Picture This in Your Community (Interview Project)

Activity Overview: 

Students will learn proper interview techniques to interview people within our community. Students will formulate appropriate questions to gain knowledge about some of the various jobs that people hold in our community. Students will use the writing process to write, edit, and revise an informational paragraph. Students will use basic word processing skills to type their final draft. Students will format and spell-check their paragraphs. Students will learn the proper use and care of the digital camera and take a still image of the person in which they are interviewing. Students will learn how to edit and insert their still image into the final draft of their informational paragraph.

Students will use this interview project to develop interviewing skills, to develop a better understanding of various jobs in our community, to develop basic word processing skills, to familiarize themselves with the proper use of a digital camera, and to do basic editing of a still image. 

Students will learn proper interview techniques to interview people within our community.  Students will formulate appropriate questions to gain knowledge about some of the various jobs that people hold in our community.  Students will use the writing process to write, edit, and revise an informational paragraph.  Students will use basic word processing skills to type their final draft.  Students will format and spell-check their paragraphs.  Students will learn the proper use and care of the digital camera and take a still image of the person in which they are interviewing.  Students will learn how to edit and insert their still image into the final draft of their informational paragraph.

(Note:  This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks.  Not all of the following activities/standards will appear in the video clips used.)


Curriculum Standards from http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/content/cont.html 

Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Performance Indicators from http://cnets.iste.org/profiles.htm

Students are introduced to this project using a PowerPoint presentation that outlines the objectives and students expectations for this project. The presentation outlines interviewing basics and shows short movie clips on the proper way to begin and end an interview.

English Language Arts: 3, 8


Students will recall various jobs in the community, including our school.  The student then lists these jobs on the SMART Board.

Social Studies: V, VI, X

Grades 3-5: 5

Students will choose a person in the community to interview.

IL: 4

Social Studies: IV


Students will formulate appropriate questions to gain knowledge about their interviewees’ jobs.

English Language Arts: 4, 7, 12


Social Studies: IV, V


Students will learn the proper use and care of the digital camera. They will practice capturing a still image of one another.


Grades 3-5: 5

With the assistance of the teacher, students will use the phone or e-mail to set up a time and place for the interview.

English Language Arts: 7

Grades 3-5: 6


Students will conduct the interview and use a cassette recorder to record what was said. They will also take a still image using the digital camera.

Social Studies: IV

Grades 3-5: 5, 8


Students will transcribe interview notes from the cassette recorder and develop the contents into an informational paragraph.

English Language Arts: 3, 5


Students will revise and edit their paragraphs.


English Language Arts: 6


Students will use Microsoft Word to type their paragraph according to teacher specifications and save on a floppy.

Students will edit their still image using Print Shop Deluxe Photo Pro and insert into their text.

English Language Arts: 6

Grades 3-5: 1, 5


Students will print their interview document.


Grades 3-5: 1




Aistrup, S. (1997).  Effectively Utilizing Technology in Your Classroom. Bellevue, WA: Bureau of Education & Research: Bellevue.

Thornley, J. (1985).  Investigator:  A Guide to Research Projects.  Dandy Lion Publications: San Luis Obispo.

Wessels, J(1996). Rubrics and Other Tools for Teaching Quality.  Ten Sigma Publications: N. Manketo.

MS Office 2000 (Word, PowerPoint).  Microsoft.  Available: http://www.microsoft.com/window/ie

The Print Shop Deluxe (Photo Pro). Broderbund.  Available: http://www.printshop.com.

Digital Mavica Camera. Sony. Available: http://www.world.sony.com

SMART Board.  Smart Tech.  Available: http://www.smarttech.com/smartboard.

The following scoring guide is used to assess students’ work:


Well Done


Not Accept.





Prepared focused set of questions to ask




Organized note-taking and taping system








Social Skills:




Set up appointment and came on time




Introduced self and explained purpose




Asked permission to tape




Used eye contact, paid attention etc.




Thanked interviewee








Use of Information in Assignment:




Information Accurate




Information appropriate to assignment




Information clear, precise, brief








Digital Camera Technology:




Used proper care with the digital camera




Picture edited and inserted correctly








Word Processing




Page formatted correctly




Text formatted correctly (can change font, point size, underline, italicize etc.)




Can check grammar and spelling




Can Print




 Ability to Use Word Processing




Some parts of this activity have been re-enacted due to the interview component of the project.  The students had developed their questions, completed the interviews, captured their still images, transcribed their notes, and edited and revised their documents.  This project takes about three weeks to complete depending on how much class time is given to it daily.

This is the third year I have done this activity.  With each year the project has become more refined and technologically advanced.  When I submitted this proposal, I was teaching third graders in the regular classroom in which understanding communities and community workers was a very important objective.  This year I am the gifted facilitator and have used a combination of my third and fourth grade students.  Although I have used the gifted students in the video project, this activity works equally well in the regular classroom.

Technology Resources:
Students worked in a computer lab and in my classroom, which contains two computers, to complete this activity.  Our computer lab recently added a SMART Board, which enabled the teacher presentation of the various components of this project to be more easily accessible to the students.  This is the first year I have used the Sony Digital Mavica Camera, which is one of the most advanced digital cameras on the market.  This camera allows the students to store their still images directly on the floppy disc, which can be inserted into the camera.  In the past, I have used digital cameras, which require a separate program to retrieve the images off the camera making it a slower and more involved process.

