Asne Lesson Plan Format Melissa Langlois Whitewater High


Melissa Langlois
Whitewater High School
Fayetteville, Ga.
Title: Getting the Details, Asking the Right Questions: Locker Exam
I. Overview and rationale: I find that many of my first year journalism students tend to ask
interviewees the same generic question (and thus receive the same generic answers regardless
of who is interviewed.) Another thing that these newbies need to understand is the difference
between open ended and close ended questions. I was inspired by ___’s Car Raid lesson plan,
but found that logistics and liability would not allow us to venture out into the school’s
parking lot during the school day. Therefore, I thought that presenting lockers to the students
and having them note fine details about what the owner stored there (or I planted there)
would work better for my situation. This multi-faceted lesson plan is designed to help
students use details to develop open ended, viable interview questions.
II. Goals for understanding: Students will show the importance of observation when approaching
an interviewee; Students will plan and devise questions relative to the observations they have
conducted re: interviewee possessions and style; Students will contact and interview based on
observations; Students will demonstrate understanding of open ended questions and their
value over close ended questions; Students will write and share articles about their subjects
using their interviews.
III. Essential Questions: What is the importance of detail and prior investigation when developing
interview questions? What is the value of open ended questions and how can these be
developed prior to the interviewing process? How can high school students become more
comfortable and confident in approaching an interviewee?
IV. Critical Engagement Questions: Why is it essential for interviewers to be fully prepared when
approaching their subjects? Whose responsibility is it to report accurately? Have you ever
felt that interviewees are not fully answering your questions because they find your questions
boring? How can you as a student become a better, more confident reporter?
V. Overview and Timeline: For this lesson plan to be effective, teachers should coordinate most
components early, choosing to use either a cooperative student’s locker (be sure to preview to
approve appropriateness and that there are enough items/organization of interest) OR a locker
that has been set up for the scene.
Activity 1 (One 45 minute class)
Students should read and make notes on Scanlon’s article “How journalists can become better writers.”
This will provide a context and a “jumping off point” to activity 1.
Begin the class with a brief discussion of the article. Which of Scanlon’s points resonated? Which did
you find most relevant? Bring the discussion to open ended vs. close ended questions. Discuss the value
of preparing for an interview to AVOID getting stuck with boring and/or one word answers.


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