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You Probably Didn't Know That

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There are lots of things students (and staff members) probably do not know about members of your school's staff.

Do you think you know the people who comprise your school's staff? You might not know them as well as you think! With that thought in mind, students might have fun learning things about teachers and other members of your school's team that you might not even know.

Assign each student to interview a member of the school staff. Before you let them go, though, you will want to brainstorm some questions that are likely to elicit interesting responses from staff members.

DIRECTIONS

To introduce the project, you will want to create a flip card. Gather

  • two cards 4 x 6 inches in size; index cards are good, but sturdy and brightly colored construction paper is good too
  • see-through tape (such as Scotch brand tape)
  • a photo of yourself
  • a marker
    Align the cards. Tape the two cards together along the top edge to create a "tent card." (When you flip up the top card, the contents of the second card will be revealed.) Tape the photo of yourself on the underneath card, and on the top of the card use your marker to write interesting facts about yourself that your students are not likely to know. For example, your card might say:
    You probably didn't know that
    I was born in Hawaii. I was married on my birthday. I once ate fried worms. My dream vacation is to travel to Antarctica.
    Who am I?
    Share the information on the card with your students and let them guess who the "mystery person" is. They might guess the names of celebrities or people in the news or other people they know but will one of your students guess that the mystery person is you?

    After sharing those unique facts about yourself, ask students if they think they know other members of the school staff very well? Ask Do you think all the adults in our school might be able to share some interesting facts about themselves that most others might not know?

    With that introduction behind you, challenge students to brainstorm questions that might elicit interesting information from other members of the school's staff. Encourage students to come up with questions that require teachers to think and reflect; yes-and-no questions will not result in much useful or interesting information. The class might create a handful of questions. Then, if you like, you can use the think-pair-share strategy to get kids thinking about additional questions.

    To use the think-pair-share strategy
  • First, arrange students into pairs to discuss and list possible questions to ask.
  • Then merge two pairs of students together to create groups of four students. Have them discuss and add to the ideas they generated in pairs.
  • Next, merge two groups of four students to form groups of eight students. Have students create a new combined list of ideas.
  • Finally, bring all students together to share the questions they have brainstormed.
  • The question list that results might include questions such as
  • If you could travel anywhere at all, where would you go?
  • What might others not know about your family?
  • When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What is your favorite book of all time?
  • What is the most unusual thing you have ever eaten?
  • Who is the most famous person you have ever seen or met?
  • Have you ever won an award or trophy? What did you do to earn it?
  • Do you have a hobby or interest others might not know about?

    Finally, since you will have informed staff members about the nature of this project and obtained their permission to include them, students might ask one additional question:

    Is there any other interesting fact you could share about yourself that others might not know?
    By asking that question, students are giving staff members an opportunity to share a unique piece of trivia or two that might not have been revealed by the questions asked; and it will make the students' end result more interesting. Perhaps the staff members will share such information as...
  • I once won $1,000 in the state lottery.
  • I am allergic to ice cream.
  • I have a pet boa constrictor.
  • I was born in Morocco.
  • I have five computers at home.
  • As a child, I lived in seven different states.
  • I am a distant relative of Thomas Edison.

    You will want to limit the number of question to 10 or 15 easy-to-answer questions. Students might select their own favorites from the list of questions the class brainstorms.

    When students have pulled together their list of questions, they will need to make an appointment with the staff member they have been assigned to interview. They must show up at the appointed time with their questions and a camera (so they can take a picture of the person they interview for the inside of the tent cards). If your school technology program doesn't have digital cameras students can use you might purchase a couple of disposable cameras for this purpose.

    When students return from their interviews, their next step will be to draft "copy" for the cover of their "You Probably Didn't Know That" card. Emphasize that they will want to include the information others will find most interesting or unique. Once they have drafted and edited the text of their cards, they are set to prepare their tent cards. You might integrate technology by having students use a word processing program to type the cards; students can select a font, then type the cards so the information will be easy for others to read.

    Post completed cards on a hallway bulletin board under the heading "You Probably Didn't Know That"

    You might even number the cards and create a school-wide staff contest. If you do that, you will want to post just the top card during the contest period. Which staff member gets the most correct answers? After the winner is announced, students can create their tent cards so everybody can learn interesting trivia about the people they see in school every day.

    MORE RESOURCES FROM EDUCATION WORLD

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    Copyright © 2008 Education World

    08/01/2008



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