Teaching Strategy:
This activity, whether used with regular classroom students or gifted students, is highly motivational.  Students become so excited by participating in the technological processes involved.  Students become more aware of community and school professions, which in turn, makes them feel more a part of the community.  Incorporating this activity into your curriculum early into the year encourages the students to take off with other ideas involving Microsoft Wordthe use of a digital camera, editing of still images and even the production of student-created PowerPoint presentations.

Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model Components Highlighted in This Activity http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/modelimage.html
(Note:  This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks.  Not all of the elements from the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model that are described below will appear in the video clips used.)

Principles of Learning:

Active Involvement
Students are actively involved in all phases of this project. Active Involvement can be seen when students research information about the person they are going to interview and then formulate specific questions for them.  Active Involvement can be seen when students learn how to use the digital camera and has hands-on experiences using it.  Learning occurs in all phases of the interview and word processing component of this activity. 

Informal Learning
This type of learning is achieved from direct interaction with myself, the students’ peers, (especially during the editing phase of the project), and the person in which they interview. The informal conversation that is had with the interviewee involves a lot of implicit learning as well.

Direct Experience
Students are actively involved in the entire interview process throughout this activity.  Direct Experience occurs at the beginning when students are just starting to formulate their questions to actually going to the interviewee's place of employment to interview and obtain a digital camera picture. Students are directly involved in transcribing notes, writing and editing their article and producing the final product.

Enjoyable Setting
This principal of learning is best portrayed by the interaction that occurs between students and the individual personal support I am able to give my students.  As a teacher of the gifted I am able to have a more lax classroom environment. 

This allows students to interact more between themselves. Lower class size also allows me to give more individual attention to my students.

Information Processing:

Students engage in Presearch when they begin to develop appropriate questions for their interviewee.  Students gather knowledge from personal experience, their teachers, their peers, and other research material to help formulate questions that would allow them to gain the most information about this person.

Students assess the information gained from the interview and decide what is relevant to use in their article. 

The Communication stage is address in this activity by students organizing a focused set of questions to ask.  Students present the new knowledge they learn through an article, which they have edited, revised and word- processed.

Content Standards:

Language Arts
Students use their reading and writing skills throughout this activity.  Oral language skills are focused on during the interview.  The writing process is addressed where students must interpret their information in order to write a first draft of their article.  It is then edited and revised by peers.  Special attention is given to grammar, spelling and mechanics.

Social Studies
This activity evolved from a third grade unit on communities. Learning about jobs and various roles people have within a community helps to develop a better understanding of what a community is all about and also leads to a more clearer understanding of government and citizen responsibility.

Tenets of Democracy:

Individual Responsibility and Civil Involvement with Others
This tenet is addressed by students working cooperatively in learning how to use the digital camera and in their peer editing groups.  Interviewing citizens within the community that contribute to it in a positive way develops a strong sense of community.

Teacher Knowledge:

Knowledge of Student Characteristics
Understanding that gifted students often portray different characteristics than others allows me to develop my curriculum and activities to each students' specific needs.  For example, gifted students tend to learn more easily therefore I may not need to spend a lot of time explaining how to do something. This would allow more time for actual student participation.

Teacher Behavior:

Classroom Management
Classroom Management
 is addressed by promoting positive student achievement.   Although gifted students are in the top 5% of intelligence managing behavior can still be quite a challenge.  By focusing on positive behavior allows me to have a class that is on task most of the time.


Operate a Computer System
Students Operate a Computer System when word-processing their article, editing their photograph and inserting it into their text.

Computer Terminology is used throughout this lesson. For example: font, text, insert, edit, delete, window, minimize, crop, point size, disc, and tool bar are some terminology that students become familiar with by participating in this activity.

Multimedia Presentation Software
By using a Power Point presentation to introduce this activity, along with the LCD projector and SMART Board, allows the student to become familiar with this type of technology and is better able to use it in future projects.

Word Processing
Students Word-Process their own writing.

Student Characteristics:
After completing this project with gifted students and regular classroom students, including students with learning disabilities, I have found it is not the students’ intelligence and abilities that makes this project a success year after year but their motivation and creative talents.  Students are free to choose any adult within the community to interview.  This year students chose a local actress, the director of our community center, our State Representative as well as a host of others.  The diverse characteristics of the people the students choose to interview is another factor that helps to make this project so special and unique.  The students’ printed paragraphs are bound into a book and it’s never the same final product twice.

Evolution of the Activity: 
This activity began as a small interview project where students would interview teachers they had in the past.  It has now expanded to include just about anybody in the community, whose job is interesting to the students.  The technology has expanded from using a simple word processing program, such as Word Pad to the much more advanced program of Microsoft Word.  We were very fortunate this year because our school was able to purchase a top of the line digital camera and add a new computer lab with a SMART Board.  These technological additions have just helped to improve student learning and the quality of the students’ work.

(Learning activity format adapted from National Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum & Technology http://cnets.iste.org/students)