers.
  • When students have voice and choice in their learning, the results are incredible.  Their buy-in is increased.  Let’s be honest…  sometimes doing research with students can be a little dry.   This is not the case when teaching using GID.  Students are researching questions that they really want answered…  what is important to them.  They often get to demonstrate their learning in a way that makes the most sense to them.  While I give some options for their “create”, I often tell students to let me know that they might need another option that wasn’t presented.  If a student has another idea, I am happy to hear them out.  It is important to give students as much control over their learning as possible.
  • I’ve had to learn to be flexible.  Sometimes what you have planned takes a lot longer than you think.  Sometimes what you have planned doesn’t take as long as you think.  Sometimes using a new strategy goes really smoothly.  Sometimes it flops.  You may have to adjust your timeline or make adjustments to your plan mid-stream.  It’s a learning experience for everyone…  adults included.  I find that often the line between “identify” and “gather” is kind of blurry.  It may take some kids 2 days to come up with a question and other kids know immediately.  I let the ones that know what they want to find out get started while they are excited and ready to learn.
  • Don’t be afraid to try stuff with little kids.  With small adaptations, you can do GI with any age.  Yes, they can’t read yet but there are lots and lots of resources to help with that.  Technology is your best friend (and so is PebbleGo).
  • If this is your first time, find someone in your building that you can collaborate with and go for it.  Again, you don’t have to do GI with other people who have been to training.  While it helps, you just have to  find someone who will trust you and listen to you.  Ask how they normally teach the unit, and keep anything that is already fantastic.  Talk about it.  Talk to other people who have done GI.  Librarians in my district constantly ask each other for new ideas or ways to freshen up old ideas.

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts this week.  Leslie, thank you for asking me.  It has been fun and educational for me to really reflect on my teaching.


–Terri Curtis, Madison Elementary, Norman, Ok

PreK and GI? You betcha!

Hello again.  Today I’d like to discuss a couple of things I’ve used with early childhood kiddos or with older students that aren’t quite reading that have worked within a Guided Inquiry unit.  Let me start by saying that I really like doing GI with younger students.  They are more likely to try new things without skepticism and negativity.  They aren’t embarrassed that they can’t read yet because nobody else can either.  They are used to working in groups and doing centers.  They don’t know that failing to meet a learning objective is an option.  They jump right in with both feet and are eager learners.  Yes, you do have to do things a little bit differently, but a little bit of planning goes a long way with these guys.

I’ve done a space unit with PreK the last two years.  The interesting part about this is that all four of the PreK teachers that have willingly agreed to go on this journey with me have not been trained in GI.  You would think this would be a setback, but these four ladies have been incredible.  They have trusted that because I believe in the process,  it will go well.  They were involved in planning the unit together, even though they hadn’t done Guided Inquiry before.  They are the experts on their kids and what is age-appropriate for them.  They are the ones that know exactly what their kids can do.  I just gave a quick description of the purpose of each phase, and off we went.  All four teachers have asked to do other units or asked “Why don’t we teach like this all the time?”.  One of my PreK teachers had to move to another state, and she has taken GI with her (and we still occasionally text and plan stuff together even though she is on her own for implementation).  PreK is the perfect place to do GI.  They aren’t bogged down by testing or grades yet.


Our district is very lucky to have a portable planetarium that fits nicely in the library.  I have borrowed it from the district to open this unit.  Students can go in the planetarium with their teachers and me and look at the stars.  We can talk about constellations and the reasons that people in the past used constellations.  They can make up their own constellations and tell stories.  This has been a huge hit with the kids.  Check around your community and see what is available.  Often people are more than willing to come in and share their passion with kids and then you have yet another adult on your GI team.


Often for Immerse with PreK and kindergarten I do centers in the library.  They are already accustomed to doing centers in their classroom and they can pick whatever is most interesting to them.  For this unit we did centers that focused on astronauts and space travel.  The units included:  iPads to watch videos of astronauts in space, astronaut snacks (dehydrated foods, squeeze pouches, etc), astronaut exploration box (see picture below), moon walk area, moon sand (okay, I know this isn’t a legit thing, but we needed another hands on activity and we talked about if surfaces are different on the moon), and pictures of the moon, stars, and space as taken from telescopes.  These students and teachers did an amazing job.

