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Literacy-Building

Interview Activities
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

for E
 nglish
Language
Learners
Instant Student-to-Student
Interviews That Develop
Skills in Listening, Speaking,
Reading, and Writing—and
Engage the Whole Class

by Katherine Maitland
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
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Editor: Joan Novelli


Cover design by Maria Lilja
Interior design by Holly Grundon
Interior art by Maxie Chambliss, Paige Billin-Frye,
Shelley Dieterichs, and James Graham Hale

ISBN-13: 978-0-545-06613-6
ISBN-10: 0-545-06613-1

Text copyright © 2009 by Katherine Maitland


Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Scholastic Inc.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the U.S.A.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 40 15 14 13 12 11 10 09
Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Abilities
Who Are English Language Learners? . . . . . . . . . 4 Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42–44
Why Use Interviews? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45–47
Teaching With This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Can You . . .?
Building Vocabulary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 I Can, You Can, We Can
Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 At Home, Outside, At School
Scaffolding Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Connections to Goals and Standards . . . . . . . . 14
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Final Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Favorites


Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48–50
Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51–53
Unit Topics What’s Your Favorite?
Favorite Story
Classmates and Friends Treats
Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17–19
Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20–22 Having Fun
Do You Want to . . .? Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54–57
My School Friend Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58–61
Getting to Know You Having Fun
What Do You Do to Have Fun?
Birthdays and Months Which Do You Like the Most?
Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23–25 Hobbies
Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26–29
All About Me Routines and Schedules
How Old Are You? Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62–64
Happy Birthday! Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65–67
Birthday Months Do You . . .?
After School
School Activities What Did You Do . . .?
Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30–31
Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32–34 Using Numbers and Numerals
What Do You See? Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68–70
Do You Enjoy . . .? Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71–72
Class Subjects What’s Your Estimate?
How Many Hours?
Foods
Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35–37 Family
Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38–41 Lesson Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73–75
Do You Like . . .? Student Pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76–79
What Do You Like Best? Family Album
Pizza Toppings Family Story
Hot Lunch Survey My Friend’s Family
Helping Your Family

Resources and References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80


In our schools, children who are learning English as
a second language need lots of opportunities to engage with their
environment, including working with peers, teachers, content material,
and technology, to develop robust language skills. In doing so, children
share their unique qualities with the school community and develop

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
academically and socially. The materials in this book, including interviews and related activities,
are designed to provide opportunities for English language learners (ELLs) to engage with their
environment, and to acquire skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing English.

Who Are English Language Learners?


E nglish language learners are students who come from backgrounds where a
language other than English is spoken. Government reports and statistics use
the term LEP, or limited English proficiency, to denote that the students’ language
status impacts their school performance.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the decade ending with the
2005–06 school year, the nation’s LEP population stood at about 5,070,000. This
represents a 57 percent increase in that decade. In contrast, the total U.S. school
population (preK–12) increased about 3.7 percent in the same period (NCELA, 2007).
English language learners arrive in school with varying experiences in their
native language and in English. For example, some children may be non-English
speakers but they may have a strong academic background in their native
language. Or, they may have very little formal educational experience. In fact, a
1993 study found that “38 percent of LEP students in the average school have very
limited literacy (reading and writing) skills in their native language compared to a
native speaker of the same age” (Fleischman & Hopstock, 1993, p. 2).
Other students may speak conversational English but lack the skills and
strategies needed to succeed academically. Often, children who have developed
some degree of conversational English are exited from support programs and
placed in mainstream classrooms before they have developed sufficient academic
language skills.
The disparity between children’s linguistic capabilities in social settings
compared with their capabilities in academic settings often results in children
being asked to handle a larger linguistic load than they are ready to carry, thus
falling behind in the “regular” classes in which they’ve been placed (Samway &
McKeon, 1999).

Understanding Language Proficiency
Although views of language proficiency and language learning differ among
scholars, researchers provide several helpful ways to look at these aspects of
language. One view holds that a second language is learned when the participant
receives and interacts with “comprehensible input” (Krashen, 1985). This is
language that is just a little beyond the learner’s level. There is enough there to
support comprehension, but it also stretches the learner.
Cummins (1984) describes two types of language proficiency: one that is used
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

for everyday, conversational interactions, and the complex academic language


found in school settings. Conversational communication is supported through
the situation and all the signals participants give or receive through face-to-face
interactions. It also does not generally engage participants in using demanding
cognitive functions. An example of this is language used during a game of tag on
the playground or a friendly chat with the neighbor.
On the other hand, reading a social studies textbook or taking a standardized
test involves abstract, complex language that requires a greater use of higher
cognitive skills. Studies show that it takes four to eight years for most age groups
of English language learners to develop academic language proficiency, while basic
conversational skills can be acquired within one to two years (Collier, 1987).

Why Use Interviews?


A recent review of research studies on second-language learners found
that “...having well-developed oral language proficiency in English is
associated with well-developed reading comprehension skills in English” (Geva,
Name:

My School Friend
Directions 1.
2.
Interview a classmate.
Write your friend’s answers
Date:

on the blanks.

Interview Questions
Name :

1. What is your full name?

2006, p. 135). Based on such research, the interviews and activities in this book Getting
(first
and last) Date:

2. How old are you?


to Know You
Directions
3. Where were you born? 1. Read the interv
iew questions.

serve as a catalyst for language development in the following ways. 4. Do you speak another
language
2. Write your
3. Then, interv
at home?
own answer
to each quest
iew a classm
ion.
ate. Write your
Resources

classmate’s
I will inter view answers.
What is it?
Maitland Scholastic Teaching

] Interviews offer a meaningful context for interactions, especially if they


.
5. What is your favorite food? Inter view Ques
tions
6. What is a food you 1.don’t
What is some
thing
Learners © 2009 by Katherine

like? that you do


My answer: well?

are linked to a topic that is being studied within the classroom. They are 7. What do you enjoy in school?
My classmate

8. What do you enjoy2.at What


home?
’s answer:
Activities for English Language

is difficult for
you?
My answer:

conducted with a purpose and an audience in mind and generally have a 9. Do you play a sport?
My classmate
’s answWhich one?
Resources

er:
10. What do you want to be
Teaching

3. Whatwhen
Literacy-Building Interview

you grow up?


woul d you like to
learn to do?

narrowed focus. In discussing linguistic aspects of language acquisition,


Maitland Scholastic

My answer:
My classmate
’s answer:
by Katherine

4. What is one
wish you have?

Brown (1987) states: “Contextualized, appropriate, meaningful


21
My answer:
Learners © 2009

My classmate
’s answer:
English Language

5. What are
three word

communication in the second language seems to be the best possible


s that descr
My answer: ibe you?
Activities for

My classmate
’s answer:
Interview

22
Literacy-Building

practice the second language learner could engage in” (p. 56).
] Interviews are interactive tasks that require the integrated use of four
essential skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Hudelson
(1984) writes that “the processes of writing, reading, speaking, and
listening in a second language are interrelated and interdependent . . . .
Second language learners demonstrate that they are dealing with and
making sense of language as a totality rather than dealing with the
language processes as separate entities” (p. 234).

teaching ] Interviews can be adapted to several levels of
difficulty, from beginning English to intermediate

Tip and beyond. Most beginners need a structured


activity that narrows or limits the amount of
language required for successful interaction.
The teaching
Intermediates, on the other hand, can be
materials in this
challenged with more open-ended kinds of
book emphasize the
questions that elicit unpredictable answers. The interview pages included
need to demonstrate
in this book support learners at different levels.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
strategies around
asking for help, ] Interviews encourage English language learners to develop a variety of
requesting ways to negotiate academic and cultural situations. To be successful,
clarification, and students must learn appropriate cultural behaviors, such as those
using home language involving eye contact and body language. They must be aware of the
resources. Students
audience they address. This aspect of communication is part of the NCTE/
will have many
IRA Standards for the English Language Arts: “Students adjust their use of
opportunities to
spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary)
observe teacher
demonstrations of
to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different
how to formulate and purposes” (Crafton, 1996).
ask questions.

Teaching With This Book


T he teaching materials in this book are organized by topics, all of which
address common conceptual and language development needs of ELL
schoolchildren. Teaching with topics such as friendship, family, and favorites
helps develop language that children need and use in their everyday school
environment. For example, a unit on Classmates and Friends (page 17) focuses
on getting to know others, and is often a good place for new students to begin.
School Activities (page 30) is also great for helping new students become familiar
with their surroundings. A unit on Routines and Schedules (page 62) provides
practice with functional skills, such as telling time, and supports acquisition of
related vocabulary. Each unit is composed of a set of lesson pages for teachers
and reproducible activity pages for students. Following is an overview of unit
components.

Unit Skills: Check this list to identify skills covered by the unit activities.
Vocabulary Development: This section suggests ways to support students in
acquiring topic-related vocabulary in the areas of listening (aural skills), speaking,
reading, and writing. (For more information on building vocabulary, see page 9.)


Home Languages and Cultures: These ideas show how to use home
languages to support children’s learning—for example, by tapping prior
knowledge. Suggestions may also include ideas for the entire class to experience
their classmates’ different languages and cultures.

Partner Work: This gives English language learners


opportunities to interact with students who have language skills
that are more developed than their own. These activities extend
children’s practice of skills by involving them in a variety of
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

experiences that require oral language.

Reading and Writing Connections: Although not the focus of this book,
suggestions for these skill areas are an integral part of the instructional experience.
In this section, these activities are often linked to an art project or to creating
displays, charts, and graphs.

Using the Reproducible Pages: These suggestions include tips for introducing
the interview pages, for guiding students in completing them, and for helping
students use the information they gather. These teaching materials emphasize the
need to demonstrate strategies around asking for help, requesting clarification, and
using home language resources. Students will have many opportunities to observe
teacher demonstrations of how to formulate and ask questions. keep in mind
Student Pages: These ready-to-use reproducible pages meet the needs of
students at different levels. Several strategies for gathering information and I nterviewing is
one of a variety
of activities that may
recording data are used throughout this book. Children then use the data to create
be used to engage
graphs, interpret information, summarize, and report. Revisiting vocabulary
learning. It cannot
and language patterns throughout these pages and activities supports language
be, however, the sole
learning. These activities become ways to actively develop learning strategies and
means of language
academic language.
development.
Literacy workshops,
technology, physical
Before You Begin
education, the
Materials in this book are provided for both beginner- and intermediate-level arts, and content
learners. The following characteristics of both sets of learners can help you area learning are
understand your students’ needs and choose activities that support their success. an integral part
of a language-
What Are Beginners Like? rich learning
environment.
At first glance, beginners may be hard to spot because they fall into a wide range
of behaviors. Some will smile and nod their head as if they understand everything
you say. Others, however, will cry easily, overwhelmed by the demands of the
new environment. Some will sit passively, as if not wanting to be “found out.”
Still others will seem quite giddy, acting out from a sense of unease at trying to
negotiate new territory.


teaching When they do attempt to communicate, many beginners, especially newcomers,
will use gestures and body motions. At the early stages, they will use one-word

Tip utterances, and even break into their own language while searching for a way to
be understood. They are usually difficult to understand, make many grammatical
mistakes, and pause frequently, searching for ways to express themselves.
 hatever topic you
W
Gradually, they will use two- and three-word phrases to communicate.
select, when you
Beginners are often eager to learn English but can become easily discouraged.
assign activities
They need a comfortable, positive setting to “take in” language.
remember to take

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
the following into
account. What Are Intermediates Like?
As children internalize more language, they are able to make themselves better
 ersonality:
P
understood. Although intermediates can communicate more readily, they still
Is this student shy
make mistakes in grammar. Their vocabulary is stronger, but as the academic
or outgoing?
demands grow, gaps in vocabulary hinder their performance. They generally have
 amiliarity and
F good listening comprehension and may appear to understand everything (and
experience with
may even believe that they do understand), yet they miss the deeper levels of
English: Is this
meaning and fail to make inferences. They may be quite fluent in oral skills but
student a beginner
may struggle with academic tasks. Intermediates need extra work on inferences,
or an intermediate?
drawing conclusions, and synthesizing information.
 iteracy level:
L These students should continue to work on learning strategies, such as using
Can this student graphic organizers to develop academic language and skills.
read some high-
frequency words
and simple
sentences? basic skills checklist
 otivation: Is
M To be successful with interview activities, English language learners will need
this student easily some basic skills in English. If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions,
discouraged or your students are ready to engage in interviews.
eager?
Can my students . . .
Choose activities
3  ame basic nouns such as school items (book, pencil, glue), people (boy,
n
and provide support
girl, man), and places (school, house, room)?
as needed to best
meet students’ 3 repeat simple phrases and short sentences?
needs.
3 count by rote from 1 to 10 and beyond?

