Learn All Year Long
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Explore Summers Past and Present
Learning to ask questions, listen carefully to the answers, and write down the information is important because it will help children and teens with the kinds of research and writing projects they will be assigned in middle and high school. This interviewing activity is also a fun way to practice making comparisons. Asking children to think and write about both their own memories and those of other people can help them become more thoughtful readers and writers.
- Computer with Internet access and printer
- Tell Me About Your Summer questions
- Paper and pencil
- Personal photos and newspaper clippings
- Large piece of poster board, double-sided tape or glue, and art supplies
Before beginning this activity, invite the child you are working with to read or watch some interviews. It’s My Life: Celebs has some interviews with entertainers who are popular with middle school children. Reading Rockets provides video interviews with top children’s book authors and illustrators.
Interviewing About Summer Memories
|1.||Show the child the Tell Me About Your Summer questions and talk about how you would like to compare your summer memories. Decide which summer the child wants to talk about (for example, this summer? last summer? the summer when he or she was 6 years old?). Decide if there are specific topics you would like to compare, such as food, clothing styles, music, or entertainment.
|2.||Ask the questions and write the child’s responses on a blank sheet of paper. Ask follow-up questions for more details as necessary. You want to show the child how to gather information from someone and how to listen well.
|3.||Switch sides and have the child ask you the questions for the summer you were the same age and write down your responses.
|4.||Take a blank piece of paper, fold it in half, and write Same at the top of one column and Different at the top of the other. Look over both sets of responses and write the things that are the same on one side and the things that are different on the other.
|5.||Talk about the lists you just created. What is surprising? What did you learn about each other? Is there anything that you would still like to know?
Making a Poster (This part of the activity can take place over several days.)
|6.||Collect personal photos, newspaper articles, images you get online, or drawings you make that show the things you each talked about in your interview.
Work together to design a poster with the heading Summers Past and Present. You and the child can decide how to organize the poster, for example:
Write captions for the pictures that explain what they show.
|8.||When you are finished, throw a Summers Past and Present party. Play music from both time periods, watch a couple of movies, and sample each other’s favorite summer treats.|
Researching a topic or question can take many different forms, from year-long studies resulting in publication to a quick search of available resources on the Internet. For these activities, we refer to research in the informal sense, using readily available resources (Internet, magazines, books, interviews, etc.) to answer questions.