Writing Interview Questions | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M3A:U3:L1

Writing Interview Questions

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized. (W.6.2)
  • I can recognize, interpret, and make connections in narratives, poetry, and drama, ethically and artistically to other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, eras, personal events, and situations. (RL.6.11)
  • I can conduct short research projects to answer a question. (W.6.7)
  • I can use several sources in my research. (W.6.7)
  • I can refocus or refine my question when appropriate. (W.6.7)

Supporting Targets

  • I can interpret an excerpt of a poem and make connections between it and other texts I have read.
  • I can write interview questions that will provide me with the information I need in my newspaper article.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Exit Ticket: Interview Questions

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

A. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

B. Connecting the Ideas in Texts: Introducing a Poem (17 minutes)

2.  Work Time

A. Analyzing Eyewitness Accounts in the Model Newspaper Article (10 minutes)

B. Writing Interview Questions (10 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

A. Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

4.  Homework

A. Read your independent reading book.

  • In this lesson, students work in triads to write interview questions for a hypothetical eyewitness of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Students will be using these questions to guide them in finding the information they need from first-person accounts in the next few lessons. Ensure students understand that journalists interview real people, but as the earthquake and fire happened more than 100 years ago, most of the people who experienced it are no longer alive, so this isn't an option. (In fact, students may be interested to know that there only one two survivors left, one of whom is 112 years old).
  • Students will be using the questions they record on their exit tickets in the next lesson, so ensure you either collect them or have students store them for reference in the next lesson.
  • To address RL.6.11, at the beginning of the lesson students read a stanza of a poem written by an eyewitness of the earthquake and discuss how it is connected to the other texts they have read about the earthquake so far. Only one stanza has been chosen because this poem is complex and detailed analysis would take more time than is available. This stanza has also been chosen because of the connections to other texts the students have read and will read in the next few lessons.
  • In preparation for Lesson 2, organize Research Folders (see Supporting Materials of Lesson 2). Each triad needs a research folder and there should be enough of each article in the research folder for one per student. There should also be a glossary for each article, one per team.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

aesthetically pleasing; despoiled, toiled

Materials

  • Stanza 9 of "Poem of the Earthquake" (one per student and one for display)
  • Stanza 9 Close Reading Guide (for teacher reference)
  • Word-catcher (distributed in Units 1 and 2; students may need a new one)
  • Excerpts of "Comprehending the Calamity" (from Unit 2)
  • Dragonwings (book; distributed to students in Unit 1)
  • Connecting Texts anchor chart (new; teacher created; see supporting materials)
  • Connecting Texts anchor chart (answers, for teacher reference)
  • Performance Task Prompt for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire (from Unit 2, Lesson 1)
  • Model newspaper article: "Sandy wreaks havoc across Northeast; at least 11 dead" (from Unit 2, Lesson 12)
  • Model newspaper article eyewitness accounts (for teacher reference)
  • Scrap paper (one piece per student)
  • Exit Ticket: Interview Questions (one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Unpacking Learning Targets (3 minutes)

    • Invite students to read the learning targets with you:

*   "I can interpret an excerpt of a poem and make connections between it and other texts I have read."

*   "I can write interview questions that will provide me with the information I need in my newspaper article."

    • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*   "What do you think you will be doing in this lesson? Why?"

    • Select volunteers to share their ideas. Listen for them to explain that they are going to be reading a poem and then writing interview questions, because journalists often prepare questions for eyewitnesses before they interview them.
  • Learning targets are a research-based strategy that helps all students, especially challenged learners.
  • Posting learning targets allows students to reference them throughout the lesson to check their understanding. The learning targets also provide a reminder to students and teachers about the intended learning behind a given lesson or activity.

B. Connecting the Ideas in Texts: Introducing a Poem (17 minutes)

    • Tell students that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire was such a big disaster that many people wrote eyewitness accounts about it, like Emma Burke; it featured in novels like Dragonwings; and people also wrote poems and plays about it.
    • Display and distribute Stanza 9 of "Poem of the Earthquake." Tell students this is an excerpt of a long poem written by a woman who was an eyewitness of the earthquake.
    • Read the poem and invite students to follow along silently in their heads.
    • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*   "What is this stanza about? How do you know?"

    • Select volunteers to share their ideas. Listen for them to explain that the stanza is about how the earthquake and fire destroyed people's homes and their belongings, as well as killed people.
    • Use the Stanza 9 Close Reading Guide (for teacher reference) to guide students through the stanza in order to better understand the poem.
    • Invite students to record unfamiliar words on their Word-catcher.
    • Ask students to refer to their excerpts of "Comprehending the Calamity" from Unit 2 and Chapter 9 of the novel Dragonwings to discuss in triads:

*   "How are these texts connected? How do the experiences of Eliza Pittsinger compare to Emma Burke's and Moon Shadow's? What is similar about their experiences of the immediate aftermath earthquake?"

