The Fire On the Mountain, an Ethiopian folktale, is a story about determination in the quest for victory. In order to gain insight of the underlying message of this story, students need to discuss and delve deeply into the text with their peers. I believe that collaborative efforts to infer, predict, and analyze text yield better results because students are challenged, yet they have supports from their peers as well as their teacher. Working with peers to support one another is another way to scaffold instruction.
As I present the Shared Inquiry Flip Chart, I focus on three types of questions that students need to understand: factual, interpretive, and evaluative. Once we review the definitions and examples, students learn that shared inquiry uses interpretive questions to guide its discussions because it requires text based evidence.
For this lesson, we will have a first and second reading. Multiple readings expose the deeper meaning and central message of a story. I review the instructions for first and second readings that is on the flip chart after discussing the purpose of each.
e flip chart focuses on interpretive questions because they initiate thought provoking shared inquiry discussions. I also review the purpose for the fist and second reading to students. Multiple readings expose the deeper meaning and central message of a story. I review the instructions for first and second readings that is on the flip chart after discussing the purpose of each.
I chose to read aloud to my students for the first reading. Reading aloud gives all students an even playing field. Students are not distracted by unknown words that can effect their fluency and prosody. Students can focus on comprehending the story. As I read aloud, I instruct students to write sticky notes and post them on the page using symbols and phrases as follows:
+ anything important
? anything confusing
! anything that you feel strongly about
Students are informed to listen attentively because they will be sharing their notes at the end of this reading. Their notes also allow discussion and clarification of anything confusing such as vocabulary, colloquialism, and anything confusing or illogical. I also tell them that there are hidden meanings in this story that requires them to become story detectives and find clues. Therefore, students are held accountable for note taking and writing their reactions to text and sticking their post its on that section of text that inspired these reactions.
I partner students who are compatible together for the second reading. Students read to their partners. Then, they convert their notes from the first reading into interpretive questions during their second reading. Students also use a Think Pair Share Rubric to make sure they are contributing wholeheartedly to their partners. The rubric gives ownership to the students because they are made accountable to their partners. Also, the rubric gives not just a numeric score, but descriptive details on the quality of a responsible partner.
Students share out their ideas for interpretive questions. Each student selects their favorite interpretive question and posts them on a chart. We group similar ones together. The interpretive question that appear most frequently is the one selected. If there is a tie, the teacher makes an executive decision.
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.