ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.
Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.
Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
Introducing Each Other: Interviews, Memoirs, Photos, and Internet Research
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Unit|
|Estimated Time||Sixteen 45-minute sessions|
- learn to conduct an interview using appropriate techniques and available technology.
- maintain a clear focus in writing an interview article.
- write a personal memoir.
- revise and edit for publication.
- use the Internet for research.
- learn the difference between primary and secondary sources for research.
- plan and carefully take a photograph of an interview subject.
- complete a project integrating writing, photography, research, and graphic design.
- present the results of the project to a class group.
- Introduce the unit and explain the scope of the project. Show sample(s) and answer questions.
- Explain/demonstrate the difference between primary and secondary sources and the importance of interviewing as a research tool.
- Guest speaker (or prepared presentation) talks about how to prepare for an interview, writing initial and follow-up questions, and using interview notes to write an article.
- Students ask follow-up questions as necessary.
- Discuss the interview presentation and list ways that it can be applied to our interview assignment. Provide Interview handout.
- Using the questionnaire that the teacher has filled out, plan some initial and follow-up questions.
- Practice interviewing the teacher. (It is best not to “help” here; if a student asks a dead-end question, answer only what was asked. Then you can discuss ways to plan better questions.)
- Review interview basics and demonstrate use of tape recorders.
- Assign pairs for the project. Exchange Introduce Yourself! packets. Each student should read his/her partner’s packet carefully and write at least five interview questions and at least one follow-up for each question. These questions must be completed for homework.
Begin interviews. For homework each student should write the focus of his/her article, using either a headline or a lead sentence. For more information on teaching leads see Leading to Great Places in the Middles School Classroom. In addition, each student should make a list of follow-up questions that still need to be answered.
- Distribute and discuss the Interview Article Scoring Key. Announce the due date (in about one week).
- Discuss the elements of a good photograph: location, lighting, distance, angle; clothing, props, expression, tone.
- In pairs, students should complete follow-up interviews and begin the Interview Project Photograph Plan sheet.
- Students should begin to write their articles for homework. You may want to provide workshop time for working on the articles at this point.
- Discuss essential elements of memoirs and read several samples in class.
- Complete the photo plan.
- Read more memoir samples in class and discuss them.
- Begin the Memoir Planning Sheet. Students must complete this exercise for homework.
- Students whose photo plan has been approved and who have their materials may leave in pairs to take their photos. (This will continue for several days, depending on how many cameras you have available.)
- Distribute and discuss the Memoir Assignment Scoring Key. Announce the due date (in about one week).
- If necessary or desired, practice descriptive writing. For example, ask students to “show” you a messy room or a bratty toddler.
- Workshop time for the memoir and photos.
Workshop day. Students should work on articles, memoirs, or photos.
- Discuss the Internet search. Suggest helpful sites (or ask your librarian to do so).
- Distribute and discuss the Interview Project Scoring Key.
- Students should make a list of at least eight items that they plan to search for on the Internet. This list should be completed for homework.
- Workshop time.
Workshop time to revise articles, complete memoirs, and take photos.
Internet search. Schedule at least one full period for this computer work; two classes would be better, but availability of computers may be a problem. Many students will continue their searches at home.
(This may be several days later, depending on when you are able to finish reading all the memoirs)
- Workshop time to revise memoirs. Set a due date for revised memoirs.
- Revised articles should be turned in by this time.
- Establish a final due date for the completed project, allowing yourself enough time to read all the revised papers and students enough time to create and decorate the poster or make the slide show once all papers are returned.
- If desired, demonstrate the ReadWriteThink Printing Press, and show students how to use options in the tool to publish their posters.
Each student will present his/her partner to the class by explaining the completed project. Posters can then be displayed in homerooms or hallways, and finally students take home to their families the poster (or slide show on CD) created by their partners.
- The interview article, memoir, and the final project are formally scored according to a rubric which has been distributed and discussed in advance.
- The oral presentation is scored using a short rubric.
- Intermediate planning sheets and progress reports are given homework or class work points.
- At the end of the unit, a general discussion is held to find out what students see as strengths and weaknesses of the unit.