Gamifying the Special Person Interview

My fourth-graders can be a wiggly bunch. And I am not always good at varying routines. The Special Person (aka Star of the Day) Interview is sacred in my mind: I get to pay a lot of attention to one student, comparing that one to others, with the main goal being to create community. In a school where kids have been together for years, I often ask the class for the answers to the questions, rather than asking the interviewee first. Then I verify with that student. For a change, we do pair interviews, sharing later what we learned about our partners, or work in concentric circles. It’s harder to create the class books in those cases, but eventually every student will have a longer interview.

This time, I knew that the interview was going to go on for several days with one student who is leaving and whom we had not interviewed earlier. I want him to have a book to take with him, and we would need to spend a lot of time to get all the information. So I handed out mini white boards, and asked the class to write the answer to each question as I asked it. I asked them to hold up their white boards with the answers, saying, “Alex says that Ethan was born in Alaska. Is that true, Ethan? Were you born in Alaska?” If Ethan says “Yes,” I follow up with “Ethan says, ‘I was born in Alaska.’ Who else in the class was born in Alaska?” If not, I move to a different board. We get a lot of reps out of this, and every time the students have the right answer on their board, they get a point. Next, “Does Ethan have siblings? If so, what are their names?” They got points for the right answer, the number of siblings, and the names.

When class was over, they were begging to stay in for recess to continue the game. Points for the teacher! We’ll see how much mileage I can get out of this new plan.

2 responses to “Gamifying the Special Person Interview

  1. Как просто и как гениально!

    Michele,

    I found you! I am so happy you are still blogging!! And this is an excellent idea, thank you!!

    Svetlana

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so sweet! On our second day, after one student burst out with a long, perfect sentence about his friend, I said that oral answers in full sentences (whether correct or not) got an extra point. This turns out to be a perfect game as we head for pre-vacation madness. One student didn’t want to play the game, so she sat close and whispered the right answers, getting lots of high fives from me. Another wanted to write everything out on the board. They’re such individuals, and I love finding out what makes them happy in class.

      Liked by 1 person

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