    • Select volunteers to share their responses. Record students' ideas on the Connecting Texts anchor chart. Refer to the Connecting Texts anchor chart (answers, for teacher reference) for the kind of responses to guide students toward.

 

  • Consider grouping ELL students who speak the same first language to enable them to have a deeper discussion about the poem.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Analyzing Eyewitness Accounts in the Model Newspaper Article (10 minutes)

    • Invite students to reread the Performance Task Prompt for the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Focus on the bullet that says the newspaper article must contain different perspectives: eyewitness accounts. Ask students to discuss in triads:

*   "What are eyewitness accounts? Why are they important in newspaper articles?"

    • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that eyewitness accounts are quotes from people who actually saw and experienced the event. So their newspaper articles must contain quotes from people who actually saw and experienced the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
    • Display the model newspaper article: "Sandy wreaks havoc across Northeast; at least 11 dead." Ask students to reread it to remind themselves of what it is about.
    • Tell students they are going to work in triads to underline the eyewitness accounts in a different color from the one they used to underline the factual information in the previous lesson.
    • Model this on the displayed newspaper article. Ask students:

*   "Where are the eyewitness accounts?"

    • Select one volunteer to share his or her responses. In a different color from the one used in the previous lesson, underline the eyewitness account suggested by the student on the displayed model newspaper article. Use the model newspaper article eyewitness accounts (for teacher reference) as a guide.
    • Invite students to work in triads doing the same thing with the rest of the article, marking up their own copies.
    • Circulate to support triads. Ask guiding questions:

*   "Is this an eyewitness account? How do you know?"

    • Refocus the whole group. Cold call students to share with the class the eyewitness accounts they underlined. Underline appropriate responses on the displayed article. Refer to the model newspaper article eyewitness accounts (for teacher reference) to guide students toward what should be underlined.
    • Ask students to look over all of the eyewitness accounts and discuss in triads:

*   "Why have these eyewitness accounts been included? What is their purpose in the article?"

*   "How much of the article is eyewitness accounts?"

*   "Are all of the eyewitness accounts from the same person? Why not?"

    • Select volunteers to share their responses with the whole group. Listen for students to explain that the eyewitness accounts have been included to give readers an emotional connection to the disaster and make them want to read on. Also listen for students to explain that there are only a few eyewitness accounts in the article and they are from different people--which provides different perspectives of the event.
    • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*   "What can you learn from this for planning your newspaper articles about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire?"

    • Cold call students to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that their newspaper articles must include eyewitness accounts of the disaster from a few different people in order to give readers an emotional connection to the disaster and compel them to read more of the article.
  • Modeling what students are going to do helps to ensure that all students understand what is expected of them during independent work time.
  • If students have been grouped homogeneously, focus your attention on those triads who need additional support reading the text.

B. Writing Interview Questions (10 minutes)

    • Ask students:

*   "How do you think journalists get the quotes they need for their newspaper articles?"

    • Select volunteers to share their answers. Listen for students to explain that the journalists interview eyewitnesses.
    • Explain to students that in order to interview eyewitnesses, journalists first need to write questions that will help them find out the information they need to know.
    • Tell students that in this lesson they are going to write interview questions to ask eyewitnesses of the San Francisco earthquake and fire. It is important to make it clear here that students will not be interviewing real survivors of the earthquake, as almost all of those people are no longer alive; instead they will be using the questions they write to guide them as they read first-person accounts over the next few lessons.
    • Ask students to discuss in triads:

*   "What makes a good interview question for eyewitness?"

    • Select volunteers to share their responses. Listen for students to explain that interview questions are:

-   Precise: They get the eyewitness to tell you exactly what you need to know.

-   Open rather than closed: Closed questions require only yes or no answers, which do not gain much information and they "put words into the mouth" of the eyewitness.

-   Draw out emotions: They encourage the eyewitness to describe how the experience made him/her feel. This will be compelling for readers.

    • Record these on the board for students to refer to throughout the rest of the lesson.
    • Remind students of the prompt question:

*   "How did the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire affect the people of San Francisco?"

    • Ask students to think about this question:

*   "Imagine you could talk to a survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake--what would you ask that person to help you answer the prompt question? Refer to the criteria you developed for an effective interview question."

    • Invite students to work together in triads to write three interview questions that fulfill the criteria on the board on scrap paper.
    • Circulate to support those students who may need assistance recording their ideas.

 

  • Asking students to help you generate criteria can ensure they have a firm understanding of what is expected of their work.
  • Some students may benefit from saying their questions aloud to you before recording them.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to record the three questions their triad wrote on Exit Ticket: Interview Questions for reference in the next lesson.
  • Exit tickets are a good way to assess student learning in the lesson.

Homework

Homework
  • Read your independent reading book.

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