3 read and write simple words and phrases?

3 use the verb to be (am, are, is) but with inaccuracies?

3  nderstand personal pronouns (I, you, he/she, we, they) but with some
u
mistakes while using them?


Building Vocabulary
V ocabulary is an important consideration when using these activities with
students. Research on native English–speaking students indicates that
keep in mind
L
children learn about 3,000 words each year (Dressler & Kamil, 2006). Second- iteracy studies
language learners have an increased load in developing their new language while reveal that
they try to “catch up” academically to their native-speaking peers. although English
Research shows that lack of vocabulary is common in the poor academic language learners
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

achievements of a large portion of ELL students. These children must be given can benefit from
many opportunities through multiple and varied experiences to become aware discrete-skill
of, develop, and use new vocabulary. As these students learn labels for words, instruction such
they need to develop deeper knowledge of conceptual meanings and language as phonics, their
comprehension
structures that affect comprehension (Francis, D. J., Rivera, M., Lesaux, N., Keiffer,
suffers if they
M., & Rivera, H., 2006).
don’t know the
Within activities for each topic, suggestions for building vocabulary may involve
word meanings.
listening, speaking, reading, and writing, depending on students’ language and “Phonics shows
literacy levels. Labeling activities are more appropriate for beginners who still need students how to
to acquire a very basic vocabulary. decode, which
helps them as
Multiple Meaning Words and Specialized Vocabulary long as the words
they are trying to
From about fourth grade on, school vocabulary items become more abstract and decode are in their
cognitively demanding. This represents a significant challenge to English language oral language.
learners (Dressler & Kamil, 2006). Activities that deepen vocabulary learning in English-language
this book include exploring words with multiple meanings and specialized words learners may lack
for description, comparing and contrasting, and summarizing. oral counterparts
Directions are often specialized words that are disconnected from content, for the words
have little context (such as in tests), and can be more difficult to read and they decode;
understand than words in grade-level texts. As you use the activities in this under such
circumstances,
book, teach children the language of directions, such as choose, find, and mark, by
the impact of
demonstrating their meaning. Highlight these words whenever children encounter
phonics on text
them in the interview activities and in class work. Sample words follow.
comprehension will
be more variable
words for directions and less certain”
(Shanahan & Beck,
ask cut letter(s) spell 2006, p. 436).
blank draw (a line, list talk
box a circle...) make a/an ____ tally
bubble estimate mark unscramble
chart fill in name use tally marks
checkmark find picture word
choose glue read write
color information record yes/no
complete interview rewrite


Making Classroom Language Accessible
Helping English language learners understand what you are saying takes a
conscious effort. You can use your body language, the way you speak, planned
demonstrations, and the way you set up the classroom environment to promote
comprehension (Cary, 2000; Enright, 1986; Enright & McCloskey, 1988).
Demonstrations and other students are additional supports.

Your body language:

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
] Gestures
] Facial expressions
] Body motions

The way you speak:


] Stress/intonation
] Voice volume
] Longer pauses/wait time
] Repetitions, rephrasings
] Summaries and paraphrases
] Avoidance of slang

The classroom environment:


] Visual aids: pictures, quick sketches, drawings, charts, photos
] Technology: recordings, CDs, computers, video clips
] Using real objects, or sets of artifacts (such as plastic models)
] Predictable routines

Planned demonstrations:
] Pantomimes
] Role playing and acting out
] Using manipulatives
] Modeling assignments step by step

The students:
] As partners, demonstrators, tutors
] Bilingual students (or others) as bridges to understanding English
10
Strategies That Help ELLs Develop
Academic Language
Learning strategies that help ELLs
acquire academic language and
skills are divided into three broad
categories: metacognitive, cognitive,
and social/affective strategies
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

(Chamot & O’Malley, 1994).


Following is a review of each.

Metacognitive Strategies
These involve processes that
encompass “executive functions,”
such as anticipating and planning
for tasks, organizing, and evaluating
the success of these processes.
Activities suggested for scaffolding
interviewing experiences (pages 12–
13), such as those under planning
and debriefing, incorporate
metacognitive strategies.

Cognitive Learning Strategies


This group includes those that are linked to more specific tasks, such as resourcing
(using reference materials), note taking, grouping (classifying), and summarizing.
Activities that make use of cognitive strategies appear throughout this book. For
example, after interviewing classmates about favorite pizza toppings, students
write summary statements about the information they gathered. (See Pizza
Toppings, page 37.) It is important to explain and demonstrate these strategies so
that students have enough support to use them.

Social/Affective Strategies
These facilitate positive feelings about self, as well as successful interactions
with others, and are important and even essential strategies for English language
learners. These strategies include asking questions for clarification, positive self-
talk (to reduce anxiety), and cooperating with others. Throughout this book,
teachers are urged to explicitly instruct students in how to ask questions for
clarification. In addition, students are given numerous opportunities to work with
partners and in small groups. Finally, when students report to teachers, they are
asked to reflect on their own learning, to determine what is working well for them.

11
Getting Started
teaching
O nce you’ve selected a topic, it is important to prepare both the whole
class and your ELL students for the interview activities. Guidelines

Tip for both follow.


Activities will run more smoothly if, as you get started, you put in place
some routines and procedures. These will necessarily follow your schedule and
Have ELLs use their
personal style of classroom management. The following are some ideas to promote
English journals

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
successful classroom interactions during interview activities.
for activities
such as daily 1. Explain the purpose of the interviews and that all students will
writing, interview have opportunities to participate as interviewees or interviewers.
summaries, Enlist everyone’s cooperation and support as students prepare for and
note taking, conduct the interviews.
and vocabulary
2. Set up an area for students to work.
lists. Additional
suggestions specific 3. Together, develop rules for interviews and role-play appropriate
to activities are behaviors.
offered throughout
this book. Together
4. Provide English language learners with additional support before
with your students, introducing an activity. Following are suggestions for doing so.
review their work ] Ask a bilingual tutor or volunteer to help you get started with
and show them beginning ELL students. Explain to the children the purpose
that the notebooks of the interview activities and make it clear that it will be part of
can be a resource
their weekly work.
for their learning.
English journals ] Have students clip writing paper together into notebooks to be
also provide used as English journals.
concrete examples
] Help students acquire and use strategies for asking for clarification
of student progress
when they don’t understand. Throughout the year, introduce and
at parent-teacher
encourage students to use a variety of ways to ask for clarification.
conferences.
Excuse me, what did you say?
I don’t understand. Can you repeat that, please?
Sorry, could you say that again?
You said…? (Voice rises, then tapers off.)

Scaffolding Learning
S caffolding is a term that is used to describe support given to students to enable
them to do something they otherwise would be unable to do. “It is a special
kind of help that assists learners to move toward new skills, concepts, or levels of
understanding. Scaffolding is thus the temporary assistance by which a teacher
helps a learner know how to do something, so that the learner will later be able to
complete a similar task alone” (Gibbons, 2002, p. 10).
12
The following chart is adapted from components of a scaffolded reading
experience for ELLs described by Graves and Fitzgerald (2003). Use this chart
as a reference when teaching with the activities to guide and create a supportive
learning experience for your groups of English language learners.

Pre-Interviewing
Teacher Students
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Motivate students and set the purpose (tying Plan what is needed
the activities into the curriculum) Get materials ready (interview page,
Prompt and elicit responses, lead a pencil, etc.)
brainstorming activity, write dictated lists Find resources and aids (dictionaries, teaching

Tip
Introduce new vocabulary (see Vocabulary charts, pictures)
Development in units) Rehearse how to use materials
Demonstrate how to ask for clarification Learn new vocabulary (Partner Work)
Introduce interview page Fill out interview page with name, etc.
Model asking questions, intonation Some of these
Rehearse (show comprehension)
Demonstrate how to record information tasks involve
direct instruction
from you, others
During Interviewing require students to
take over. As your
Teacher Students students become
Observe Approach interviewee (request interview, explain purpose)
facile and confident
with new skills,
Coach when needed Ask to repeat when answer is not understood
you may gradually
Use selective attention
expect them to do
Record information
more of these tasks
End interview (thank interviewee)
independently.

Post-Interviewing
Teacher Students
Debrief: How did it go? What was easy/difficult? Respond, participate, discuss
Do you need to learn or practice something? Compare-contrast, summarize (use fill-in
What did you do when you didn’t understand blanks, if needed), create/interpret graph
something?
Rehearse and report orally
Review information gathered by asking,
Write (using guides, if needed), revise
pointing, gesturing, and writing key words
Rehearse and share
Demonstrate: comparing-contrasting,
summarizing (oral, written), graphing
Model oral report
Model related written activities; provide
writing guides, if needed
Set up and model sharing: pairs, small
group, large group
Demonstrate examples 13
Connections to Goals and Standards
T eachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL, 1997) has
developed three goals and nine standards for ESL instruction. The goals and
standards are comprehensive and meant to be applied to academic instruction in
all content areas of the K–12 curriculum. They do not supplant the content area
standards but rather support them. ESL goals and standards are built around three
main areas of language proficiency development.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
1. Language used in social settings
2. Language used for academic tasks
3. L anguage used in “socially and culturally appropriate ways”
(TESOL, 1997)
This book addresses many of the goals and standards developed by TESOL. As
indicated above, one of the important uses of language is social communication.
Activities and tasks in this book are designed to give English language learners and
their classmates opportunities to develop language used for social communication.
ELLs will meet and get to know their peers and others, and learn how to express
themselves by using greetings appropriately, asking questions, requesting
clarification, using resources, and so on. Such purposes for interactions takes
pressure off the new students to be the ones to reach out, and helps them adjust to
their new environment.
Below is a small sampling of some of the “descriptors” (behaviors children
exhibit after they participate in instructional experiences that are shaped by the
standards) found in the TESOL ESL Standards for Pre-K–12 Students (1997).

Using social communication effectively:


] giving personal information
] imitating others’ behaviors and use of English
] using context to build meaning
] sharing about one’s home culture/traditions
] changing one’s behavior in response to non-verbal cues

Using academic language and skills effectively:


] following directions (spoken and written)
] creating, asking, and answering questions
] reading charts and graphs
] using focused listening skills (selective attention)

14
Using language effectively in social and cultural contexts:
] using appropriate degree of formality, depending on whether
talking with adults or peers keep in mind
] using tone, gestures, and body language appropriately
] using one’s home language at appropriate times
S uggestions in
the teaching
materials may
involve explicitly

Final Notes
teaching some of
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

the higher cognitive


skills (summarizing,

T he first weeks of school are stressful for new students, especially if they speak comparing and
very limited or no English. Plan to buffer the stresses by addressing concerns contrasting
they may have, and providing them with useful information. Below are some items information,
combining sentences,
to consider as part of your welcoming checklist.
interpreting graphs,
] Help students learn your name etc.). “Though much
and classmates’ names. vocabulary and syntax
] Assign a helpful “buddy” may be acquired
during this orientation period. through informal
interaction, the
] Help newcomers meet other range of academic-
students who speak their language skills . . .
home language. must not be left to
chance encounters;
] Get students acquainted with
it must be developed
the school support staff and
continuously and
other helpful individuals.
taught explicitly
] Tour the school, locating across all subject
important rooms and offices (such as the bathroom, lunchroom, library, areas” (Dutro
computer lab, main office, nurse’s room). & Moran, 2003,
p. 231).
] Explain bathroom and lunchroom procedures.
] Acquaint students with places for arrival and departure; review
bus numbers.
] Teach school and classroom rules/routines.
] Acquaint newcomers with classroom schedules.
] Make sure newcomers know how to use the phone.
] Go over emergency procedures and exits, including for fire and other drills.
] Explain how to check for school closings.
] Teach students what to do when ill (tell a teacher, go to the school nurse).