Image may contain: one or more peopleImage may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor


The good ol’ standby.  I use a KWL chart for younger grades almost every time.  I do the K and L between explore and identify.  This lets students hear and build off of what other students in their class are thinking.  Often if  a student is struggling to think of something that is interesting to them, hearing from other students will get them started.  I just take a big piece of bulletin board paper and have the teacher call on students while I write.  We do the K first (this is just a list of the things that the students already know…  it can be anything they find interesting).  I mostly write down everything the students say as close to word-for-word.  Then we move on to the L (this is just a list of things the kids still want to know…  on this part I try to flesh their questions out to be a little deeper).  Even though most PreK students can’t read, I write down what they say.  This models writing for them and lets them know that their ideas and questions are important enough to write down.


This is it.  My favorite phase.  PreK kids ask approximately one zillion questions a day.  That doesn’t change just because we are doing formal questions for GI.  I like to use an iPad APP by Duck, Duck, Moose called “Draw and Tell” to identify.  Students can draw a picture and then record their voices to go with it.  I have students draw one thing that they think is interesting in the drawing.  When they record their voices, I have them tell me one thing that is interesting to them and one thing they still wonder about.  Since four-year-olds are quite proficient in working with iPads, the classroom teacher and I can wander among the students and talk to each one about what he/she is thinking.  This last set of PreK kids that did this unit came up with some really interesting questions.   Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Do animals ever travel to space?
  • What happens if too many astronauts get in a rocket?
  • Why does Saturn have rings?
  • Why do astronauts eat hard and dry food?
  • How big is space?

Here is one of the Draw and Tells that a PreK friend did.  It is a picture of earth as seen from space.  His question “What I want to know about space…  how big is it?”


Hi, I’m Terri from Norman, OK

My name is Terri Curtis, and I am the teacher  librarian at Madison Elementary in Norman, OK.  Our school is located a couple of blocks from the University of Oklahoma.  Our school is a diverse school (especially for the middle of Oklahoma) with learners from many backgrounds…  languages, ethnicities, socio-economic levels.  We are a school that has quite a lot of behavioral issues and students coming to school with baggage.  We have lots of students enrolling and withdrawing all the time, something like 20% each semester.  It’s a lot of turnover.  It can make teaching them a challenge, but it means that we are constantly getting new perspectives thrown into the mix.

This is my third year as a teacher librarian, all of which have been at Madison.  I should probably mention that I love my school.  I love the kids.  I love the other educators.  My principal is super supportive of libraries and encourages me when I want to try something new.  My district is supportive of Guided Inquiry and best practices for libraries.  The librarian network in Norman is amazing.  There is always someone I can bounce ideas off of and get feedback.  As a school that is always welcoming new students, the educators in my building really work together to do what is best for kids (and sometimes just to make it through the day).   For the past 2 years, I have done at least one Guided Inquiry unit with each grade at my school (PreK-5th) and we are now circling back and many are ready for another unit to finish the year.

This week I would like to focus on Guided Inquiry with students who are not yet readers:  both younger students and older students who struggle.  I will be pulling parts from GI units that I have done this year with younger grades.  I’d also like to focus on planning and implementing guided inquiry with teams of people who have not been trained.

This is my second time to blog.  The first time I did I was a library assistant for a middle school in Norman.  I’ve learned a lot since then, but you can find my first post here.

I’m looking forward to reflecting and sharing.

–Terri Curtis, Madison Elementary, Norman, OK

Go For It!

To finish off my week I want to discuss the change I made in my instructional practice that I believe made these two units two of the most authentic Guided Inquiry Design units that I have been a part of.  For these units I implemented the use of the Question Focusing Technique (QFT) to assist students in generating authentic questions. The premise of QFT is that students will respond to a focus or prompt with a list of questions and stay within these guidelines in their groups: 1. Do not stop to discuss or judge the questions. 2. Write down every question as it is asked. 3. Ask as many questions as you can.  4. Change any statements into questions. Students then move on to identify questions as opened or closed. An open question being one that will require authentic research to determine an answer or solution. A closed question being one that can be answered with a simple yes, no or fact. As I reflected on the GID units I had been a part of at the end of the last year I easily realized that the Identify stage was one that I struggled with and as a result one that my students struggled with.  So, last summer I read the book Make Just One Change: Teach Students To Ask Their Own Questions by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana as my PPD. That would be Poolside Professional Development.  A 4th grade teacher and I tried this technique in the fall with a unit he was teaching on waves.  For me this was a difficult topic to work on because I do not know a lot about waves. This led to me not being able to fully develop a focus and being able to explain how students should develop questions.  The students did follow the four step QFT strategy well, but their questions weren’t any better that those I’d seen developed in the past. Skip forward to January and we used the technique again with the same class and they knew the process and the topic was one I was well acquainted with and the questions that were generated were so much better.

