The Princess and the Beggar is a Korean folktale, with feminist overtones. It is unusual to see this theme presented in a folktale, which makes the story more interesting both for me to teach and for the students to read. The story is about the spiritual growth of a weepy, rebellious princess into a liberated, independent beggar woman. Students use the close reading technique and peer collaboration to interpret the motives behind the characters' actions and derive the central message 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 it requires text based evidence. Students do not need background information or personal experiences to answer interpretive questions because the answers can be attained from the text. However, I sometimes like to give some cultural background through cross curricular instruction such as researching the Korean traditions as a social studies activity. I don't tend to spend too much time on background though - we want to spend most of our time diving into the rich text!
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.
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.
Because of the complexity of this text, 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 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 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. Second Reading discussions reveal how effective their collaboration and discussions are in developing interpretive questions.
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 the princess always cry ?"
Students complete the partner rubric and partners give feedback to each other. Students constructively communicate their performance as well as their partners, using the rubric to indicate strengths and weaknesses in specific performance.