15
Strengthening Home-School Relationships
A recent review of research on language-minority parents and their views about
literacy revealed two important findings. The first is that ELL parents value their
children’s education and are willing to do what they can to help their children. The
second finding, however, revealed that “schools tend to underestimate language
minority parents’ interest in and ability to contribute to their children’s literacy
development” (Goldenberg, Rueda, & August, 2006, p. 295).
teaching A classroom environment that welcomes and affirms home cultures and families

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Tip
will set the stage for positive home-school relationships and student success.
Consider the following suggestions to strengthen these connections.
] An accepting attitude toward different cultures goes a long way to promote
Enlist the help of
an atmosphere where diversity is valued.
bilingual tutors ] Tap into your school’s and district’s resources, including bilingual tutors
or volunteers to and volunteers. They can assist you in bridging communication with your
work with these English language learners and their families.
newcomers. They
can serve as ] Seek out family members, older students, and others in the community
communication who are resources in home cultures and languages. They can be a valuable
bridges both for support system for you and your English language learners.
you and the new
] Learn as much as you can about the cultures represented in your
students.
classroom. Make these cultures a part of school life through classroom
displays of maps, photos, posters, books, and other materials in the
home languages.
] Don’t overlook the power of home languages. You want to encourage
parents to deepen their children’s skills by reading to them and having
meaningful conversations. Students can often transfer their knowledge
base from their home language to English, and later draw on this
knowledge to make new connections.
] Encourage parents and other caregivers to talk with their children about
schoolwork. Even if parents cannot offer specific help in English, their
interest and expectations will influence the children’s attitudes.

16
Classmates and Friends
unit skills
W hen childr en cross
cult ur es , one of their primary
concerns is “Who will be my friend?” They
_ r ole playing to
demonstrate
word meanings
want to fit in and belong. Providing them _ u
 sing
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

opportunities to do so is the focus of this descriptive


unit. Children will use social language to get words
to know others, and the entire class will learn _ d
 escribing
how people in other cultures greet each other. All children character traits

will benefit from getting to know one another.  iving personal


_ g
information

_ writing a
paragraph
Vocabulary Development
Who Is a Friend? What Do Friends Do? Invite the class to work in
cooperative groups to create short skits about the word friend that demonstrate
characteristics and vocabulary such as sharing, taking turns, and being helpful. Write
key words and phrases on chart paper.

Book Friends: Create a graphic organizer and fill it in during group discussions
of character development in reading assignments. Keep all year, and add to it as
appropriate. (See sample, below.)

Trait (A person What Does the What Does the


can be . . .) Person Do? Person Say?
friendly talks to people Hello.
How are you?
polite uses “happy”/ Excuse me.
positive words Sorry.
Go ahead.

Home Languages and Cultures


Say “Hello”: Keep in mind that not all children are willing to share or feel
confident enough to teach others. Some may need time to “warm up” to the idea of
sharing about their cultures. Invite bilingual family members to teach the class to
say “Hello” and other words in their home languages.

17
Greetings Around the World: What are some of the other ways people greet
each other? Do they kiss each other on the cheek? Shake hands? Bow? Hug? Ask
bilingual family members to demonstrate and explain their customs. Talk with
students about how different behaviors may be appropriate in one culture, but not
in another.

Partner Work
teaching Descriptive Word Pairs: Have capable beginners and low intermediates

Tip work on pairs of descriptive words for people such as tall/short, small/large,

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
and young/old. Invite them to make charts with illustrated opposites, such as
curly hair/straight hair, and display them in the room for future reference.
As students
complete partner Draw My Picture: Teach students how to play a guessing game. One partner
activities, be sure draws a very simple monster head (for example, three eyes, a large mouth, and
to rotate them as messy hair), but doesn’t show it to others. The other partner must ask only
partners. They may
yes/no questions to try to draw the same head. When time is up, partners
quickly become
compare pictures. Early beginners will struggle to formulate questions, so write
fatigued or lose
some patterns on the board to guide them.
interest in helping
Is it small?
if it feels like a
burden. Keep Does it have two eyes?
students’ motivation Does it have a long nose?
high by noticing Does it have one mouth? Is it big?
and reinforcing Is the hair long? Is it messy?
good work.

Reading and Writing Connections


People and Places: Using a globe or world map, locate the places where
children and their families come from. Help them make statements such as “I come
from .” As children speak, write their statements on chart paper. Read
the sentences together several times and pause to let them chime in.

Speech Bubble Board: Invite students to create self-portraits. Later, show


them how to draw and cut out large speech bubbles. Beginners can complete
sentence patterns such as “My name is . I come from .I
speak .” Arrange portraits and bubbles on a bulletin board. Use the
display as a springboard for language development with your early beginners. For
example, point and ask, “Who is he? Is he Juan? Is he Dante? No, he is Mikki!”
Learning names in another language can be particularly difficult. Activities to
reinforce classmates’ names will give ELLs confidence and help them feel part of
the learning community.

18
Using the Reproducible Pages
Name: Date:
Do You Want to . . .? (page 20)
20

Interview Question

Set up two activities for outdoor recess (such as


Do you want to . . .?
Do You
Want to . . .?

basketball and jump rope). Tell beginners they will


1.
Directions

 raw a picture of an
D
activity in each circle.
Name

1. Yes No Yes No be your helpers and will find out which activity
2. A sk four classmates the

children want to choose for recess. Remind them


interview questions. 2. Yes No Yes No
3.  ircle Yes or No for
C
their answers.
3. Yes No Yes No

4. Yes No

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources
Yes No
that it is okay if some students say no (or yes) to
both questions. Model the questions, using an
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

upward hand motion to show how the voice rises


at the end. After students complete the interview page,
ask them, “How many students want to [activity 1]? Who
are they? How many students want to [activity 2]? Tell me
their names.”

Name:

My School Friend
Date:
My School Friend (page 21)
Directions 1.
2.
Interview a classmate.
Write your friend’s answers on the blanks. Review the interview questions with My Friend
your intermediates. Discuss follow-
Interview Questions

1. What is your full name? (first and last)

2. How old are you?


My friend is years
3. Where were you born?

4. Do you speak another language at home?


up questions, giving examples. After old. He/she comes from . He/she
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

What is it?

the interviews, have students write a


likes to eat , but he/she doesn’t
5. What is your favorite food?

6. What is a food you don’t like?

7. What do you enjoy in school?


paragraph using the information they
8. What do you enjoy at home?
like . At school likes
9. Do you play a sport?

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?


Which one?

gather. Less experienced students may


to . At home he/she likes to
21 benefit from a writing framework.
. When he/she grows up, he/she
(See sample, right.) Guide students in
wants to be a .
identifying the information they need
to fill in each blank.

Name: Date: Getting to Know You (page 22)


Getting to Know You
Directions 1.
2.
3.
Read the interview questions.
Write your own answer to each question.
Then, interview a classmate. Write your classmate’s answers.
This will be a challenging activity for interviewers and
respondents alike. To prepare, invite intermediates
I will interview .

Interview Questions

to share their personal answers to one or more of the


1. What is something that you do well?
My answer:
My classmate’s answer:

2. What is difficult for you?


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

My answer:
My classmate’s answer:

3. What would you like to learn to do?


questions. Together, brainstorm some possible answers
to other questions and demonstrate how to ask for
My answer:
My classmate’s answer:

4. What is one wish you have?


My answer:

clarification. Students may find the character traits


My classmate’s answer:

5. What are three words that describe you?


My answer:
My classmate’s answer:

22 graphic organizer (see Book Friends, page 17) helpful in


thinking about themselves. Ask students to write what
they learned about their friend in their English journals.

19
Name: Date:

20
Interview Question
Do you want to . . .?
Do You
Want to . . .?

Directions Name

1. Yes No Yes No
1.  raw a picture of an
D
activity in each circle.
2.  sk four classmates the
A
interview questions. 2. Yes No Yes No
3. C
 ircle Yes or No for 
their answers.
3. Yes No Yes No

4. Yes No Yes No

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Name: Date:

My School Friend
Directions 1. Interview a classmate.
2. Write your friend’s answers on the blanks.

Interview Questions

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

1. What is your full name? (first and last)

2. How old are you?

3. Where were you born?

4. Do you speak another language at home? 

What is it?

5. What is your favorite food?

6. What is a food you don’t like?

7. What do you enjoy in school?

8. What do you enjoy at home?

9. Do you play a sport? Which one?

10. What do you want to be when you grow up? 

21
Name: Date:

Getting to Know You


Directions 1. Read the interview questions.
2. Write your own answer to each question.
3. Then, interview a classmate. Write your classmate’s answers.

I will interview .

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Interview Questions

1. What is something that you do well?
My answer: 
My classmate’s answer:

2. What is difficult for you?


My answer: 
My classmate’s answer:

3. What would you like to learn to do?


My answer: 
My classmate’s answer:

4. What is one wish you have?


My answer: 
My classmate’s answer:

5. What are three words that describe you? 


My answer: 
My classmate’s answer:

22
Birthdays and Months
unit skills
Y oung or old , birthdays m ark important milestones in
our lives. How we celebrate them is influenced by our culture
and values. In this unit, the entire class learns how the cultures
_ naming months
of the year

_ using a
represented in the room celebrate birthdays. English language learners
calendar
interview others about their ages, create a bar graph of classroom
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

_ giving personal
birthdays, and compose shape poems.
information

_ understanding
comparatives
Vocabulary Development
_ reading an
Months of the Year Audiotape: Give beginners many opportunities to learn invitation
the names of the months of the year. Invite a proficient student to audiotape him- _ creating a bar
or herself reading the months sequentially two or three times. Have this student graph
pause after each month, giving the listener time to repeat. Have beginners follow a _ interpreting
yearly calendar, or a list of the months, as they listen to the tape. a graph

_ creating a
Home Languages and Cultures shape poem

Invite children to share how their families celebrate birthdays. Encourage ELLs to
share photos of birthday celebrations, if possible. If your students are reticent or
unable to share, enlist bilingual adults or older students to visit your class and tell
about how birthdays are celebrated in their cultures.

Partner Work
Monthly Calendar: Have ELLs fill in a copy of a monthly calendar and clip it
into their English journals. Students fill it in with notes about routine activities
and special events. For example, with the help of their partner, they can identify
weekends, gym days, field trips, and holidays. Refer to the calendars often
throughout the month to help beginners understand calendar-specific vocabulary,
and how to use calendars as a planning tool.

Reading and Writing Connections It ’s a par ty!


Given by: Ra
You’re Invited: On a sheet of chart paper, write out examples of chel
Date: Octob
invitations for parties, using a format and wording common to the er 26
Time: 5 PM
form at right. Together, answer “wh” questions (who, what, where, when, Address : 3
 435 Marke
t Street
why). Explain that RSVP represents a French phrase that means “please RSVP 252-38
99
respond.” Role-play appropriate responses to the various invitations.
23
Shape Poems: Concrete poems
are also called shape poems. The
poet draws an object and writes
related words and phrases on its
outline. Words can also fill the
spaces of the shape. (See sample,
right.) This unit topic lends itself
well to composing shape poems.
Together, brainstorm possible

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
ideas and make a list of words
related to birthdays or a specific
month. Demonstrate how to write
a shape poem and invite students to create their own. Tell children to choose their
best effort and transfer it to a large sheet of construction paper. Provide colored
pencils or markers for illustrations.

Using the Reproducible Pages


teaching
All About Me (page 26)

Tip
Name: Date:

All About Me

1. What is your name? In advance of using this page, prepare index cards
with students’ addresses. Teach children the conventions
2. What language do you speak?

3. Where are you from?

4. What school do you go to?


for writing addresses, and include a discussion of zip
• Some cultures 5. What grade are you in?
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

codes. Discuss the need to memorize one’s address


count the year
6. Who is your teacher?

7. What is your phone number?

and phone number for safety reasons, and explain


before birth as the 8. What is your address?

that students will work on learning to tell important


child’s first year.
9. When is your birthday?

information about themselves. Have them work along


10. How old are you?

26

• Dates can be with you to fill in their answers. Remind them that in
confusing! In English one’s personal given name comes first, and the
some countries
family name is last. Explain that their birthday will be
dates are written
written month/day/year. Remind them that months of the
day/month/year.
year are always capitalized.
At a later time, have children take turns reading
questions for a partner to answer. Encourage them to
memorize some of their personal information so that
they can feel comfortable speaking about themselves.
For example, you might have children role-play mini
introductions, such as: “Hi. My name is Carlos Blanco.
I am nine years old and I am in fourth grade. I come
from Ecuador. I speak Spanish.” As children gain
experience, be sure to give them real-life opportunities for
introducing themselves to classroom visitors.

24
Name:

How Old Are You?


Date:
How Old Are You? (page 27)
Directions 1.

2.
3.
 rite the names of the classmates
W
you’re interviewing.
Read the interview question.
A sk your classmates the question.
Have students repeat the question “How old are you?”
to interview several classmates. Model how your voice
4. Record their answer.

Interview Question How old are you?

