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In this lesson, students write a mock television interview from a pet’s perspective


Language Arts  


6, 7, 8  

Title – How to Write & Conduct a Television Interview
By – Marcy Winograd & Jacqueline Hirtz
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 6-8

Objective: Assuming the role of pets for the fictional Pet Entertainment Television, students will write and conduct a mock television interview, using open-ended questions and probing follow-up questions. In addition, students will write a guest introduction to preface the interview.


(1) Pose a question: Have you ever been interviewed? Solicit feedback from students, asking what the interviews were about, what kinds of questions were asked, and how they felt during the interview.

(2) Role-play two interviews, one using YES or NO questions (Do you eat candy? Do you like homework?) and the other using open-ended questions (If you were a parent, what would your candy policy be at home? What are your homework habits?). See if students can detect the pattern in the two types of questions. Discuss which are more effective. Ask students, “If you were going to ask other questions, based on what you have already heard, what would those questions be?
Explain those questions are called follow-up questions.

(3) Explain students will write and conduct their own interviews for a fictional network run by and for pets, without the knowledge of human beings. For more on this barking broadcast empire, see ” Lights, Camera, Woof .. An Activity Workbook ” by Marcy Winorad and Jacqueline Hirtz. ┬áThe featured guest on the interview show for this lesson is Shelley Tortellini, a tortoise astronaut recently returned from a moon mission.

(4) Review the following fact sheet regarding Sheeley Tortellini.

      ** Ms.Tortellini was the first tortoise to rocket to outer space. She was chosen because, unlike most tortoises, she can act fast in a crisis. She can move up to a mile per hour.
      ** Ms. Tortellini underwent a year of intense astronaut training prior to her moon mission.
      ** Ms. Tortellini left her mark on the moon — a flag with a smiling tortoise on it.
    ** Ms. Tortellini returned with a jar of moon dust. Scientists think the dust may reverse the aging process.

(5) Brainstorm two possible open-ended questions to ask Ms. Tortellini for the interview segment.

(6) Ask students to work in pairs to generate at least five additional open-ended questions.

(7) Ask students in pairs to construct a guest introduction that will capture the audience’s attention. The introduction should explain who is being interviewed and why. Emphasize that the introduction must capture the interest of the audience, so that they tune in for the rest of the segment.

(8) Have students role-play the interview. One student plays the television host, while the other plays the tortoise. Ask the host to write down the tortoise’s answers. Remind the host to ask follow-up questions.

(9) Before submitting their work, students should transcribe all questions, including the initial open-ended questions and the follow-up questions, as well as the answers. They should include an introduction, too.


Criteria Chart

      ** Addresses all parts of the writing task


      ** Includes an introduction that captures the audience’s attention


      ** Incorporates thought-provoking open-ended questions


      ** Includes probing follow-up questions






    1=Little, if any


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