Recently at Woodside Elementary we’ve been nailing down what specific skills we want the Design Program to bring to our students. We narrowed it down to about five skills and created a one hour workshop for each one that classes can sign up for as they like. Below is one of the first “Skill Builder” lessons that we did and it walks students through prepping for, conducting and reviewing notes from an interview.

Design Skills & ELA

ATTENTION TEACHERS! Here is a new one hour lesson that combines the design research skill of interviewing with a 3rd grade CCSS ELA standard. For UX Designers out there this is essentially an activity where students conduct interviews and write a user story that illustrates what they found out in the interview.

[2-5 min] The lesson begins by asking the class what they think the purpose of an interview is. After hearing a few responses ask them to watch the video and determine whether or not Kid President reaches his interview goals in it.

[2-3 min] After the video put your class in to pairs and have a brief discussion with your class about whether or not Kid President got the information he needed. Explain to your class that they are about to get some interview practice by interviewing each other about a secret topic.

[5 min] Now you can pass around the hat with the secret topics (print and cut these out beforehand) so that everyone picks one. Once they have their topics you can give some instruction around the writing questions. They will need to write four questions that they will ask their partner about the secret topic (here is a worksheet for their questions and notes). Here’s the catch though- the questions have to start with Who, What, When, Where, Why or How. They also cannot use any of those words twice so no two questions can start with the same word. Why is this? Without this guideline the students might ask a lot of yes or no questions when what we really need is for them to ask open ended questions that will give them a lot of detail.

[5-10 min] Following the writing of questions the partners will take turns interviewing each other and taking notes.

[2-3 min] After the students have interviewed each other you can take a moment to read a few descriptive example sentences. For example “It was a wet and foggy day but that didn’t stop Misty from throwing on her rain gear and racing out the door.”

[5-10 min] Give the students quiet time to write; making sure to circle around and offer help to those that need it.

[10-20 min] Sit in a circle on the rug and have students share their stories.

[5 min] Close with a quick discussion on what new things they learning about each other.

What about the assessment piece? I’ll leave it to you to determine what you’d like to assess about their writing. For the design skills assessment I suggest reviewing their interview questions and their narrative to see if they used specific details from their notes in their story.