Name Age
rises at the end of the question. Students record their
1.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

2.
classmates’ names and ages. Use the data from interviews
3.
to develop language, such as for using comparatives:
4.

5.
] Who is older than Roberto?
] Who is younger than Roberto?
27
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

] Is Yuki younger than Marcy?


] Who is the same age as Yuki?

Name: Date:
Happy Birthday! (page 28)
28

Happy Interview Question

Birthday!
Directions
What will you do on your next birthday?
Discuss how some families celebrate birthdays
1. Write four
friends’ names
on the chart
under “Name.”
Name Have a
party.
Eat
birthday
cake.
Have a
special
dinner.
Open
presents.
Other
while others don’t. Customs will vary among
2.  rite your name
W

families and cultures. Read the interview page


on line 5. 1.

3.  sk your
A
classmates the
question. Use 2.
a 3 for their

together and check for comprehension. When


answer(s). Write
different answers 3.
under “Other.”

4.  ake an 7 for
M
4.
your answer(s).

children complete the survey, have them report the


Write different
answers under
“Other.” 5.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

results in small groups. What ways of celebrating


birthdays are most common? Are there any answers
that surprised them?

Name:

1. Fill in the missing months.


Date:
Birthday Months (page 29)
Birthday 2. Ask classmates the interview question. Write their
Interview Question

Months 3.
names on the cake for their birthday month.
Write your name on the cake for your birthday month. What month is your birthday?
Children conduct a survey, asking, “What month is
January February April

your birthday?” They record each classmate’s name


May July August
on the cake for the corresponding month. Note that
you may wish to enlarge this reproducible page to
October December

provide students with more space for writing.


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland
29

Students may use the information gathered from


their survey to create a bar graph. (See sample,
right.) Students may use a different color for each month.
When completed, have students analyze their data.
Ask questions such as:
] Which month has the most birthdays?
] Which month has the fewest birthdays?
] How many birthdays are in February?
] How many birthdays are in May?
] Do any months have the same number of birthdays?
25
Name: Date:

All About Me

1. What is your name?

2. What language do you speak?

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
3. Where are you from?

4. What school do you go to?

5. What grade are you in?

6. Who is your teacher?

7. What is your phone number?

8. What is your address?

9. When is your birthday?

10. How old are you?

26
Name: Date:

How Old Are You?


Directions 1.  rite the names of the classmates 
W
you’re interviewing.
2. Read the interview question.
3. A sk your classmates the question.
4. Record their answer.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Interview Question How old are you?

Name Age

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

27
Name: Date:

28
Interview Question
Happy
What will you do on your next birthday?
Birthday!
Directions

1.  rite four
W
friends’ names Name Have a Eat Have a Open Other
on the chart party. birthday special presents.
under “Name.” cake. dinner.

2. W
 rite your name 
on line 5. 1.

3.  sk your
A
classmates the
question. Use 2.
a 3 for their
answer(s). Write
different answers 3.
under “Other.”

4. M
 ake an 7 for
4.
your answer(s).
Write different
answers under
“Other.” 5.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Name: Date:

1. Fill in the missing months.


Interview Question
Birthday 2. Ask classmates the interview question. Write their 
names on the cake for their birthday month.
Months 3. Write your name on the cake for your birthday month. What month is your birthday?

January February April

May July August

October December

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland

29
School Activities

F or some english language learners, schools in the U.S. will


appear very formal and regulated. For others, our schools will
seem freewheeling and too casual. To most newcomers, the school
unit skills environment will be unfamiliar territory. In this unit, beginners learn

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
_ observing and to name common daily and weekly school activities. Intermediates
explaining interview classmates about school subjects they enjoy.
activities

_ writing
captions
Vocabulary Development
_ using a
schedule Photo Posters: Provide students with photos of classroom activities. Have them
write drafts of informative captions to accompany the pictures, then check their
_ sequencing
work before they combine captions and photos to create posters. During the week,
_ summarizing refer to the posters to show students how to use them as a resource.
_ creating a bar
graph Home Languages and Cultures
Understanding Schedules and Activities: Have bilingual tutors check your
beginners’ understanding of schedules and activities. Children who are literate in
their home language can create bilingual weekly schedules in their notebooks.

Sign Support: Ask bilingual tutors to make signs in both English and children’s
home languages to label classroom areas and supplies. Students who are literate in
their home languages may be able to make these signs with a tutor’s assistance.

Partner Work
On Monday, we at .
Sentence Strip Schedules: Prepare
sentence strips for beginners to use
with their partners. Write a cloze-pattern sentence for each school day of the week.
Draw the face of a clock after the word at. (See sample, above.) Partners refer to a
classroom schedule, fill in the blanks, and draw hands on the clock to indicate the
time. Use these sentence strips for reading and sequencing practice. ELLs can copy
the sentences into their English journals.

Reading and Writing Connections


Descriptive Sentences: Have ELLs compose sentences in their English
journals about activities depicted on the posters. (See Photo Posters, above.) Later,
they may read their sentences aloud, while others identify the matching poster.
30
Using the Reproducible Pages
Name: Date:
What Do You See? (page 32)
32

What Do You See? Directions 1.


2.
Work with a partner. Walk around the school.
Fill in the boxes with what you see. Use the Word

Pair beginning ELL children with more proficient Did you see someone . . .
Bank for help.

Who? Where?

students and send them on a scouting trip around


reading?

singing?
Word Bank
playing?

teaching
Who? Where?

the school. In preparation, give them copies of Girl

Girls

Boy
Gym

Main office

Classroom
using a computer?

swinging?
Playground

this graphic organizer, and model how to fill in


Boys

Tip
Library talking on a telephone?
Boys and girls

Teacher Art room


exercising?
Teacher and Music room
students Lunchroom

the boxes. After their trip around the school,


eating?
Visitors Computer room

Hall walking in line?


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

gather students and ask: “What did you see?”


Help children formulate sentences as needed, and
Many students will
record responses in paragraph form on chart paper. Have them think of a title, and
persist in making
then invite them to read the entire text with you. Pause briefly at strategic places,
errors with don’t and
allowing them to independently fill in the next word or words.
doesn’t. This is a
As an extension, copy students’ sentences on sentence strips. Number the backs
normal process in
in order for reference. Mix up the strips so they are out of sequence, then have acquiring English.
pairs of students arrange them in order. Follow up by having students choose two It is best to model
or three words to learn. Students may also copy the sentences in their English the standard
journals, and underline the new words. English with lots
of examples.
Use examples to
teach them how
Name: Date:
Do You Enjoy...? (page 33) to insert does not
Do You Enjoy . . .?
Directions
Teach less experienced ELLs to use a rising intonation or doesn’t—for
1.

example, “Mark
Interview a friend.
2. Make an 7 under Yes or No to show your friend’s answers.

I will interview: by exaggerating your inflection as you ask the interview


Interview Questions

Yes No
question for this page (“Do you enjoy…?”). Encourage enjoys art. He does
not enjoy music
Do you enjoy reading?

them to practice asking the question several times. After


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Do you enjoy taking tests?

class.” Provide
Do you enjoy writing stories?

the interview, students use the information to write


Do you enjoy solving math problems?

many opportunities
Do you enjoy singing?

Do you enjoy using a computer?

Do you enjoy listening to stories?


about their friend. Prepare sentence frameworks to
Do you enjoy spelling?
to use the language
Do you enjoy playing outside?

help less experienced children, for example, “In school,


33
meaningfully.
enjoys and . He also
enjoys , but he doesn’t like .”

Name:

Class Subjects
Date:
Class Subjects (page 34)
Review the words good and better. Remind students that
Class
Directions Subjects
1. Read the Class Subjects list. Add three more.
Mathematics
2.  hoose two class subjects. Use them to fill in the interview
C
Reading
question. Write them in the blanks on the chart.

better is used when comparing two items. Teach your


Social Studies
3. Interview the girls and boys in your class. Mark their answers
Music
with tallies. Write the total for each subject.
Writing

Interview Question

intermediates to ask the interview question with correct


Which do you like better,

or ?
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Subject: Subject: inflection and a slight pause after the word better. Make
sure they understand that they will interview girls and
Girls

Boys

boys in the class, recording the answers separately in the


Total

34
tally table. As an extension, students can display their
data in a double-bar graph. (See sample, right.)
31
Name: Date:

32
Directions 1. Work with a partner. Walk around the school.
What Do You See? 2. F ill in the boxes with what you see. Use the Word
Bank for help.

Did you see someone . . . Who? Where?

reading?

singing?
Word Bank
playing?
Who? Where?
Girl Gym
using a computer?
Girls Main office

Boy Classroom swinging?


Boys Playground

Library talking on a telephone?


Boys and girls

Teacher Art room


exercising?
Teacher and Music room
students Lunchroom eating?
Visitors Computer room

Hall walking in line?

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Name: Date:

Do You Enjoy . . .?
Directions

1. Interview a friend.
2. Make an 7 under Yes or No to show your friend’s answers.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

I will interview:

Interview Questions

Yes No

Do you enjoy reading?

Do you enjoy taking tests?

Do you enjoy writing stories?

Do you enjoy solving math problems?

Do you enjoy singing?

Do you enjoy using a computer?

Do you enjoy listening to stories?

Do you enjoy spelling?

Do you enjoy playing outside?

33
Name: Date:

Class Subjects
Class
Directions Subjects
1. Read the Class Subjects list. Add three more.
Mathematics
2. Choose two class subjects. Use them to fill in the interview
Reading
question. Write them in the blanks on the chart.
Social Studies
3. Interview the girls and boys in your class. Mark their answers 

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Music
with tallies. Write the total for each subject.
Writing

Interview Question

Which do you like better,

or ?

Subject: Subject:

Girls

Boys

Total

34
Foods
unit skills
F ood , w ith all its sensory richness , evokes memories
and reactions from all of us. It is one of the most visible aspects
of culture, and among our most basic needs. Classes such as science,
_ naming foods

_ stating likes
and dislikes
physical education, and literature use the topic of food as part of
_ stating
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

their content at some point in the curriculum. In this unit, children


preferences
describe and classify foods, discuss nutrition, and interview others to
_ using a picture
find out about their preferences.
dictionary

_ labeling

_ comparing and
Vocabulary Development contrasting

Food Pantry: Make learning memorable by setting up a food pantry. If _ using graphic
appropriate to your school, students may bring contributions for the display. As organizers
an alternative, use empty boxes, labels from cans, food pictures, or plastic models. _ making
Ask students to label the items. summary
statements
Concentration: Have beginners help make a game of concentration. Cut out
food pictures and glue them on index cards. On separate cards, write corresponding
words to label each food item. To play, mix up the cards and place them facedown.
Students take turns flipping two cards to see if there is a match. They name the food
items pictured. If the cards match, they keep them. If there is no match, they place
the cards facedown, and the game resumes.

Food Pyramid: Introduce an illustrated food pyramid. Commercial posters are


available through school supply stores, and you can also find illustrations on the
Internet. For example, the USDA Web site MyPyramid.gov has a pyramid, as well
as excellent photos of many foods that can be used as a resource for vocabulary
development.

Home Languages and Cultures


What food items are common to the home cultures represented in your classroom?
What are some foods eaten during special times of the year? What are some
appropriate table manners or eating customs in the different cultures? Choose
a food topic of interest, and invite family members to share their expertise with
your classroom. Always check on food allergies and school policies about food
preparation before beginning a unit on food.

35
Partner Work
Is it a fruit?
Yes or No? Play a vocabulary-building guessing game. Using cards made for
Is it yellow? Concentration, under Vocabulary Development, one student selects a food card
(but does not disclose what it is). The partner may ask up to eight yes/no questions

Is it long?
to try to guess the food item. (See sample questions, left.) Yes/no questions can
be used successfully with beginners, as only a one-word answer is required. The
question itself allows the student to hear vocabulary and internalize it.
Is it round

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
like a ba ll? Reading and Writing Connections
Describing Words: Gather a variety of food items in a bag or box. Take each
item out one at a time and together fill out a chart (see sample, below) to describe
this food. Later, choose one food from the chart and show the students how to
write sentences using the attributes described in the chart—for example, “An apple
is a fruit. It is yellow, red, or green. It is round and small. It grows on trees. We can
eat it raw or cooked in a pie.” Have students choose a different food from the chart
and write sentences about it in their English journals.