In fourth grade we used one session to generate questions.  Students worked in groups of 4-6 with the classroom teacher, myself and a teaching assistant monitoring.  Students were given 5-10 minutes to develop questions. We then moved on to identifying questions as open or closed.  The next time we met students selected questions they were interested in researching or modified one to fit their inquiry question.  The list of questions students generated can be found on the following Google Documents: Section 1 and Section 2. Section 1 had not participated in the QFT before.  Section 2 is the class who participated in the fall.

In second grade we again used one session to generate questions.  I introduced the process to the students and the teachers. Then the classroom teacher took half the class to one white board and scribed questions and I did the same.  Later we would switch to observe the each others questions before coming back together to discuss. These students generated so many authentic questions. To view the questions generated by one class of students in less than fifteen minutes you can follow this link to a Wakelet collection.

A note of caution to you all and myself.  The questions that students generate are the questions that they are interested in.  I often forget in assisting students in this process that they do not possess all of the background knowledge that I possess now or that I think I possessed at their age.  From these units forward, I am going to be certain to take time to honor their questions as they are asked. If a 2nd grader wants to know how many rooms the White House has? Go for it! In that search they will find out about the executive branch, freedom of the press, diplomacy and more.  If a 4th grader wants to know why people ride the subway? Go for it! In that search they’ll find out about population differences, congestion and things I can’t even think of. If a 2nd graders wants to ask why the Liberty Bell has a crack in it? Go for it! In that search they’ll find out why colonists fought for independence, why abolitionists spoke out against slavery and what liberty is.  Come to think of it, GID is a lot like how I’m reflecting on these questions and instructional practices. You just have to go for it! You will make mistakes. You will change things. Most important though, we have to continue going for it!


Tweet me if you have any questions or comments @StacyFord77!


Instructional Strategies

Hello again everyone!  As a reminder from Monday the units I am discussing were 2nd and 4th grade units.  The 2nd grade unit was tied into the social studies curriculum through researching national symbols and monuments.  The 4th grade unit also tied into the social studies curriculum through researching the Northeast region. Today I’m going to identify instructional strategies that I used in during the units that I believed made them better.

Wagon Wheel

In the Wagon Wheel discussion round there is an inner circle and an outer circle with the same number of people (adjust as needed if you have an odd number and make one group a triad each time the wheel rotates).  Members of the inner and outer circle will begin by facing each other. The instructor will then tell either the inner or outer circle to move a certain number of spaces to the left/right. When they stop they will have arrived at a new discussion partner.  You can alternate inner and outer movement to keep everyone active. Full credit goes to Leslie Maniotes for introducing me to this technique. Now that I’ve explained how to conduct a Wagon Wheel let me discuss how I used it for instruction.

With 4th grade I used the Wagon Wheel strategy as our grounding/anticipatory set the day after students identified their question in the Identify phase.  I split the class in half and instructed each group what part of the circle they would be. There was a little confusion, but everyone figured out where to go pretty quickly.  My first prompt was for each partner to tell the other what their inquiry question was and why they chose it. Then, I had students rotate five spots. My next prompt was to have students identify their inquiry question and why the chose it again, but this time the partner had to provide some feedback in the form of a question or clarification.  Students rotated once more and again identified their question and provided positive feedback on something they liked about the question. While these questions didn’t delve into deep academic thoughts they did allow students to think about their own questions more, which I believed developed a better awareness of what they truly wanted to know. In addition to this students were able to gain greater understanding about what other questions were being asked in the group and how they might relate to one another.  While I used this technique to open a class session it could also be used as a closing activity to discuss what was or was not working well.

