The Monster Who Grew Small, retold by Joan Grant, is an Egyptian folktale. Fear is personified throughout this story as Mobi, the boy known for being the most fearful in this village, experiences adventures in courage. Students continually inference, predict, and analyze the character's motives to gain a deeper understanding of the story.
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 the answers require text based evidence. Students do not need background information or personal experiences to answer interpretive questions because it can be attained from the text.
We also discuss that it is important to read for different purposes. For this lesson, we will have a first and second reading. When we read for different purposes, we peel the layers of the story and find its hidden meaning. I review the instructions for first and second readings that is on the flip chart after discussing the purpose of each.
The 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.
To even the playing field so that student reading levels do not distract from comprehension, I chose to read aloud to my students for the first reading. As I read aloud, I instruct students to write Post-It Notes 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. I also tell them that there are hidden meanings in this story that require 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 the story together with their partner. They will 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. Effective collaboration is revealed in students' Second Reading discussions.
At the end of this lesson, students share their interpretive questions with the class. We analyze these questions and select one for Day 2 of this lesson. Day 2 will focus on the shared inquiry discussion session using the selected interpretive question to guide the discussion. 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. The question students choose is:"Why did Miobi look in the cave if he were scared?"
Students complete the partner rubric and partners give feed back to each other. Students constructively communicate their performance as well as their partners, using the rubric to indicate strengths and weaknesses in specific performance.