We selected one of our Interpretive Questions that we created from our second reading to guide the Shared Inquiry process. For this activity, we chose: "Why did the wood cutter say 'It is all the fault of Adam ?'"
Before we begin discussing, 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. In my classroom, Common Core instruction involves not only the critical analysis of text, but also effective discourse and discussion to gain meaning of text from others.
Prior to the shared inquiry discussion, I present a rubric to hold each participant accountable for their performance. Each participant will fill out this rubric at the conclusion of this activity.
On the previous lesson, students voted on the question they wanted to use for the Shared Inquiry discussion. I decided to give ownership to students in deciding the interpretive question because interest leads to a natural curiosity about the text. This debate no only builds on student conversations, but also requires students to search for text supports to strengthen their argument.
Students begin the shared inquiry discussion with the introduction of the interpretive question: "Why did the wood cutter say 'It is all the fault of Adam ?'" 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 discussion continues as students take turns persuading others to believe their statements and going back to the story for reference.
Following the rules of shared inquiry, 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. I try to keep the conversation going by following up on student conversations and asking for more elaboration and explanation of their statements.