Want to build positive and effective connections in your classroom community? Try this technique with your students during the first days of school.
Leave room in column 1 for students to record the names of classmates they interview. Design the remaining columns to hold notes from those interviews based on a few specific features.
Before students start their interviews, share a word bank with them that will help them to articulate their ideas with more precise language. Talk briefly about how these words might be used to respond to the prompts. FEED UP the lesson by sharing the rubric at the start of the learning episode if you want to give students FEEDBACK on how well they used precise language in their responses.
Ask students to consider how they would respond to each prompt by filling in Row #1 first with their own name and ideas.
Set up your classroom using an Inner/Outer Circle. This places half of the students in the inner circle and half in the outer circle.
Once students are facing a partner, tell them which side (the inner or outer circle) will ask the questions first. The interviewer should take brief notes based on the interviewee’s responses. The interviewee should try to use precise language (such as the words in the Word Bank) when responding.
When they are done, the interviewee becomes the interviewer.
On your cue, instruct the inner (or outer) circle to rotate one or two times to the right. This gives each student a new classmate to interview. Continue the process for one or two more interviews.
At the end, assign each student one student to introduce to the class. For example, you could ask all students to focus on Student # 3 on their list. They can write their introductions and share them verbally using a rubric similar to the one on the handout to assess how well they used precise language. (Remember to share the rubric at the start of the learning episode to FEED UP your instruction.)
Set up an amazing back-to-school display by taking a picture of each partnership and posting it next to their revised and edited introductions.