Food Food Color Shape Size How/ How


Group Where It We Eat
Grows It

Apple Fruit Red Round Small, On Raw or


Yellow about trees cooked
Green the size (pie,
of a apple-
baseball sauce)

Using the Reproducible Pages


Name:

Do You Like . . .?
Date:

Foods
Do You Like . . .? (page 38)
Directions 1.
2.

3.
Read the Foods list. Add three more foods.
Choose four food words. Write them on
each chart under Food.
Interview two friends. Use a 3 to
green beans

ice cream

eggs
Model the intonation pattern for the interview question.
show their answers.

Use your hand to show the rising voice. Allow students to


rice

Interview Question

Do you like ?

I will interview: I will interview:


repeat after you several times. Later, show beginners how
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Food Yes No Food Yes No


to write statements with the information they gather—for
example, “Mark likes eggs. Mark does not like pizza.
Jillian likes rice and green beans. Jillian does not like
38
cheese.”

36
Name:

What Do You Like Best?


Date:
What Do You Like Best? (page 39)
Directions 1.
2.
3.
Look at the foods pictured below. Add three more choices for number 5.
A sk the interview question by naming the three foods in each line.
Interview 10 classmates. Use tallies next to each picture for their answers.
This forced-choice interview will help early intermediates
Interview Question

What do you like best?


narrow the focus of the interview. Remind students that the
Do you like , ,

or ?
word best is used when there are three or more items. Have
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

them complete the question by naming the three items


1.

2.

3.
pictured in each row. Teach students to pause after the first
question (What do you like best?) and have them practice
4.

5.

39
the inflection of the second question (Do you like __, __, or
__?), noticing that the voice drops after the word or.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Name: Date: Pizza Toppings (page 40)


Pizza Toppings I interviewed:

1.
Directions

Interview 10 classmates. 2.
1. Introduce or review the meaning of the word prefer. Model
the intonation pattern for this interview question, pausing
2. Use tallies to show their answers.
3.
3. Count the tallies and write the total.
4.
5.
6.

Interview Question
7.
8. after the word pizza, then continuing with the question.
9.

Remind students that the voice drops after the word or.
What do you prefer on your pizza:
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

pepperoni, mushrooms, or broccoli?


10.

Total
Toppings Tallies
Number

pepperoni After the interview, provide intermediate students


mushrooms
with several examples of summary statements, then have
them write their own—for example, “I interviewed 10
broccoli

40

students. Two students like broccoli on their pizza. Three


like mushrooms, and five like pepperoni.”

Name:

Hot Lunch Survey


Date:
Hot Lunch Survey (page 41)
1.
Directions

F ill in the interview question with three


Your entire class may become interested in surveying
hot lunches served at your school. Interview Question

others. For example, what do all the fourth graders say


2. Write your choices under Hot Lunch.
Which hot lunch do you like best:
3. Interview your classmates. Use tallies to
show their answers.
4. Count the tallies and write the total. ,

or
,

?
about school lunches? Which do they like best: chicken
strips, hamburgers, or sloppy Joes (or other choices
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Hot Lunch Tallies Total Number

appropriate to your school)? Help students organize so


that they will interview different groups of children.
41
Students can then combine their information to create
a bar graph. (See sample, right.) To prepare, have them
add up all the tallies for each category (such as chicken
strips, hamburgers, and sloppy Joes). Ask questions to
help students analyze their data.
] Which lunch do students like best?
] Do more students like or ?
] How many more students prefer than
?

37
Name: Date:

Do You Like . . .? Foods

Directions 1. Read the Foods list. Add three more foods. green beans
2.  hoose four food words. Write them on 
C
ice cream
each chart under Food.
3. Interview two friends. Use a 3 to  eggs
show their answers.
rice

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Interview Question

Do you like ?

I will interview: I will interview:

Food Yes No Food Yes No

38
Name: Date:

What Do You Like Best?


Directions 1. Look at the foods pictured below. Add three more choices for number 5.
2. A sk the interview question by naming the three foods in each line.
3. Interview 10 classmates. Use tallies next to each picture for their answers.

Interview Question
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

What do you like best?

Do you like , ,

or ?

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

39
Name: Date:

Pizza Toppings I interviewed:



Directions
1.
1. Interview 10 classmates. 2.
2. Use tallies to show their answers.
3.
3. Count the tallies and write the total.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Interview Question
9.
What do you prefer on your pizza:
pepperoni, mushrooms, or broccoli?
10.

Total
Toppings Tallies
Number

pepperoni

mushrooms

broccoli

40
Name: Date:

Hot Lunch Survey


Directions

1. F ill in the interview question with three


hot lunches served at your school. Interview Question
2. Write your choices under Hot Lunch.
Which hot lunch do you like best:
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

3. Interview your classmates. Use tallies to


show their answers.
4. Count the tallies and write the total. ,

or ?

Hot Lunch Tallies Total Number

41
Abilities
unit skills
_ stating abilities

_ understanding
E nglish l anguage le ar ner s want to be seen as capable
individuals and to feel part of the group. Classroom activities
that involve ELLs stating their abilities often serve to buffer
multiple
insecurities created by language and cultural barriers. In this unit,
meanings

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
children think, talk, and write about their abilities while also learning
_ using a Venn
diagram about their classmates.
_ comparing and
contrasting
Vocabulary Development
_ making
summary Multiple Meanings: Explain to beginners the multiple meanings of the word
statements can. Show children a can of pop or a can of soup. Then, explain that the word
can is used informally for asking permission (Can we go outside?) and also for
expressing ability (I can play the piano.) Later in the week, introduce the word
cannot. Use some outrageous examples to make the lesson fun—for example,
“Can Mrs. Miller eat this table? No, she cannot! What can she eat?” Some of your
students may want to make up funny questions or statements, too.

Home Languages and Cultures


Ask bilingual tutors or volunteers to talk with children about their abilities.
Together with the children they can make a chart by folding construction paper
in fourths. In each square on both sides of the paper (front and back for a total
of eight squares), children draw or write about their abilities in math, sports, art,
music, and other areas. The tutors might also teach children how to articulate
in English some of the abilities that are more abstract or difficult to picture (for
example, telling jokes). Have them clip this work in their English journals for you
eow.
A cat ca n m
to review with them.

Partner Work
A cat can fly.
Silly Statements: Ask more proficient students to work with beginners to
play a speaking game. The partner makes statements and the beginner responds
Our class by saying “yes” or “no.” Silly or outrageous statements make this a fun activity.

can jump on You may want to prepare a list of sentences to help students get started. (See

desks.
samples, left.)

42
Reading and Writing Connections
Sharing Talents: Invite all the children in your class to share about their
abilities. They may draw a picture and use it to tell about one of their talents.
This is a good opportunity to explore abilities and attributes that may be non-
physical (such as telling funny jokes, speaking two languages, doing quick mental
computations). After this discussion, elicit single statements about students’
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

abilities—for example, “Mandy can play the piano.” Experienced English speakers
will have more elaborate language, while beginners will use simple patterns. Write
their dictated sentences on a large chart.
Be sure to reread the chart several times with students. Call on groups of
volunteers or individuals to read, as well. Point out conjunctions and other features
you want to highlight. Later, use the chart in follow-up activities. Ask questions,
and have beginners or struggling readers scan the chart to find answers. For
example, ask: “What can Marta do? How many languages can Tomás speak? Who
can tell jokes?”

Can I? Encourage beginners to write “I can” and “I cannot” statements in their


English journals. For those who need lots of visual support, provide pictures, such
as those on page 45, or pictures cut from magazines or old workbooks. Students
paste the pictures in their English notebooks and write corresponding statements.
Give children time to read their sentences to one another.

Using the Reproducible Pages


Name:

Can You . . .?
Date:
Can You . . .? (page 45)
Directions 1.
2.
Cut out the pictures. Glue one picture in each box.
Choose four friends to interview. Write their names in the spaces. Teach beginners the rising inflection for the
Jorge interviewed five
3. Circle Yes or No for their answers.

Can you . . . Can you . . .


question “Can you . . .?” Use your hand in an
students.
? ?

Name

Yes No Yes No
ascending motion to show how your voice goes
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Yes No Yes No

Yes

Yes
No

No
Yes

Yes
No

No
up at the end of the question. Next, review the Three of five students can
pictures on page 45, and help students identify ride a skateboard.
the actions. Direct them to choose two pictures,
45
cut them out, and paste them on the interview One of five students can
form under “Can you . . .” Let them practice play the piano.
asking one another the questions before you have
them interview four classmates. (You may also show students
As a follow-up, work with children on sharing how to express “None of the
oral reports. Model the language needed by writing students . . .” and “All of the
a sample on chart paper. (See sample, right.) students . . .”)
Children can repeat this activity, using different
pictures to create new interview questions.
43
Name: Date:
I Can, You Can, We Can (page 46)

46
I Can, You Can, We Can

1.
Directions

Talk with your


Tell students they will use a special picture or
I Can
(but my partner can’t)
You Can
(but I can’t)

diagram to record their answers for this activity.


partner about
the things he or We Can
she can do.
2.  n the left side,
O
write the things
that you can do

The answers they write down will depend on what


but your partner
can’t.
3. On the right side,
write the things
that your partner
can do but you

they find out, by taking turns and asking each other


can’t.
4. In the center,
write the things
that both of you
can do.

questions. Show students the three parts of the


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Venn diagram. On the left side they record what


they themselves can do and on the right side what their
Example:
partner can do. In the overlapping area, they record what

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
both can do. Explain that “both” means the two people
I can (but my You can who are working on the activity. It is important to model
partner can’t) We can (but I can’t)
this activity by role-playing with one or more students.
speak use the play guitar Record answers on a Venn diagram you have drawn on
Portuguese computer chart paper (see sample, left) so all can see your example.
play chess
play the piano ride a bike To get started, help children think of items to discuss
swim (such as rollerblading, skiing, playing soccer).
As students complete this interview activity, circulate
among them, asking them questions such as: “What did
you learn about your classmate?” “What can both of you
do?” “Brian, what can you do that Shana can’t do?”
As a follow-up, encourage students to create and conduct their own surveys.
First, discuss with them what they would like to know about another group
(such as another same-grade class). They might decide to ask if students play an
instrument, play a team sport, or speak a second language. Will they ask a follow-
up question, such as which sport, instrument, or language? After they decide on
the subject, have them formulate the question or questions. Next, they need to
decide how they will record the answers.
Be sure to make arrangements for the children to visit another classroom.
Prepare your students as to how to greet the teacher and request to interview the
class. Later, the interviewers should work together to interpret their data and put
together a summary. They can publish their findings in the class newsletter or on a
bulletin board.

Name: Date:
At Home, Outside, At School (page 47)
At Home, Outside, At School At Home

1.
Directions

Think of the many things you can do.


Students who need more reinforcement with the
language in this unit may work on this page. Ask
2. Draw a picture in each circle.
3. Tell a partner about your pictures.
4. Write a sentence for each picture.

them to draw pictures of something they can do at


Outside

At School

home, something they can do outside, and something


they can do well in school. Later, ask them to work
47

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

with a parent volunteer and talk about their pictures.

44
Name: Date:

Can You . . .?
Directions 1. Cut out the pictures. Glue one picture in each box.
2. Choose four friends to interview. Write their names in the spaces.
3. Circle Yes or No for their answers.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Can you . . . Can you . . .

? ?

Name

Yes No Yes No

Yes No Yes No

Yes No Yes No

Yes No Yes No

45
Name: Date:

46
I Can, You Can, We Can
Directions
I Can You Can
1. T alk with your (but my partner can’t) (but I can’t)
partner about
the things he or We Can
she can do.
2.  n the left side,
O
write the things
that you can do
but your partner
can’t.
3.  n the right side,
O
write the things
that your partner
can do but you
can’t.
4. In the center,
write the things
that both of you
can do.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Name: Date:

At Home, Outside, At School At Home


Directions

1. Think of the many things you can do.


2. Draw a picture in each circle.
3. Tell a partner about your pictures.
4. Write a sentence for each picture.

Outside

At School

47
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Favorites
unit skills
_ using a picture
dictionary
C hoosing “ favorites ” plays a part in developing
long-term interests in life. It can sharpen students’ knowledge
and skills on a subject and lead to expertise. In this unit, children
_ stating
personal
are given opportunities to make decisions and state preferences. They

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
preferences learn to state reasons for having specific favorites.
_ giving
information

_ summarizing Vocabulary Development


_ stating a
Favorites Flip Chart: Show students
reason
how to make a flip chart to show their
_ making a favorites. Have them cut out (or draw)
graph pictures that represent favorites in
different categories—for example, Food,
Color, and Animal, then glue them on
a sheet of posterboard. Each picture is
then covered with an appropriately sized
index card with the category name on
it. Students secure the upper edge of the
card to the posterboard, creating a flap
that can be lifted up to reveal the picture
underneath. A photo of the student can
go in the center of the chart.

