Lesson Plan

What Do You Think About....?

Students learn to craft open-ended questions and conduct on-camera interviews.
Susan M.
Blended Learning Coach
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
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Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Look analytically at literature to dig deeper into text. 
  • Craft open and closed questions for conducting interviews.
  • Frame on-camera interviews, including proper head room. 

This particular lesson focuses on students interviewing students about what they think about a book they have just read as a class or in a small group or even independent reading (i.e. Cam Jansen, Magic Tree House). However, it is readily adaptable to any content or subject. This lesson requires a camera and editing software. This is also best taught in smaller groups as part of blended learning rotation. 

Subjects
English Language Arts
Grades 1 - 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook With Exemplar

Show students examples of on-camera interviews (both good and bad), explaining that they will have the opportunity to be both an interviewer and an interviewee. They will be interviewing each other on books they have just read. Analyze the interviews, prompting students to consider the following:

  • What types of questions did the interviewer ask? 
  • What did we see on camera? 
  • How did the interviewee answer? 

As a class, collect characteristics of a good interview. 

Note: The interviews could be flipped, having students watching them before coming together to analyze.

 

2 Teach: Crafting Questions

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Teach using Google Presentation or another type of online presentation. 

A good interviewer uses two different kinds of questions: open and closed. Closed-ended questions typically elicit a yes or no answer or a fact. Open-ended questions invite the interviewee to share their thinking. 

Examples of closed-ended questions:

  • "Did you like the book?" 
  • "What was the name of the main character?" 
     

Examples of open-ended questions:

  • "What was your favorite part of the story?" 
  • "Who was your favorite character and why?" 
  • "If you could change one thing about the book, what would it be and why?"

Closed-ended questions are useful for gathering facts or clarifying information. Closed-ended questions can also help get the interview going and help put the interviewee at ease. It may help to start with a few questions like, "What is your name? What book did you read?" 

Open-ended questions, on the other hand, allow the interviewees to share opinions and ideas. Teach examples of sentence stems:

  • "What did you like...."
  • "Why did the character..."
  • "What was the most...."

Have students draft at least three questions using paper/pencil. These questions should focus on something they have read together. Have students check their questions with other students for feedback as well as have students run their questions by you. 

3 Teach and Practice: Interviewing

Activity: Other — Practicing

Pull students back together and model how to conduct an interview. Show them how to set up camera and frame the interview and demonstrate how to ask questions to the interviewee. 

Points to teach: 

  • Pre-interview by giving your subject the questions ahead of time. 
  • Give your subject time to think about how they want to answer. Don’t be afraid of uncomfortable silences and pauses.
  • Look into your subjects' eyes when asking questions.
  • Listen carefully as your subject answers the questions. Sometimes answers could lead to more questions. 
  • Conduct the interview as a conversation. Listen to your subject's responses. One question may lead into another. 
     

Practice First: Have students practice with a partner, moving around helping/facilitating the process. If it is helpful, have them practice with different partners. 

4 Conducting Interviews

Activity: Creating

When students are ready (questions checked and they have practiced conducting an interview), have them find a quiet spot and conduct the interview, each interviewing the other. 

  • If students are using an iPad, have them use their camera.
  • If students are using a Chromebook, have them use their webcam. 

5 Reflecting

For the first time conducting interviews, have students share their interviews with each other, pointing out areas of strengths and areas for improvement for next time. Have students specifically note open/closed questions, response time, and interesting responses. 

Reflect together on the process:

  • How could they use this in other subjects?
  • What are ways to improve the process?

Consider using SeeSaw as a portfolio platform and have them post their interviews to SeeSaw.