Shared Inquiry begins with an interpretive question. We select a question from those that students generated on their sticky notes on Day 1. For this activity, we chose " Why did the mole and the mushroom man become friends ?"
We focus on the section of the Shared Inquiry Flip Chart that lists the rules of shared inquiry discussions. Students discuss the reasons those rules are in place during this session. Students gain an understanding that the rules are followed to facilitate the discussion, respect differing opinions of peers, constructively respond to the statement of peers using text supports, and take turns talking. Common core instruction involves not only the critical analysis of text, but also effective discourse and discussion to gain meaning of text from others.
Interpretive questions have more than one answer. The frequency of the question that students ask during the note taking process indicates that students have a natural curiosity about this particular topic. That curiosity leads students to back to the text to find answers. I select the question that arises most frequently because it naturally motivates students to search for text evidence that supports their perspective.
Prior to the shared inquiry discussion, I present a Shared Inquiry Discussion Rubric to hold each participant accountable for their performance. Each participant will fill out this rubric at the conclusion of this activity.
Students begin the shared inquiry discussion with the introduction of the interpretive questions: "Why did the mushroom man and the mole become friends ?" As students sit in a circle on the floor with their books, they begin to take turns answering the question and building on the statement of their peers before them. Students will start their statement with "I agree" or "I disagree" and supply reasons and text evidence to support their statements. The Shared Inquiry Discussion continues as students take turns persuading others to believe their statements and going back to the story for reference.
I guide participants to derive their own opinions by not answering questions or imparting my opinion. I urge students to reach their own conclusions by asking them deep, reflective, and inspiring questions. Also, I remind students of the norms and rules that we discussed to support respect for opposing perspectives while communicating complex ideas. Students gain experience analyzing ideas critically.
Students discuss their performance using the Shared Inquiry rubric as a guideline. Their conduct is evaluated with regards to how students respect the learning process, show patience with different opinions, ask for clarification as needed, and addressing all participants objectively. Speaking and reasoning skills discussed include making connections between ideas, citing evidence from text, and responding logically to others' viewpoints. Listening skills assessed include avoiding distractions and pointing out faulty logic respectfully and constructively. Last, students should be thoroughly familiar with the text and prepared for the discussion. Self-Assessment requires qualitative analysis and detailed look-fors that will enable students to focus on target skills to improve their performance.