The story Catalog Cats/ Our Garden is one of five excerpts from the book: The Stories that Julian Tells, by Ann Cameron. This realistic fiction is a great choice for shared inquiry because of its richness in language describing the interaction and dialogue among characters. Also, its main character is an excellent story teller. Although there is nothing very realistic about his stories, Julian is persuasive enough to make his younger brother, Huey, believe him. This leads to trouble that his father finds creative ways to resolve.
We discuss the goal for today's lesson as we view the Shared Inquiry Flipchart. Students focus on the portion of the flip chart that describes the process of the first and second reading and note-taking. This ultimately leads to their formation of interpretive questions derived from the story. We discuss the purpose of this activity, which is to deepen our understanding of the story. Common core wants us to delve deeper into the story and gain insight through multiple perspectives. These insights may end up changing our own perspectives in the end.
I read aloud the story for the first reading. Students can focus on their note taking because reading aloud to them promotes active listening and less worry about decoding text. I ask students to take notes on Post-Its and attach on the page that prompts the following reactions:
+ anything important
? anything confusing
! anything they fee strongly about
Using post-it notes is effective because students are using a tactile method to drive the point that the evidence is in the text. Their reaction is from specific part of the text that they attach the sticky notes to. This helps students remember that interpretive questions rely on the text.
During the second reading, students are paired with a collaborative partner. Students work together to gain another person's perspective and to validate their own thoughts. I pair students according to personalities that work well together. It is important that teachers know their students and occasionally pair students that work the most productively together. This process is more of an art to teaching than a science. Sometimes, I choose to pair students randomly because I feel that students need to work well together regardless of who they are paired with. This teaches students patience, persistence, and perseverance. These are interpersonal skills students need in the real world. Common core expectations apply to real world settings.
Using a Pair-Share Rubric students work together in pairs to create interpretive questions from their second reading. Various strategies are applied. Some students prefer to discuss their first reactions and focus on the confusing parts of text. They convert those into questions. Others discuss their reactions to the first reading and select the questions from their first sticky note taking. The ultimate goal is to create an interpretive question that can guide our shared inquiry discussion effectively.Student Discussions focus on creating interpretive questions.
Students discuss their performance during the second reading and the strategies they used with their partners to derive an interpretive questions. Each partner shares the interpretive questions they came up with. If there are many questions, I limit each partner to two questions to share. We analyze the questions shared and decide on the interpretive question that best leads the shared inquiry discussion.