This selection is a poignant story about an elder lady, Miss Maggie, who lives alone in a cabin. The main character is a boy, Ned, who decides to help her with daily chores but is scared of her. There is a symbolic reference to a rumored snake that lives in her cabin, representing the evil real or imagined that Ned thinks of Ms. Maggie's character. This is a lesson of first impressions any how Ned forms a different opinion than his previous about Ms. Maggie after a climax in the plot of the story. As you can see, this is a story full of suspense and mystery that captivates students and draws them into the story. The underlying theme of compassion prevailing despite the presence of fear and evil is important for students to uncover on their own. In order to find this central theme, students must think deeply, creatively, and critically. There are different perspectives from each character, just as there will be different views from students that will deepen understanding when shared.
We focus on the portion of the Shared Inquiry Flipchart that explains interpretive questions. Then we discuss the note taking process for both the first and second reading. I distribute sitcky notes for this purpose. The sticky notes differ in color to indicate one color for the first reading and another color for the second reading.
We discuss examples and non-examples of interpretive questions to clarify and address students' misconceptions prior to writing notes. Students often have difficulty asking questions that are higher order. So, I introduce Bloom's Question Stems that students may use as starting points. The question stems are to promote higher order synthesis and evaluation questions from Bloom's Taxonomy. I will distribute these question stems later in this lesson when students develop their own interpretive questions. Asking higher order questions using the Bloom's question stems leads to complex questions that probe students to delve deeper into the text and lead to more profound levels of comprehension.
During the first reading, I read aloud as students write their reactions on the post it notes and stick them on the pages that elicit their reactions. I ask students to use symbols and phrases or words on their Post-It Notes following the guidelines:
+ something important
? something confusing
! something you feel strongly about
Reading aloud helps students to actively listen so their focus is on the story and their reactions. They follow along with their books so that they can stick the notes to the appropriate pages.
Students read together in pairs for the second reading. They also discuss how they can develop interpretive questions from their second reading. We use a Pair-Share Rubric to guide this part of the lesson. Students know what to expect when given a rubric that explicitly rates their behaviors for collaboration with a partner.
Students use their second sticky notes to post interpretive questions on the portion of text that correlates. Students often require some assistance starting their questions. So, I distribute the Bloom's Question Stems that were introduced in the beginning of this lesson. Sometimes I will model an example using the question stems as guides. Once students see me model how it is done, they are ready to create questions of their own. They listen and give feedback to their partners, following the Pair Share Rubric as guidelines for effective partnership and collaboration..
Sharing out is valuable because we share the product of our collaborative work. It also reveals what students want to know most about this story. Sharing is a great opportunity to students to teach their peers what they know and also learn from others about areas they want to know about. Collaboratively, students learn to problem solve creatively and brainstorm ideas together.
Students also share about how they contribute to their partners. Their partners give them feedback on the strengths and weak areas of their partnerships. Ideas are generated that will improve performance for the next lesson.
We select the interpretive question for our next lesson.