9 Student Interview Exercise

Authors: Mary Beth Cancienne, Hayes Davis, Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Brian Hannon, T.J. Hendrix

Target Group: Middle School (7th-8th grade)

Originally from Food for Bonding, Food for Resistance Unit Plan

A part of the Furious Flower Poetry Center culture is to preserve the writing process through documentation, which includes recorded video interviews. As an extension to these lessons, you could continue this tradition by having your students interview one another about their experiences with these workshops and/or writing their own poems.

Introduce the project to the students and explain that they will take part in a preservation project, during which they will write and answer interview questions about their experiences during the “Food for Bonding” and “Food for Resistance” workshops.

Ask students if they have ever participated in an interview. Ask them to share with you their experience and the process of conducting or participating in the interview. As the students begin to share, write on the board the components of the interview process based on the students’ responses. Encourage students to continue to share.

After your students stop sharing and your list is complete, review the list you created on the board and add any information the students will need to be reminded of before they begin working.

Then, play this interview with poet Toi Derricotte about the process of writing and revision (Process of Writing – 1:56 – 6:32).

  • Set an intention for viewing by having the students look for answers to the questions as they watch:
    • What are some details the interviewee shares about their writing process?
    • What are some details the interviewee shares about their experience in the workshop?
    • What kinds of questions does the interviewer ask the interviewee? Are they closed or open-ended?
  • Discuss the students’ responses to these questions after the video. Revise the components of the interview process based on the previous exercise.

Next, allow students to choose their partners. Have them swap poems and for 10 minutes have them read each other’s work independently, write questions, and comment about their peer’s piece. Encourage them to write at least three open-ended questions.

After the independent work time, have the students turn and talk to their partners. They can ask their questions and respond as practice before the interview. Optional: They can also talk about their experiences in the two workshops and share a minimum of two details about the poems. This is preparation time for the recordings they will do later.

Invite students to return to the whole group and share their concerns or questions before they begin their interviews. Address their questions and explain how you would like them to format their interviews. Provide time for them to outline their interviews before they begin to record

Send students to your pre-determined locations for interviews. Allow them 20 minutes to conduct both interviews.

Provide upload instructions to the students for their videos. You will determine how and where your students will share their recordings.

Possible Additional Extensions

  • Editing video content
  • Viewing party
  • Poetry recital


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

The Furious Flower Syllabus Project: Opening the World of Black Poetry Copyright © 2024 by Anastacia-Reneé; allia abdullah-matta; Ariana Benson; Mary Beth Cancienne; Teri Ellen Cross Davis; Shameka Cunningham; Hayes Davis; Tyree Daye; Angel C. Dye; Brian Hannon; T.J. Hendrix; DaMaris B. Hill; Meta DuEwa Jones; Shauna M. Morgan; Adrienne Danyelle Oliver; Leona Sevick; James Smethurst; Dana A. Williams; L. Lamar Wilson; Carmin Wong; Dave Wooley; and Joanne V. Gabbin (preface) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book