Chain Game: Play a “chain drill” game. Have children sit in a circle with their
flip charts. Ask questions that everyone has addressed in their flip charts. Say,
“My favorite color is blue. What is your favorite color?” Proceed around the circle,
giving everyone a chance to speak and to lift the flap, revealing his or her answer.
Then start with another favorite, such as animal or food.

His and Her Favorites: Use the favorites flip charts to demonstrate possessive
pronouns. For example, use a girl’s chart to say: “Maria’s favorite color is red.
Her favorite animal is a dog. What is her favorite game?” Lift the flap, and let
students look for the picture clue. Repeat with examples to model use of the
pronoun his. Then use the flip charts of several children with a common favorite
to teach use of the pronoun their. (“What is their favorite animal? Their favorite
animal is a horse.”)

48
Home Languages and Cultures
Invite ELL parents to share a favorite story or picture book in their native
language. You may want to encourage them to bring pictures or artifacts to make
their lesson come alive. Give them guidelines (keep the story under five minutes,
or summarize long portions from the picture book instead of reading every word).
Remind them they can point, gesture, draw sketches on the whiteboard, and so on
to make themselves understood.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

This kind of experience will help your native English speakers appreciate
the effort it takes to understand another language. They may begin to sense the
struggles beginning ELLs face every day in school.

Partner Work
Bingo: Have proficient students partner with beginning ELL students to play
bingo and lotto games. There are many commercially prepared games that involve
colors, numbers, foods, animals, and so forth.

Share Favorites: Encourage beginners to share their favorites flip chart (see
page 48) with their partner. Partners can name their favorites, as well. To make
themselves understood, they can use a picture dictionary, pantomime, or draw
quick sketches.

Reading and Writing Connections


Three Reasons Chart: As children share about their favorites, discuss
reasons for their choices and list them on a chart. Then show students how
to make a “Three Reasons” chart. (See sample, right.)

1. Ask children to think of an item that is special to them. The item


doesn’t need to be big or fancy, but it should have a special meaning.
Give several personal examples, such as a shell, a photo, or a book.

2. On chart paper, draw a large triangle. Inside it, tell about one of your
items using a phrase such as “My ______ is special because . . ..”

3. On each side of the triangle write a reason the item is special. To help
children think of specific reasons, provide prompts, such as “What is
your item used for? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What do you
think about when you see it (hold it, use it)?”

49
Using the Reproducible Pages
Name: Date:
What’s Your Favorite? (page 51)
What’s Your Favorite?

1.
Directions
Choose a word from theWords list to
What’s your favorite
Favorite
Dog

Cat
animal/pet ?
Tallies
llll ll
Number
7
Although this is a simple question, the interviewer must have a large enough
llll
complete the interview question. 5

vocabulary to understand possible responses. Picture dictionaries can be used as


Fish
lll
2. List possible choices under Favorite. 3

3. Interview your classmates. Use tallies to


show their answers. Words
4. Count the tallies and write the totals. color
sport

a reference tool. To make students’ preparation easier, you may have them narrow
animal/pet
music

Interview Question

the scope of the question—for example, modifying “What’s your favorite animal?”
What’s your favorite ?
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Favorite Tallies Total Number

to “What’s your favorite pet?”


As an extension, have students work with their data, for example, listing the

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
51
items from most favorite to least favorite. They may also use the same interview
question with a different group of students (such as students in a different class or
grade), and then compare their results.

Name: Date:
Favorite Story (page 52)
Favorite Story
Directions 1.
2.
Interview a classmate.
Write your friend’s answers on the lines.
Give intermediates a more challenging task by asking them to quiz classmates
about a favorite story. Prepare them for the activity by modeling the questions
I will interview:

Interview Questions

with them and discussing possible ways to answer them. To make this activity
1. What is your favorite story?

Why?

less difficult, you might limit the possible choices to recent books or stories read
2. Who are the characters?
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

3. Where does the story take place?

4. What is the problem in the story?

5. Tell me something important that happens in the story.


in class.
6. Tell me something more that happens in the story.
After the interviews, let your intermediates meet to share their information.
52
Were there any stories that stood out as favorites? What were they? What were the
reasons given? Did they agree or disagree with the students they interviewed? Ask
them to be prepared to discuss these questions with you.

Name: Date:
Treats (page 53) Interviewer Cookies Fruit Chips Cheese Other
Treats
Directions
1. Complete the interview question by writing one more treat.
Work with your intermediate Timour 5 1 0 0 1
2.

ELLs on this interview. Model


Write each treat on the chart.
3. Interview your classmates. Use tallies for their answers.
4. Count the tallies and write the totals.
Eli 2 2 0 0 1
Interview Question

cookies, fruit, chips, cheese, or


Which treat do you like the best:

?
the intonation for the interview Maria 1 1 2 2 0

question (“Which treat do you


Treat Tallies Total Number
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Tomoko 3 0 3 1 0
like the best: cookies, fruit, Total 11 4 5 3 2
chips, cheese, or _______?”).
53
Teach them to pause after the word best, and show them how your voice drops
after or. To make the activity less time-consuming, divide the class into groups
that correspond to the number of interviewers. Together, the interviewers decide
what the fifth treat will be and write it on their interview page. Once interviewers
have completed their surveys, help them compile all the data onto an overhead
transparency. (See sample chart, above.) They total the results for each category,
as shown. Display the information and have the class create a bar graph using
this data. (See sample, left.) Be sure to have students explain or interpret their
completed graph.
50
Name: Date:

What’s Your Favorite?


What’s your favo
rite animal/pet ?
Directions Favorite
Tallies Number
Dog
llll ll
1. Choose a word from the Words list to Cat
7
llll
complete the interview question. 5
Fish
lll
2. List possible choices under Favorite. 3

3. Interview your classmates. Use tallies to


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

show their answers. Words


4. Count the tallies and write the totals. color
sport
animal/pet
music

Interview Question

What’s your favorite ?

Favorite Tallies Total Number

51
Name: Date:

Favorite Story
Directions 1. Interview a classmate.
2. Write your friend’s answers on the lines.

I will interview:

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Interview Questions

1. What is your favorite story? 

Why?

2. Who are the characters?

3. Where does the story take place?

4. What is the problem in the story?

5. Tell me something important that happens in the story.

6. Tell me something more that happens in the story.

52
Name: Date:

Treats
Directions
1. Complete the interview question by writing one more treat.
2. Write each treat on the chart.
3. Interview your classmates. Use tallies for their answers.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

4. Count the tallies and write the totals.

Interview Question

Which treat do you like the best:

cookies, fruit, chips, cheese, or ?

Treat Tallies Total Number

53
Having Fun
unit skills
_ naming action
words
H av ing fun is an essenti al
part of life, and it also facilitates
language acquisition. Fun activities motivate
_ categorizing us and add sparkle to our lives. Children

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
enjoy talking about the activities that
_ creating scales
interest them. It is one way to engage them in meaningful interaction,
_ summarizing
and it can serve as a useful springboard to learning.
_ illustrating
and writing
captions

_ using a
graphic Vocabulary Development
organizer
Action-Word Wall Chart: Invite all your students to bring photos from home
to write
showing what they do for fun. Have access to a camera in the classroom to take
sentences
photos of students who are unable to bring one from home. Use these photos for
_ writing poems language development. Pair newcomers and beginners with partners who can
help identify the activities, which might include swimming, painting, and skating.
Encourage ELLs to bring photos that show examples of favorite activities in their
home countries, which might be different from activities here. Make a wall chart
with action words based on students’ photos (and other words for activities they
enjoy). Throughout the week, add words to the chart, and let students illustrate
them with quick line drawings.

Adding Endings: Teach intermediates that action verbs change meaning (to
become nouns) when -er or -r is added to the end. For example, skate changes to
skater, or someone who skates. On chart paper, create a graphic organizer. (See
sample, below.) Have
children reproduce it in
their English journals Action Verb + er/r
and add to it during
the week. Go over the a person who
walk walker
spelling rule for doubling walks
the consonant when a person who
run runner
adding an ending to short runs
vowel words such as swim a person who
drum drummer
(swimmer), run (runner), drums
and drum (drummer). a person who
skate skater
skates

54
Home Languages and Cultures
Invite family members to show the entire class how to play a game from their
culture (such as circle games, simple board games, or an activity with a simple toy).
If there are several guests, let them work with small groups. Later, ask children to
compare and contrast games from their own backgrounds with those they learned
from the family members. Were there any similarities? Any differences? Did
knowing about a similar game help them understand the new game?
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Partner Work
Guess My Action: Have beginners choose words from the Action Word Wall
Chart (see page 54), and copy one word per index card. Have pairs of students play walk
a pantomime game with another pair of partners. They take turns drawing a card, run
reading the word silently, then miming the action for a teammate. If the partner
guesses, he gets the card. The team with the most cards wins. Make this more
challenging by timing the game. s k a te

Free-Time Word Sort: Give students who need more language reinforcement
pictures to sort. Choose pictures that represent free-time activities, such as those
on page 45. Help students identify each picture. Then, have them fold a separate
sheet of paper in thirds to create a three-column chart. (They can draw lines if
desired.) They write a heading for each section: By Myself, With a Friend, and As a
Team. Next, they sort the pictures on the chart and glue them in place. Later, ask
them to share the page with a partner.

Reading and Writing Connections


Sentence Starters: Give beginners sentence patterns to copy and complete in
their English journals. (See samples, below.) They can use pictures for ideas and
visual support (such as those on page 45 or pictures cut from magazines or old
workbooks). After students complete their sentences, invite them to read their
work to a partner.

I have fun when I _____________.

My family has fun when we _____________.

In school, I have fun when I _____________.

55
Using the Reproducible Pages
Name: Date:
Having Fun (page 58)
Having Fun Activities

Directions
play baseball
read
dance
play soccer
Model how to ask the question (“Do you
1. Read the Activities list. Add three watch TV

like to…?”) with a rising intonation by using


more activities. draw pictures
2. Choose an activity to complete each go shopping
interview question.
3. Interview a friend. Circle “Yes” or “No”
to show your friend’s answers.

I will interview: your hand to indicate how your voice rises.


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources
Interview Questions Answers

1. Do you like to ? Yes No


Tell students to use their Action Word Wall
2. Do you like to ? Yes No

3. Do you like to ? Yes No


Chart (see page 54) or a picture dictionary if

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
4. Do you like to

5. Do you like to
?

?
Yes

Yes
No

No
they need help finding other activities. Once
58
they have completed the interview, they
use the information to make a simple chart
about their friend. (See sample, right.)

Name:

What Do You Do to Have Fun?


Date:
What Do You Do to Have Fun? (page 59)
1.
2.
Directions

Read each question. Give an answer for each.


Interview two classmates. Write their answers
on the lines.
I will interview: Have students prepare for the interview by first answering the interview
Interview Questions

1. What do you do to have fun on the weekend?


questions themselves. Then have them interview two classmates. After the
interview, discuss results. Are classmates’ answers similar to theirs? Were
My answer:

Classmate 1:

Classmate 2:
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

2. What do you do to have fun after school?

My answer:
there any interesting or surprising responses?
Classmate 1:

Classmate 2:
Later, have students choose a fun activity as a topic for a cinquain poem.
3. What do you do to have fun with your family?

My answer:

Classmate 1:
Brainstorm words related to an activity,
Classmate 2:

59
and list them on chart paper or a Soccer
whiteboard. Use words from the list as Move fast
you demonstrate how to write a cinquain Throwing, running, passing
poem. (See sample, right.) Revise and
Hurry, kick the ball!
edit as you go along, so children see the
Goal!
process. Provide students with a template
for writing cinquain poems.

Line 1: title
(a subject or noun)

Line 2: two descriptive


words about the subject

Line 3: three verbs


ending in -ing

Line 4: four words about the subject,


usually feelings or a sentence

Line 5: a one-word synonym for the


title, or a word related to it
56
Name: Date:
Which Do You Like the Most? (page 60)
Which Do You Like the Most?
Directions 1.
2.
Read the Activities list. Add two more.
Choose any three activities. Write them Activities
Before assigning this activity, remind students that the
on the lines in the interview question.

word most is used when comparing three or more things.


