At this point, everyone should have chosen a person and topic for their interview. For more information on the interview, please see this lesson.
I circulate to check in their topic choices and make sure they would make adequate feature articles. Since I chose to interview my mom about something very personal, many students have made similar choices. However, some are more upbeat. I've discovered some pretty amazing things about people who are related to the students in my class. I've heard about inventors, tragic illnesses, near death experiences, people who have overcome great odds. The reason I like this assignment so much is because, often, parents and relatives haven't had the opportunity to sit down with their children and tell them their important stories. This carves out a time and makes it mandatory. Parents love this assignment.
Here are the Interview Sample Questions & Guidelines.
There are kids who sometimes struggle with finding a subject. For these kids I offer up our assistant principals, other teachers, even myself. There are countless adults in the building who are willing and able to help.
While I circulate, students silently read their magazines.
Today, I utilize the four corners of the room for a healthy debate. See this lesson to find out how I structure my debates using my entire classroom.
Today's debate topic: Which do you prefer? Magazines or novels.
Before we begin the debate, I pass out the Entrance Ticket: Novels vs. Magazines. Kids silently complete the writing, while I write a statement on the board like:
Reading a magazine is more enjoyable than reading a novel.
I have kids go to their corners and then we begin the debate.
Here is some footage from both sides:
When we finish our debate, we return to our entrance ticket to go over the debate as a whole. Ultimately, we decide that both can be great depending on our mood. Here is Student Sample, Entrance Ticket: Novels vs. Magazines that effectively sums up that thinking.
For the rest of the period, kids split back into their partner's from the previous day's lesson.
They'll finish reading their articles, if they weren't able to complete them from the day before. Then they'll work on Partner Work: Using our Feature to Answer Questions.
Together, they'll answer the questions and turn in separate copies of their work.
I love question four in Partner Work: Using our Feature to Answer Questions, because it focuses on interviewing. Since kids are in the process of conducting interviews outside of class, this questions asks them to think critically and infer about a behind the scenes interview that probably had to in order for that author to write the article. It asks them reading articles in a different way... who did this writer have to reach out to interview for this article?