Day 16 (Wednesday, September 26)
Connection to Course Goals
We are adding collaboration and research skills to the close and critical reading skills we have already established. Today, individual students negotiate adding their voices to a group conversation on a question-at-issue. These activities move students toward the goal of entering academic discourse.
Connection to Students’ Own Writing
During today’s class groups will generate/collect material that they can use when they write their explanations.
To minimize confusion, put the list of groups and inquiry questions on an overhead transparency. Direct each group to a particular part of the classroom, and give students an opportunity to introduce themselves.
Have students write about their initial opinions about their group’s inquiry question. A WTL will ensure that every student gets to voice his or her ideas. This is important for establishing group dynamics. Put these or similar questions on the overhead:
- If you had to answer your group’s inquiry question now, how would you answer it? Why?
- What keywords would you use to research your inquiry question?
- What other questions might your group need to find answers to in order to answer your inquiry question?
Ask groups to share their initial opinions through the following interview activity (if you have large groups (4 or more students), consider cutting down on the number of questions):
Goals: Your aim here is to learn about your own and your group members’ frames of reference regarding your topic.
Take turns interviewing each other. You may ask any of the following questions and any others that you think of. Take notes as you talk so that you can refer to these initial thoughts as your group drafts an explanation at the end of this project.
- What interests you about this question?
- How much do you know about this subject?
- How do you answer your group’s inquiry question right now?
- Where do you think your views on this subject come from?
- Where did you grow up? When did you grow up? How might this background affect how you think about your subject?
- What do your family and friends think about this subject? Do their opinions influence you at all?
- How do you identify yourself politically? How do your political leanings affect how you view your subject?
- What sorts of values do you hold that might influence your opinions on this subject?
- What else about you might influence what you think?
Just doing this activity will help students get to know each other and assess their starting point. Students should hold onto the notes they take during these interviews so they can do the homework for Friday and so they can incorporate them into the explanation’s introduction.
Wrap up class as usual, making sure each student has chosen another student to write about for homework. Each student should be written about once.
Type up a summary of one of your group member’s inquiry interview. Read back over the notes you took during the interview, and recall the discussion you had so that you can write a fair and accurate summary of your group member’s interests in the subject, their opinions, and frame of reference.
Bring this summary to class next time.