3. Write the activities in the tally table going to parties
under Activity. listening to music
4. Interview your classmates. Use tallies riding a bike
to show their answers. Count the tallies
and write the total. playing with friends

After completing the interview,


have students design a scale, such
Interview Questions
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Which do you like most: , ,

or ?

Activity Tallies Total Number


as the one at right.
1.

2. Next, ask students to


summarize their findings—for
3.

60

example, “Two students like


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

listening to music. Five students


like going to parties. Ten students
like playing outside. The most
popular activity is playing
outside.”

Name:

Hobbies
Date:
Hobbies (page 61) teaching
Intermediates in your class can work in pairs to
Hobbies are fun things people do when they have free

Tip
time. Some examples are: collecting stamps, building
model airplanes, collecting dolls, and writing songs.

Directions

interview each other about their hobbies. They can use


Interview a friend about his or her hobbies.

I will interview:

Interview Questions

1. What is your hobby?


this interview as a guide to write a short report on their
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

friend’s hobbies. Help them revise rough drafts and have


2. When did you start this hobby?

3. What do you need for your hobby?

Remember that
4. Does anyone help you with your hobby? them proofread their work. Give them an opportunity to
Who?
more open-
share their reports with small groups of children.
ended questions
5. Why do you like your hobby?

Make a classroom display of hobbies represented by all


(such as in the
61

the children in your room. With permission from home, interview activity
students may bring, for instance, a piece of equipment Hobbies) require
to share about their sport, samples of their collections, a sophisticated
examples of their crafts, or photos. Be sure to ask students level of language
to label the displays with key words. because the
To go further, invite students to interview school answers can be
staff about what they do for fun. What does the school freewheeling
principal, custodian, or secretary do for fun on the and may contain
weekends? Volunteers may work in pairs to interview unknown elements.
school workers. Students formulate the question or At the same time,
more challenging
questions and practice with each other before conducting
exchanges will help
their interviews. They should also practice requesting an
the intermediates
interview, and stating a reason for doing so. Give students
take risks and
time to report back to the entire class.
develop their skills.

57
Name: Date:

Having Fun Activities

play baseball
read
dance
Directions
play soccer
1. Read the Activities list. Add three  watch TV

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
more activities. draw pictures
2. Choose an activity to complete each go shopping
interview question.
3. Interview a friend. Circle “Yes” or “No” 
to show your friend’s answers.

I will interview:

Interview Questions Answers


1. Do you like to ? Yes No

2. Do you like to ? Yes No

3. Do you like to ? Yes No

4. Do you like to ? Yes No

5. Do you like to ? Yes No

58
Name: Date:

What Do You Do to Have Fun?


Directions

1. Read each question. Give an answer for each. I will interview:


2. Interview two classmates. Write their answers
on the lines.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Interview Questions

1. What do you do to have fun on the weekend?

My answer: 

Classmate 1: 

Classmate 2:

2. What do you do to have fun after school?

My answer: 

Classmate 1: 

Classmate 2:

3. What do you do to have fun with your family?

My answer: 

Classmate 1: 

Classmate 2:

59
Name: Date:

Which Do You Like the Most?


Directions 1. Read the Activities list. Add two more.
2.  hoose any three activities. Write them 
C Activities
on the lines in the interview question.
3.  rite the activities in the tally table 
W going to parties
under Activity. listening to music

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
4. Interview your classmates. Use tallies  riding a bike
to show their answers. Count the tallies 
and write the total. playing with friends


Interview Questions

Which do you like most: , ,

or ?

Activity Tallies Total Number

1.

2.

3.

60
Name: Date:

Hobbies
Hobbies are fun things people do when they have free
time. Some examples are: collecting stamps, building
model airplanes, collecting dolls, and writing songs.

Directions
Interview a friend about his or her hobbies.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

I will interview:

Interview Questions

1. What is your hobby?

2. When did you start this hobby?

3. What do you need for your hobby?

4. Does anyone help you with your hobby? 

Who?

5. Why do you like your hobby? 

61
Routines and Schedules
unit skills
_ telling time

_ categorizing
S chool and cl assroom routines eventually become
automatic, freeing teachers and students to concentrate on
content. Schedules help organize the day and learning tasks. In this
_ using a unit, children will work on functional skills such as telling time,
calendar

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
reading schedules, and using calendars for planning and organization.
_ using a
timeline

_ reading a
schedule
Vocabulary Development
_ giving personal Telling Time: Help beginning ELLs develop language for telling time. Have
information them make paper-plate clocks and practice showing and telling various times.
_ sequencing
Calendar Words: Use the class monthly calendar to teach words such as
_ analyzing data yesterday, today, tomorrow, weekday, weekend, every day, every other day, and once a
_ creating a week. Practice two or three words at a time, and introduce new ones as appropriate.
pictograph
Home Languages and Cultures
Ask bilingual tutors to discuss several useful meanings for the word time
or times, such as:
] what the clock shows (What time is it?)
] multiplication (5 x 3; five times three)
] not late (as in “on time”)
] repeated actions (clap three times)

Intermediates will need to pay special attention to words with multiple


meanings, as they can interfere with comprehension. Encourage them to keep a list
in their English journals, adding to it during the year.

Partner Work
Give students long sheets of construction paper. Have them design a timeline of
their daily activities. (See sample, left.) Next, partners interview each other with
questions such as “When do you do your homework?” Model the language patterns
as needed to get them started.

62
Reading and Writing Connections
Daily Activity Fill-Ins: After the partner work, have beginners make entries
in their English journals about their daily activities. Give less experienced students
teaching
sentence starters such as “I wake up at ______. I eat lunch at ______.”

Time Sort: Students write daily activities (such as “eat lunch”) on separate index
Tip
cards. Beginning students may sketch pictures to help them with comprehension. Many cultures use
Later, have students sort the pictures according to four time categories: In the military time (the
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

24-hour clock). Even


Morning, At Noon (12:00), In the Afternoon, and At Night. Have proficient
older students may
partners check their work.
need extra time to
mentally convert to
Past-Tense Pairs: In this unit, students will U.S. time.
Every day, Jake wakes
need to understand and use the past tense. With
up at 7 o’clock.
regular verbs, the -ed ending is used for past
tense, but there are many irregular verbs as well, Yesterday, Jake woke
especially the more frequently used verbs such up at 9:30!
as go/went, am/was, eat/ate. After students write
Irregular Verbs
sentences about everyday activities, they can
change them to indicate activity in the past. (See sample, right.) Present Past
am was
Flash Words: Show students how to make word cards for studying irregular
bring brought
past-tense verbs. (See samples, right.) On one side of an index card they write the
common present-tense verb, on the other side they write its irregular past tense. do did
To build flexibility in recall, they can study the cards two ways, by flashing the eat ate
present tense, then reversing and flashing the past tense. give gave
go went
Do and Did: Because questions in the past tense can be especially difficult, know knew
intermediate students will need practice in formulating them. Show them how
run ran
the word do signals past tense when it changes to did. The main verb (eat, in this
see saw
example) stays in its base form.
Do you eat breakfast every day? sit sat
If a question begins with the word
what, did (rather than do) comes take took
Did you eat breakfast yesterday?
next to indicate past tense. Use a throw threw
highlighter pen to emphasize past- wear wore
tense endings and the irregular forms. What did you eat for breakfast write wrote
Students especially enjoy hunting for yesterday?
these words and highlighting them in
their reading assignments.

63
Using the Reproducible Pages
Name: Date:
Do You . . .? (page 65)
Do You . . .?
Directions
A B
After students have demonstrated an understanding of time words, let them
1. To make an interview question, write an

choose words to complete the blanks on this interview worksheet. Check


action word from the A list on the first blank
(A), and time words from the B list on the play soccer every day 
second blank (B). watch TV  at night
go to movies after school
2.  se your question to interview five friends.
U
Write their names under Name. ride your bike on the weekends
ride the bus
3. Circle Yes or No to show their answers.

Do you
Interview Question

?
their inflection, and offer help with the dips and rising inflection in the
A B

question. When completed, students report in their English journals the


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Name Answers

1. Yes No

2. Yes No
information they collected—for example, “I interviewed five students. Two
3. Yes No

students go to the movies on the weekend. Three students do not go to the

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
4. Yes No

5. Yes No

65
movies on the weekend.”

Name: Date:
After School (page 66)
After School

1.
Directions

Read the interview question.


Have students interview their
classmates, then construct a
2. Interview all the students in your class. Ask for only one answer.
3. Use tallies to show the answers.
4. Count the tallies and write the totals.

Interview Question

What do you do after school?


pictograph with the information
Activity Tallies Total Number

they gather. First, they give


Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

eat a snack

take a nap

play outside

do homework
their graph a title, and list
call a friend

watch TV
the categories of after-school
66
other

activities vertically on the left


side of their page. Then, using
a stamp set or stickers, they
stamp or glue the number
of pictures that correspond
to their tally marks in the
interview data. If they have interviewed a large number of students, they
can create a key to represent a scale (for example, each symbol represents
two respondents; see sample at right).

Name: Date:
What Did You Do...? (page 67)
What Did You Do…?
Directions
Time
Help ELLs choose a time word to complete the survey question. Then they
1. Read the Time Words list. Choose one to complete Words

2.
3.
the interview question.
Use this question to interview five friends.
Write their names and answers on the lines.
last night

last Monday

yesterday after
interview five friends using that question. Have them write five sentences
school

What did you do


Interview Question

?
on your last
birthday

last weekend
with the information they learned. Remind students to pay attention to the
past tense, and ask them to check their work when finished.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

Name Activity

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

67

64
Name: Date:

Do You . . .?
Directions
1. T o make an interview question, write an
A B
action word from the A list on the first blank
(A), and time words from the B list on the play soccer every day
second blank (B). watch TV at night
go to movies after school
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

2.  se your question to interview five friends.


U
Write their names under Name. ride your bike on the weekends
ride the bus
3. Circle Yes or No to show their answers.

Interview Question

Do you ?
A B

Name Answers

1. Yes No

2. Yes No

3. Yes No

4. Yes No

5. Yes No

65
Name: Date:

After School
Directions

1. Read the interview question.


2. Interview all the students in your class. Ask for only one answer.
3. Use tallies to show the answers.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
4. Count the tallies and write the totals.

Interview Question

What do you do after school?

Activity Tallies Total Number

eat a snack

take a nap

play outside

do homework

call a friend

watch TV

other

66
Name: Date:

What Did You Do…?


Directions
Time
1.  ead the Time Words list. Choose one to complete 
R Words
the interview question.
2. Use this question to interview five friends. last night
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

3. Write their names and answers on the lines. last Monday

yesterday after
school

Interview Question on your last


birthday

last weekend
What did you do ?

Name Activity

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

67
Using Numbers
and Numerals
unit skills
It is e asy to ov er look the large part that language plays in
_ identifying our ability to develop and use mathematical concepts. In this unit,
numerals

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
English language learners work on hearing number words with
_ counting
understanding, using them in answering questions, comprehending
_ identifying oral and written problems, and developing basic math vocabulary.
coins and their
worth

_ making change

_ reading
Vocabulary Development
number words
Vocabulary for math is specialized. Almost any lesson in math will have concepts
_ writing number with accompanying specific language. If your students have prior knowledge
words of mathematics concepts, they may be able to transfer many of these skills into
_ estimating working with English. If, however, the math concepts are new, your students
will be faced with demanding cognitive skills and language development at the
same time. Carefully developing the concepts through manipulatives, concrete
experiences, and relevant examples will provide support for learning. Using math
terms and procedures consistently will create the predictability and redundancy
necessary to internalize new language.

teaching Confidence in Counting: Counting out loud

Tip is one way to develop oral skills in numbers.


Use a large hundreds chart (see sample, right)
to point to the numerals as you count, and
Note that students encourage students to join in. As they become
may have trouble more confident, vary the type of counting: count
distinguishing by tens, fives, twos, threes, and so on; count
between word
backward by ones, twos, threes, and fives; count
endings -teen and
on from one number to another given number.
-ty (for example,
fifteen and fifty).
They will need lots
What’s That Number? Do quick number dictation. Call out a number and
of opportunities have students write it. Give immediate feedback and proceed with several other
to hear and numbers. Continue this kind of daily practice until students develop strong
understand these listening skills. Extend the dictation to include large numbers, such as 2,485 and
number words. 98,117.

