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Time Warp Interview

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Keywords: Revolutionary War
Subject(s): Information Skills, Social Studies, Video, Social Skills, Technology, Podcasting, Drama, History, Speech and Language, English/Language Arts
Grades 3 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
View Full Text of Standards
School: Beeman Memorial Primary School, Gloucester, MA
Planned By: Layce Alves
Original Author: Layce Alves, Gloucester
The Time Warp Interview
Subject: Social Studies
Grade: 5th
Class Size: 18
One of the most important skills elementary students can learn is how to succeed in an interview setting. Students should learn how to be on both sides of the interview process, as these skills may become essential for the future. Fortunately, it is possible to integrate a variety of techniques into a lesson plan for teaching interview skills. Most importantly, the interviewer must have in-depth knowledge of the interviewee. With the aid of technology and a bit of creativity students will travel back in time and interview leaders of early America. Students will then be paired up to conduct interviews to portray the qualities of a great leader.


1. In this project, students will identify men and women who are leaders in their community and in the world at large. From this more concrete experience, they will travel back to early America and learn on a more abstract level about leaders of the young nation.

Begin by asking students who the principal of the school is and what he or she does. Start, on the board or on poster paper, a list of leaders' qualities, traits, or characteristics. Such a list might include the following:
• Makes up rules
• Rewards and punishes people
• Earns respect
• Helps and comforts people
• Makes people work hard
2. Go on to ask students to identify the persons who head up other groups or organizations that they may be familiar with and to list the heads' qualities, traits, or characteristics. Students may identify a person by name or by title. Consider talking about the leaders of the following groups or organizations. Add qualities, traits, or characteristics of each leader to the list you started in the preceding step.
• Leader of the town or city in which students live
• Leader of the fire department of the town or city
• Leader of the police department of the town or city
• Leader of the largest store or major business in the town or city
• Leader of the local newspaper
• Leader of the state
• Leader of the country
• Leader of another country
3. Explain that American history is filled with leaders who have made it possible for us to be here right now. Ask student to mane some of the leaders we have been studying about in social studies. Have students visit various websites to review some of the characteristics and facts about some of the following leaders.

• Paul Revere and the minutemen
• George Washington and the Continental Army
• Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence
4. Convert the list of leadership qualities, traits, or characteristics, which you've been adding to, into a chart with the qualities, traits, or characteristics as column heads. Place the name of one early American leader in each row. Based on what students have learned about Revere, Washington, or Jefferson, ask them to tell you which leader demonstrated which qualities, traits, or characteristics—and when or how (that is, students should supply an example of when or how the leader demonstrated the quality). Have a student check off the columns that apply to Revere, Washington, and Jefferson.
5. When the chart is complete, help students interpret it. That is, ask them to look at the data and comment on them. What traits do all these leaders seem to have in common? What traits do none of them have? What traits do some but not all of them have?
6 After the class discussion, ask students to write a list of questions that they would ask during an interview of this person:
• Example: “George Washington, do you consider yourself a leader?”
• “What was is like fighting in the Revolutionary war? Were you scared?

7. Next assign each student a partner and tell them to determine who will be the interviewer /interviewee. Each partner pair will choose an historic leader for their interview project.
8. The interviewer will then draft a list of questions that pertain to that person. The questions should be designed to portray their historic figure as a great American hero. The interviewees job is to act the role of their chosen leader (clothes, accent ext..). A good interviewee should portray the same characteristics and traits of their chosen historic leader. Encourage each student to ask challenging questions, and encourage the interviewee to remain in character when answering.

9. Conduct and film interviews.
10. Next, have each partner pair team up with a second group for feedback. Have students watch interviews and then revise questions. Gather at least three positive comments and three suggested improvements.
You can evaluate students’ interviews using the following three-point rubric:
• Three points: clearly identifies several traits of leadership; clearly explains why their historic leader is considered a hero.

• Two points: identifies at least one trait of leadership; explains why one of the men is considered a hero.

• One point: answers one but not both questions
Materials: Digital Cameras, Camera/Video Accessories, Social Studies
Other Items: microphones , $50 each
ipad, $400 each
ipad, $400 each
Digital Camera, $100 each