Clock Appointments

To set up clock appointments have students take a small piece of scratch paper (post-it note size works well) and fold it in half.  On each half of the paper have students write 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00 (or whatever time works for you). Be sure and instruct them to leave enough room for someone to write their name after the time.  If I have 3:00 open and you have 3:00 open we will trade papers and write our names on each others papers. Then, our papers will be returned and we will make appointments with other students. Students will mill around making appointments until they have evert slot filled.  I tell students not to use the same person twice and usually let them set up times with me. After demonstrating how students will make appointments I let them set up their appointment slots. Be sure and tell them to keep their pieces of paper because they will need to know who to meet with.  After the appointments are set up we resume instructional/research time. As we progress through the session the instructor will ask students to meet with a specific time. Please note, you do not have to go in a certain order and can use the strategy as much or as little as you need. I rarely make it through all of the appointment times students have set up in a session.

With 4th grade I used this strategy during the second session of the Identify stage.  At this point students had identified a question, but I wanted them to be able to begin their research by having multiple access points to items they could begin researching.  Students wrote their questions on index cards and I modeled how to do a concept web of sorts on the card. From here, students developed ideas for answers they would need to find to their inquiry questions.  During this session I would pause at certain intervals and have students meet with a certain appointment time. These appointment times were used to discuss frustrations, offer advice, give positive feedback about something you liked and to talk out what students were thinking.  One thing that I want to note is that the classes I met with hat 27-29 students each. By using this strategy students were able to use work time in a more focused manner. I think this happened because they knew they would be meeting with someone soon to discuss something and because they were able to m-o-v-e, move.  


Learning Centers

2nd grade students participated in learning centers in the school library during their explore and gather phases.  During each of these phases there was an informational book station, a Pebble Go station and a Symbaloo station. The Symbaloo station required finding websites that were applicable to the topic. Students kept a inquiry log to identify the name of the book or article they looked at.  By working in centers 2nd grade students were able to focus their time in 10-20 minute intervals (I prefer students to have 15-20 minutes in each station). During the rotations they were able to explore many national symbols and monuments. When they were in the Gather phase their research, being much more directed meant that sometimes a specific center would not work for them if there was not information.  For many of the sessions there were three adults with one class because we had student interns. This allowed us to work more directly with students.



The thing I love the most about Guided Inquiry Design is the embeddedness of co-teaching.  However, co-teaching does not always come natural. I want my teachers to interject, clarify, delve deeper with me all the time that we are teaching.  I also want our students to get the most from each of us that they can. Sometimes you will be working with a teacher or a teacher-librarian that you have this type of natural rapport.  Most times though, I think we have to develop the trust to do this with one another. I want to identify how I did this with the 2nd grade team and I think you’ll see how it is a good fit.  During the centers activity I explicitly said or asked what group each of us would work with. By each of us taking a group we were working with 6-7 kids, instead of 20. This is co-teaching!  We were all being responsible for a smaller group of learning. During the Identify stage the classroom teacher and myself split the class in half and developed questions using the Question Focus Technique.  We were able to all stay in the library and use two whiteboards. While students generated questions the teacher and myself served as the scribe, and wrote down exactly what was asked. After students were finished asking questions the two groups switched places to review what the other group asked and then we met back together.  Again, by splitting the group we were able to narrow our focus with a smaller number of kids. That is co-teaching! By demonstrating to the classroom teacher (and vice-versa) that we were able to do the same things with very similar results we created a trusting instructional relationship. 

We all use great instructional strategies everyday, but I am 100% accurate in saying I don’t use all of the great instructional strategies I know every day.  What are your best instructional strategies?  My favorite one I’ve used this week in a non-GID activity was a quick write with third grade.  They wrote such good little stories on post-it notes guys!

Feel free to tweet me a question if you’ve got one and share an instructional @StacyFord77 be sure and use the tag #52GID if you do.


Hello from Norman, OK!

Hello from Norman, Oklahoma!  My name is Stacy Ford and I am the Teacher-Librarian at Reagan Elementary School in Norman.  I have posted before on the blog in 2016. Those blog posts can be found here, here and here.  I was first introduced to Guided Inquiry Design in 2014 by our district library coordinator, Kathryn Lewis.  Since that time I have attended multiple Guided Inquiry Institutes in my district. I have conducted Guided Inquiry Units with 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades over the past four years.