68
Home Languages and Cultures teaching
As part of the learning process for all, invite ELLs to create charts (for example,
1–20) of their country’s numeric systems. When they share their charts with the
Tip
class, they can count to 10 in their home language, or by tens to 100. Some may be How many? How
willing to demonstrate how to write non-Arabic numerals. much? Students
may need to
practice identifying
Partner Work
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

when to use these


phrases. “How
Find That Numeral: Give each pair of students a copy of a hundreds chart. many?” is used for
(See page 68.) The helper calls out numbers one by one in random order and nouns that can be
his partner points to them on the hundreds chart. Later, helpers can do quick counted, such as
dictations of numbers, while ELLs write them. Make sure they are given immediate pencils, desks, and
feedback on their work. sandwiches. “How
much?” is used for
What Can You Buy With 50 Dollars? Give students 50 dollars (or any nouns that cannot
amount you find appropriate) in play money. Tell them to “go shopping” and buy be counted easily
what they can with that amount. Students look through magazines, newspaper (mass nouns), such
inserts, or catalogs, selecting and writing items with their prices. They must not as water, rice, and
exceed the given dollar amount. How much do they get in change? cheese. To practice,
have students fold a
sheet of paper, and
Reading and Writing Connections write “How Many?”
as a heading on
How Much Is It? Provide a variety of catalogues and “money” stamps. Have the left, and “How
ELLs cut out pictures of clothing, toys, or foods along with their prices. Next, Much?” on the right.
direct the students in folding a large piece of construction paper in fourths or Then have them cut
sixths. In each rectangle, they glue a picture and write the item’s cost. Underneath, out pictures and
the students stamp the appropriate amount of money. Write a sentence pattern paste them under
for students to fill in—for example, “The item costs [amount]. Give the clerk [use the appropriate
phrase to tell if
words for the amount].”
the picture shows
something they can
Problem Solving: Prepare word problems for the overhead. Give students time or cannot count.
to read the problem silently, then read it out loud. Use drawings or manipulatives
and talk through the thinking process for solving the problem. As you go along,
highlight key words that might indicate the operation to be used. Explain to the
students that they always need to think through the problem because sometimes
the words will call for a different operation. Together with the students, create a
classroom chart of key words.

69
Using the Reproducible Pages
Name: Date:
What’s Your Estimate? (page 71)
What’s Your Estimate?
Directions
Fill a small jar with pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Ask ELLs, “How
much money is in the jar? What’s your estimate?” Suggest a minimum and a
1.  ake an estimate of how much money
M
is in the jar. Write it on the line.
2. A sk five classmates the interview question.
3. Write their answers next to their names. My estimate is .

Interview Question

What is your estimate?


maximum amount to reduce the range of estimates and eliminate unrealistic
Name Estimate

guesses. You might also restrict answers to the nearest dollar. Let students
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

1.

2.
write their own estimate on the worksheet. Next, they interview classmates
3.

and record their answers. When completed, have ELLs group the coins and

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
4.

5.

71
count the money. Show them how to make a frequency diagram using the
data they gathered. First, draw a horizontal line, marking off values. Place
x’s to indicate the respondents’ estimates. (See sample, below.)

Together with the whole class, discuss strategies for estimating. Provide a
variety of estimation problems for further practice.
As an extension, estimate distances and time. For example, have children
estimate the distance from the classroom to another place in the building,
such as the gym. They can then check their estimates by counting the paces.
Some paces are different than others. Can distance be measured another
way? To estimate time, ask questions such as: “How long does it take to
count to 100?” Give students a stopwatch so they can check themselves.

Name: Date: How Many Hours? (page 72)


How Many Hours?

1.
Directions

Read the Activities list. Add one more.


Activities
Tell students that the word about in this interview question asks the
2.  hoose one of the choices and complete
C

respondent for an estimate of hours. The tally table has a range of hours as
practice a musical instrument
the interview question.
work on homework
3. Interview at least 15 classmates.
Use tallies for their answers. play a sport
4. Count the tallies and write the totals. play video games

responses. Give examples and let students practice before they conduct the
Interview Question

interviews. Have them report the data they gather to the entire class.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

About how many hours do you

each week?

Hours: 1 or less 2 or 3 4 or 5 6 or 7 8 or more


As an extension, together with your class decide on an estimation
Tallies:

problem similar to the one suggested in What’s Your Estimate? (above)—for


Total:

72 example, guessing how many beans, hard candies, or counters are in a clear
container. Challenge other classes to make estimates, and send students out
to gather their answers. As an incentive, announce a small reward for the
best estimate.

70
Name: Date:

What’s Your Estimate?


Directions

1.  ake an estimate of how much money 


M
is in the jar. Write it on the line.
2. A sk five classmates the interview question.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

3. Write their answers next to their names. My estimate is .

Interview Question

What is your estimate?

Name Estimate

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

71
Name: Date:

How Many Hours?


Directions

Activities
1. Read the Activities list. Add one more.
2. Choose one of the choices and complete practice a musical instrument
the interview question.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
work on homework
3. Interview at least 15 classmates. 
Use tallies for their answers. play a sport
4. Count the tallies and write the totals. play video games

Interview Question

About how many hours do you

each week?

Hours: 1 or less 2 or 3 4 or 5 6 or 7 8 or more

Tallies:

Total:

72
Family

F or most of us , families form the core of our identity,


giving us a sense of belonging and security. No wonder,
then, that this topic affords abundant opportunities to engage in
unit skills
_ making a word
cluster
meaningful interaction. In this unit, children will interview a family
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

_ using a
member to learn about, develop, and share a family story. graphic
organizer

_ describing
one’s family
Vocabulary Development
_ writing a
Family Names: Invite families to send family photos to school. As an paragraph
alternative, children may draw or sketch pictures of their families or other _ telling a story
important people in their lives. Encourage children to share about their pictures.
Reinforce vocabulary with beginners by pointing to people in the photos and
asking questions such as “Who is she? Is she your grandmother?” Have children
make a chart for names of family members (grandmother, brother, and so on). They
may expand this activity by writing captions for their photos.

Home Languages and Cultures


Enlist bilingual tutors to prepare students for the Family Story activity. (See page
74.) Have them explain the assignment and review the question prompts. Once
children complete the story map with their families, the tutors can help students
write their stories in simple English.

Partner Work
Who in your Mother Father Sister Brother Grandma Other
Family Activities: Give beginners family . . .

a graphic organizer such as the sample reads a


newspaper?
shown at right. Adapt the chart headings
cooks dinner?
to correspond to your students. Have
listens to the
students work with a more proficient radio?
partner to understand the activities listed rides the bus?

in the left column. Then they check the watches TV?


activities for each family member.
plays soccer?

73
Reading and Writing Connections
Word Clusters: Model
how to create word Strong Tall
clusters related to family
members. (See sample,
right.) Students can then Speaks
Mechanic Dad Spanish
create their own word
clusters about someone

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
in their family.
Likes to Likes to tell
barbecue jokes

Using the Reproducible Pages


Name:

Family Album
Date:
Family Album (page 76)
Directions 1.
2.
Fill in the blanks to write about your family.
Take turns with a partner asking questions about your families. Invite children to write about their families by filling in the blanks of this
1. My family is
(what size: small, medium, or big?)
.
worksheet. Next, they create a paragraph by rewriting the sentences without
2.

my
(number)
people are in my family:

(list the people in your family, such as mother, brother, sister)


. the numbers. More proficient students may not need the structure of the
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

3. My

4. My
(family member)
’s name is

’s name is
.

.
worksheet and may create their own paragraphs about their families. Later,
(family member)

5. My family likes to together.


invite the children to read their Family Album into a tape recorder. Match
their pictures or photos (see Family Names, page 73) with the tapes, and
6. My helps me .
(family member)

7. My family is important to me because

76
place them in a listening center for all to enjoy.

Name:

Family Story
Date:
Family Story (page 77)
Most families have their own unique stories—for example, about funny or
Who?
Directions 1. F ill in each bubble with words or a
picture to tell a family story.
2. T ake turns with a partner asking
questions about each other’s story.

Where?
scary incidents. Share one of your family stories, modeling how to fill in the
When?
story map. Emphasize the parts of a story by answering the questions. Point
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

What Happened
First?
out that many stories have a problem for the character to solve. Brainstorm
a list of possible problems. Children will then interview a family member to
What Happened

Use the back of the


Next?
learn about one of their stories. They write notes or draw pictures on their
paper if you need

story maps to answer the questions. (You may enlarge page 77 to provide
more space.
77

students with more space.)


Once they complete their story map, have children work in pairs to
interview each other about their stories. Model how to ask questions based
on the story structure—for example:
] Who is your story about?
] Where did your story take place?
] When did this happen?
] What happened?
74
Encourage students to return to their story maps and
revise them as needed. Beginning ELLs will do this
activity with the help of their bilingual tutors. (See Home
Languages and Cultures, page 73). Later, guide beginners
in retelling their stories by pointing to their pictures,
asking questions, and helping them rephrase answers.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Name:

My Friend’s Family
Date:
My Friend’s Family (page 78)
Directions 1.

2.
Ask a classmate the
interview questions.
Write the answers
I will interview:
Role-play with your intermediates how to use follow-
on the lines.

Interview Questions up questions. Check students’ comprehension of the


1. How many people are in your family?

2. How many sisters do you have?


Name: Age: Grade:
question “Who else is in your family?” Discuss possible
Name: Age: Grade:
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

(Use the back of the paper if you need more space.)

3. How many brothers do you have?


answers to the last question. “What does your family like
Name: Age: Grade:

Name:

(Use the back of the paper if you need more space.)


Age: Grade:

to do together?”
4. Who else is in your family?

5. What does your family like to do together?


Help beginners write three or four simpler questions
78
to ask. Let them practice with each other before they
interview other classmates. Since they will need more
support in writing activities, post a chart with sentence
frames to guide them. (See sample, below.)

My Friend’s Family I interviewed .

1. ’s family is (small/big).
(friend’s name)

2. people are in family.


(number) (his/her)

3. has a , , and .
(He/She)

4. family likes to together.


(His/Her)

Name: Date:
Helping Your Family (page 79)
Helping Your Family
Directions 1.
2.
Read the interview questions.
Write your own answers for them.
Help your intermediates understand chores as jobs or
3.  sk a classmate the same questions.
A

responsibilities within the family. Have students begin by


Write the answers on the lines.

Interview Questions

1. Who do you help in your family? 2. How do you help?

My answer: My answer:

answering the questions themselves, then interviewing


a partner. Later, have them group chores and other
My classmate’s answer: My classmate’s answer:
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © 2009 by Katherine Maitland Scholastic Teaching Resources

3. What other chores do you do?

My answer:
4. What do you like about helping?

My answer:
responses into categories. What were some common
My classmate’s answer: My classmate’s answer: chores? Were there any unusual chores?
79

75
Name: Date:

Family Album
Directions 1. Fill in the blanks to write about your family.
2. Take turns with a partner asking questions about your families.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

1. My family is .
(what size: small, medium, or big?)

2.  people are in my family: 


(number)

my .
(list the people in your family, such as mother, brother, sister)

3. My ’s name is .
(family member)

4. My ’s name is .
(family member)

5. My family likes to together.

6. My helps me .
(family member)

7. My family is important to me because 

76
Name: Date:

Family Story
Who?
Directions 1. F ill in each bubble with words or a
picture to tell a family story.
2. T ake turns with a partner asking
questions about each other’s story.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Where?

When?

What Happened
First?

What Happened
Next?

Use the back of the


paper if you need
more space.
77
Name: Date:

My Friend’s Family
Directions 1.  sk a classmate the 
A I will interview:
interview questions.
2.  rite the answers 
W
on the lines.

Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources
Interview Questions

1. How many people are in your family?

2. How many sisters do you have? 

Name: Age: Grade: 

Name: Age: Grade: 

(Use the back of the paper if you need more space.)

3. How many brothers do you have? 

Name: Age: Grade: 

Name: Age: Grade: 

(Use the back of the paper if you need more space.)

4. Who else is in your family? 

5. What does your family like to do together? 

78
Name: Date:

Helping Your Family


Directions 1. Read the interview questions.
2. Write your own answers for them.
3.  sk a classmate the same questions. 
A
Write the answers on the lines.
Literacy-Building Interview Activities for English Language Learners © Maitland, Scholastic Teaching Resources

Interview Questions

1. Who do you help in your family? 2. How do you help?

My answer:  My answer: 

 

 

My classmate’s answer:  My classmate’s answer: 

 

3. What other chores do you do? 4. What do you like about helping?

My answer:  My answer: 

 

 

My classmate’s answer:  My classmate’s answer: 

 

79
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