Interview with History

Talk about conducting interviews. Explain how an interview is just a conversation with active listening. Guide students through the following steps and write interview questions, using the template below, Interview Guideline.

Prepare: Choose someone to interview – A relative, friend, neighbor, veteran, retired teacher or principal, member of a senior citizens group, a person in your community. Pick someone whose story you’d like to discover. Maybe it’s your own mother!

Plan: Write questions. For starters, first use questions about your interview subject’s own personal memories. These will relax your subject and help you gather information about your subject’s personal experiences.

Interview: Meet with your subject. Be on time. Bring along your questions. Record the interview (computer, smartphone, tablet), but be sure your subject agrees to it. If your subject tells a different story then your question, let him/her finish and then ask your next question.

Follow-Up: Be sure to send a thank-you letter to your interview subject.

Interview Guideline
Write three warm-up questions about the person’s place of birth, hometown, occupation, childhood, or favorite activities.
1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________
Write at least six questions to help you get stories
1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________
4. ________________________________________________________________________
5. ________________________________________________________________________
6. ________________________________________________________________________

Prepare some follow-up questions. These questions should help you to get more detailed information from your interviews.
1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________
4. ________________________________________________________________________

Sample questions to get you started…
• What are some of your childhood memories? What games did you play when you were a child?
• How are holidays traditionally celebrated in your family? What holidays are the most important?
• What was the happiest (funniest or saddest) memory?
• What was your biggest accomplishment?
• What actions would you change if you had a chance to re-live those years again?

Ask for details or explanations…
• How did the story begin or end?
• Why did this happen…?
• Why was this important?
• What happened next…?
• Can you describe the scene…?
• Who was there with you?

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