This week I will be blogging about the units I have conducted this year with teaching teams in 2nd and 4th grade at Reagan Elementary.  One thing to note is that this is my first year at Reagan and of the eight of us who were instructional partners in these units only three of us had been to a Guided Inquiry Institute.  Those people include myself, a 4th grade teacher and a 2nd grade teacher. I want to point this out, because all of the teachers involved were willing to dive in and learn to swim. By the end of the units every teacher involved was able to witness the value in designing instruction a way that allows students to develop authentic questions and find the answers to them.

The focus of my blog posts will be improved questioning techniques that I used with students in order to generate more authentic questions and the implementation of instructional strategies that made the units more successful.  Please feel free to follow me on twitter @StacyFord77 and ask any questions.



GID – Wrap it up with 3D Science and Phenomenon

I’m so thankful that Leslie shared her expertise on designing a guided inquiry lesson with our teacher group in DC this summer.  It changed my pedagogy and student engagement. I’m a veteran teacher, trained in 3D science by the best in the state, and a state teacher of the year finalist.  Yet, here I am, still learning and loving it!

What would I have done differently?  The students would have researched and read more informational text.  Other than that, I really loved this unit and how it turned out.

The final piece is wrapping up 3D Science, natural phenomenon, story lines, and guided inquiry into a stellar lesson. If you use NASA’s 5E lesson planning, it easily plugs into GID’s template for student driven learning.  Plugging in 3D Science is a natural process in GID as well.

The Science and Engineering Practices are “how” you “do” science:      https://ngss.nsta.org/practicesfull.aspxImage result for science and engineering practices


The Crosscutting Concepts are how students view, make sense, and apply natural phenomenon:   https://ngss.nsta.org/crosscuttingconceptsfull.aspx

Image result for crosscutting concepts

The Disciplinary Core Ideas are the science concepts that the students are making sense of.

In conclusion, SEP’s and CCC’s are a part of a student’s toolkit to dig deeply into the phenomenon that they are making sense of, and are easily incorporated into the guided inquiry process.

Thank you for letting me share this week what I’ve learned about guided inquiry design and how it was implemented this year.

Lisa Pitts, 5th grade Science and STEM Teacher, Edmond, OK

Guided Inquiry Design Integrated with 3D Science and Phenomenon – our fifth grade lesson

This summer I returned from NASM’s Teacher Innovator Institute excited to implement guided inquiry design with phenomenon explored in our classroom.  At the same time, I wanted to delve deeper into tying it all together with storylines.  https://www.nextgenscience.org

What fifth grader doesn’t love animals and the great outdoors?  We started the year with Matter Moving through Ecosystems (NGSS 5-PS-3, 5-LS2-1).

OPEN-  (Storyline) I shared with my class the story of finding a raccoon on the side of the road on my drive to Oakdale and showed this picture:






IMMERSE-  We discussed times they have found “roadkill” and what would that look like in four days, four months, four years.  As scientists, we observe, record, and question. I asked them how they could observe the raccoon to answer this question.  In teams, they came up with all kinds of solutions, and we came to a consensus to use time-lapse video.

(Phenomenon)– We found a video of a decomposing badger that was roughly the same size.  The class watched the video (a few times) while recording observations and questions.  We came back as a large group  and shared observations and questions:  Why did the birds come, why did the badger seem to heave, why were bones and fur left?  They were surprised by how quickly decomposition occurred.  https://youtu.be/E93rNE5F-LE   We came to a consensus for our driving questions.

EXPLORE–  First, all of the classes wanted to know what the birds were eating and why the badger seemed to heave and flatten so quickly.  They created a hypothesis and explored their theories.  We came together as a large group and discussed their findings.  Then they watched watched a video of maggots eating steak. (The best day to watch this is when your school is serving rice for lunch.)  https://youtu.be/1OMTywqUPvg 

This spring-boarded topics of conservation of matter, life cycle of a fly, uses of food for organisms, movement of energy and matter through food webs, and decomposers.  How do plants and water organisms decompose? Does matter decompose in space? 10 year-olds have lots of questions when given an opportunity and time to think.







IDENTIFY-  Students divided into teams based on similar questions, and I provided resources for their experiments and research.

GATHER-  Students explored matter decomposing in different types of soil, plants decomposing, worms as decomposers, decomposing bones (this group had to find out what happened to the bones and fur from the badger).














