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School Staff Interview Lesson Plan

Subjects: Arts & Humanities: Language Arts, Visual Arts; Educational Technology
Grades: K-2, 3-5, 6-8

Brief Description


Students interview members of the school staff, then introduce those staff members to the school community by displaying the interviews and accompanying photographs on a classroom bulletin board.

Objectives

Students

  • learn what makes a good/thoughtful interview question.
  • conduct a "professional" interview of a member of the school staff.
  • prioritize, organize, and record information for posting on a school bulletin board.

Keywords

interview, question, writing, photograph, bulletin board, J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter

Materials Needed

 

  • camera (optional)
  • computer with word processing and Internet capabilities (optional)

Lesson Plan

 

Be sure to enlist the cooperation and support of the school staff before beginning this activity. If possible, include the principal, secretary, teachers, lunchroom and custodial staff, and others in your invitation. Each student will create questions to ask a different member of the staff. The end result will be a bulletin board that will be very popular with the entire school community!

Tell students that they are going to interview members of the school staff and share what they learn with the entire school community. (Younger students might interview a family member, friend, or neighbor instead.)

  • Explain to students that the questions they ask during an interview largely determine what they learn about the people they interview. Discuss with students what makes a good question and what kinds of questions might elicit interesting answers.
  • Call on individual students and ask such questions as How old are you? What is your favorite color? Where do you live? Who is your teacher? Ask students what they learned about their classmates from the answers to those questions. Then ask individual students such questions as How do you tackle a difficult problem? What is your greatest strength as a student? Where do you go when you're feeling sad? Who is your favorite author? Ask all the students what they learned about their classmates from the answers to the second group of questions. Discuss which group of questions elicited the most interesting information.
  • Ask students to read one or more of the following interviews with J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. Discuss with students which of the interview questions they found most interesting and why they thought those questions elicited the best answers.
  • Invite students to explore Tips for Interviewers from the Regional Oral History Office at the University of California (Berkeley). Although the tips relate to oral histories, many are general enough to apply to this project as well.
  • Explain to students that they will work individually or in small groups to develop a list of thoughtful interview questions. Provide each student or group of students with a work sheet containing six squares, labeled Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Have students write an interesting question beginning with each of the six words on the work sheet. Invite students to share their results with their classmates. These questions, along with such basic biographical questions as Where were your born? How many years have you worked at this school? and so on, will provide a pool of questions students can use to conduct their interviews.
  • Have each student or group of students select a staff member and schedule the interview. If possible, have students record or videotape their interviews so staff members do not need to wait while young students write responses. Encourage students to take a photograph of their interview subject or to arrange to have their photo taken with the interview subject.
  • Ask students to neatly write the interview or type it using a word processing program in a question-and-answer format.
  • Post the interviews and photographs to a bulletin board in the entryway of the school.

Assessment

Ask students to share their interviews with their classmates. Have students evaluate each interview based on both the quality of the questions and the quality of the edited transcript. Explain to students they should score each interview using the following scale:

  • 4 -- excellent work
  • 3 -- very good work
  • 2 -- good work
  • 1 -- could be better

Calculate each student's grade by averaging the peer scores.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

VISUAL ARTS

LANGUAGE ARTS

TECHNOLOGY

 

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Originally published 01/11/2002
Last updated 05/25/2009