Shared Inquiry begins with an interpretive question. We select a question from those that students generated on their sticky notes on Day 1. 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.For this activity, we chose "Why was the man sent to the mountains without clothes ?"
We review 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.
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.
Students begin the shared inquiry discussion with the introduction of the interpretive questions: "Why was the man sent to the mountain without his clothes ?" Students sit in a circle on the floor with their books. They 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 support their claim with evidence from the text. Students continue taking turns supporting their claims using persuasive techniques 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. This rubric is used as a self-assessment by evaluating conduct during shared inquiry discussions focusing on 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. This activity is a great measure of progress for formative assessments.