CREATE–  Students used their research, observations, and hypotheses to create an experiment to model decomposition in action.

SHARE–  Sharing is always our favorite part.  Fifth graders love to share in front of their classmates!  Teams made posters to explain their decomposition project and model the process, along with displaying their physical project.









EVALUATE-   We had some surprises, such as, the fruit never decomposed in a sealed jar, which encouraged students to find out why.  We had gnats get into some containers.  The soil was a little richer with tubs containing worms.  The worms did die quickly and disintegrated.  Oh my goodness, their projects carried over to their homes or vacations.  Parents sent me pictures of their child finding fungi or looking under rotten logs.  My students still bring me leaves with fungi roots.

The beauty of Guided Inquiry Design IS the organized framework for your students to OWN their learning, think more deeply, and collaborate with classmates.  Friday will be a reflection of students incorporated Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts while gather information to answer their questions.


Stem Teaching Tools: http://stemteachingtools.org/

Phenomenon:  https://paul-anderson-xw6e.squarespace.com/

Phenomenon:  https://ngssphenomenon.com/

NGSS Storylines:  http://www.nextgenstorylines.org/resources/example-storylines-ngss-topic

Lisa Pitts, Fifth Grade Science and STEM educator, Edmond, Oklahoma




My Hyper-Handy HyperDoc Inquiry Journals

Happy Friday, friends! It’s Kelsey Barker back again to wrap up our week discussing the HyperDoc inquiry journals I made with my friend and colleague Paige Littlefield.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I knew HyperDocs would be the perfect solution to keep students (and teachers!) organized through a cross-curricular GID unit last spring. I asked Paige to come over to my school and work with me to develop the doc, and I’m really proud of what we came up with:

The table of contents

The first page of the inquiry journal features of a Table of Contents. Each day links directly to the corresponding day in the HyperDoc. No matter if students are working on Open or Evaluate, they can easily navigate their journals no matter how long the document ends up being.

The second section of the inquiry journal features a Resources section, where students can easily find several resources they will use throughout the unit.

Resources Page


Below the resources in the Open section. After some trial and error, Paige and I decided it was most efficient to connect the Language Arts and Social Studies activities each day. We built in instructions for every day’s activities right into the journal so that written instructions were right in front of the students as they worked through the process.

Each phase is tabbed on the left side, which helps with navigation as well. And just to be extra type-A, we color coded each phase in the journal to match the GID phase posters I have in my library:


The GID Reflection Wall in my library


Thanks to the flexibility of the HyperDoc format, we built inquiry logs, quick write, pair-shares, and exit tickets right into the journal. This made it easy to provide students with the structures they need to be successful while keeping it seamless and easy to navigate.


Each day’s activity for each class features starter, work time, and reflection components, based on the session plan from the GID institute.



Our school uses Google Classroom, so once this inquiry journal was completed, it was assigned to students through their Language Arts class and then shared with their Social Studies teacher so that everyone could access their work.

The final inquiry journal, before students wrote in it, is around 20 pages in length. When I saw that, I knew that we had made the right choice in choosing HyperDocs for inquiry journals. Especially with multiple courses and teachers involved, HyperDocs gave students a common structure that helped them stay organized no matter if they were in Social Studies or Language Arts. Students who were absent were easily able to see what they missed by accessing their inquiry journals from home, and students couldn’t lose their journals or leave them at home accidentally. Most importantly, digital journals allowed the entire learning team the ability to check in on a student’s progress at any point during the process, leave feedback, and generally keep tabs on how students were working through the unit.

Since this unit, I have used a similar style of HyperDoc inquiry journals with other GID units, including the 6th grade unit we are currently working on. They are easy to customize for each unit, and I appreciate their functionality for all kinds of students. Right now I have to say I’m especially grateful for the “Revision History” feature in Google Docs… that has come in handy as my 6th graders accidentally delete their work!

This summer, Paige and I presented at another local conference about our joint HyperDoc endeavor, and I can tell you I’m not the only GID practitioner in our district who is excited about using HyperDoc Inquiry Journals. Between new technology, professional development, and the brain trust of my educator friends, I love to constantly grow and improve my practice… and I hope our story might be useful to growing in your own practice as well!

Thanks for following along this week. I’m sure I’ll be back to talk GID with you again soon!

Kelsey Barker