Shared Inquiry begins with an interpretive question. We select a question from those that students generated on their sticky notes on Day 1. 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 drives motivation. And motivation increases participation. For this activity, we chose "Why did Miobi look in the cave if he were scared?"
The Shared Inquiry Flip Chart lists the rules of shared inquiry discussions. Students discuss the reasons those rules are in place during this section. 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.
A performance rubric was presented prior to our discussion in order to communicate expectations, norms, and 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 question: "Why did Miobi look in the cave if he were scared?" 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 Session 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.
Students discuss their performance using the Shared Inquiry rubric as a guideline. They evaluate their own conduct 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. The Self-Assessment Rubric requires students to focus on target skills in order to improve future performance.