At a Classroom Discussions institute I attended last week at Boston University (more to come on that later), one of the ideas that stuck with me most was “The Interview Grid.” The presenters learned about it in the book, Common Core Standards in diverse classrooms: Essential practices for developing academic language and disciplinary literacy, and it’s a great way to initiate classroom conversations.
The teacher poses a question to the class. The question should elicit varying responses… Compare/contrast, Explain why, Choose the best model, Convince me type questions, etc. Give students about 2-3 minutes to write an answer and then have them interview classmates. The students should listen to their classmates’ thoughts (each interview should be about 3 minutes total), and paraphrase the response onto their own paper. After speaking with a couple interviewees, students are given a chance to expand, adapt, edit their original response (2-3 more minutes). Total time = 10-12 minutes
The interview grid gives students the opportunity to externalize their own thinking, listen to others, deepen their own reasoning, and helps students work with the ideas of others. It also provides students with the chance to practice three of the domains for learning language: speaking, listening, and writing (a plus for all our students but especially our English Language Learners!). Another idea I had is to turn the document into a Google Form so that students can type their responses and submit to teacher electronically. Can’t wait to try this activity out!