Getting Ready for Interviews
My turn yet?
To reassure the students that all students are included and will have a turn, I give all the kids an index card (3×5). I had each student write their own name on the card. Each student placed the card in a box. This way all the kids KNOW their name is in the box so they don’t drive me crazy, “IS MY NAME IN THERE???”
Markers – I labeled a marker box “Interview Markers.” I took out the yellow marker out of the box because the kids could not see the yellow on the chart paper and I don’t want the kids to choose this one. I write their chart with the marker color they pick.
Chart Paper – I post a piece of chart paper and have a box of markers by the chart paper.
Where to sit? How to sit?
I had all the kids sit on the floor in front of the teachers share on the sharing rug (called the living room or the sharing place or the community area… where ever your kids can sit and gather and learn without spending lots of time finding a place to sit together… Anyway, they come and join me on the rug. I have them sit so their knees and nose face me. Then I draw a card out and say that name. The child chooses a marker color from the box and hands me the marker. The child then sits in my teacher chair.
The Interview – the discussion
The kids on the floor raise their hands. The child who is being interviewed chooses kids to ask questions. The kids sitting on the floor ask whatever they want to. I prefer not to use contrived questions. I prefer to have my students actually have a discussion. The child answers the questions as in depth as they like. Some kids are chatty so the interview lasts 8-10 minutes. Some aren’t so the interview lasts 3-5 minutes. I try to stay out of the way of the discussion and let the kids interact without the teacher interfering.
Problems that sometimes occur
I provide guidance whenever necessary though. Kids get stuck on specific questions. Maybe they work, maybe they worked on the first eight interviews and now you are sick of the question! “What is your favorite ice-cream?” or “How many grandparents do you have?”, I lead the children to think about what else can we ask. You are the teacher! Repeat after me, “I am the teacher.” Remember the purpose of this activity is building sight words. If they ALWAYS ask the same questions, they will only have a very limited amount of words. If before interview 17, you are sick of “Do you like pizza?” Tell the kids we are NOT asking this question anymore. Then if the kids ask the question, the teacher reminds the kids that this question is off limits. It is not about this child, it is about building more opportunities for reading more words during interviews.
Say Something for the Modeling of the Writing for the Interview
After the lull of conversation, I then tell the interviewed child to choose four people to SAY SOMETHING about the child. I have the boy-girl-boy-girl or girl-boy-girl-boy rule so that all the boys pay attention when the girls are interviewed and vice versa. If a boy is interviewed, then the first person who “Says Something” is a girl. The next person who says something is a boy. The next person who says something is a boy. The next person who says something is a girl. The teacher needs to say to the interviewed child, “Is this true about you?” I added this because sometimes you are writing the third or fourth sentence and have to start over because the kid who said something just MADE it up!!! If yes, “This is true about me”, then the teacher writes the sentence on the chart paper modeling how to write the words. The teacher uses interactive writing techniques as the opportunities arise. If we have had that word before, the teacher encourages the kids to tell me…
Then we continue until there are FOUR sentences written on the chart paper. You can have as many sentences as you want, just remember that you will do these interviews with EVERY child and MUST be FAIR so only do 120 sentences if you are truly insane!!!!!! ha-ha-ha!!!!!!! I found that 4 sentences fit on ONE sheet of chart paper easily so that is why I choose 4. I wanted to write large enough that the kids can easily see it BUT also so that it fits on one piece of paper.
So now the interview is written. There are four sentences (or however many you want) written.
Hand the interviewed child the marker and have him/her track the print as the class reads the sentences.
I usually have the students read the chart twice.
Then we re-read the other charts with ME tracking the print until we have 5 charts up.
Then I change this procedure and have the kids read the charts in the room for about 5-8 minutes.
I keep all the charts up all over the room until the last interview. If you don’t have room for all the interview charts, leave five charts up at a time. If I was looking at the wall on day five, I would see chart one, chart two, chart three, chart four, chart five. On day six, send home chart one, and replace with chart 6. If I was looking at the wall on day six, I would see chart 6, chart 2, chart 3, chart 4, chart 5. On day seven, send home chart two, and replace with chart 7. On day I would see chart 6, chart 7, chart 3, chart 4, chart 5. On day eight, send home chart three, and replace with chart 8. On day eight I would see chart 6, chart 7, chart 8, chart 4, chart 5.
After the class activity:
-Type up the interviews and send home nightly as homework. Parents and kids alike will love this!
-Make interviews into book so the kids could read all the charts. If you type them on half sheets of paper, and run for all your students eventually all your students become fluent readers of your interviews.
Filed under: high-frequency words, interviews, working with words | Tagged: Debra Renner Smith, high-frequency words, interviews, Popcorn Words, writing, Writing Workshop | 1 Comment »