This is a pretty simple speaking lesson and interview activity where each student picks a famous person and then the other students interview him/her as that person. It can be done in class or assign kids to do research for homework first.
Materials for the Interview Activity
- Optional: Interview Fact Sheet
- Optional: Research materials.
Preparation for the Interview
Each student should choose a famous person they plan to act as. Alternatively you can assign roles so this lesson can be linked to a recent reading about famous people, or it can be linked to current events where students choose people in the news. Students can also choose or be assigned fictional characters so it can be linked directly to a novel, film or almost any activity you’ve done in class.
If the characters are well-known to everyone (ideally they should be), you can run the activity in class. Otherwise you might have students choose the famous person for homework and do research. Or you can bring source materials to class and do a lesson on researching. In any case, students should be prepared to be interviewed as this person. To keep the class focused or make sure they do some research, you can use the Interview Fact Sheet. In any case, students should be ready to be interviewed as this character so they should know something about them and be prepared to improvise, guess or make up any answers on the spot!
Now, you can do this two ways:
1) Put the students in pairs. Each student prepares 5 questions for the other student and then they take turns interviewing each other.
2) Do a mock talk-show in class. In turn, each student goes to the front of the class, announces who they are acting as, and the whole class can interview them.
You may choose to have the interviewers in turn do some research first. This works best if you pair the students. One way to do it is to have each student choose who they will be. Then pair them, at random or have them choose who they want to interview. Now each student has to do research on both the person they picked AND the person their partner picked. That way the questions will be more relevant and focused.
You have to be a little careful to make sure that people don’t ask insulting or slanderous questions like, “Mr. President, why are you so ugly?” Or, “Angelina Jolie, will you sleep with me?” Other than that, this is a very fun lesson and students get very creative explaining away scandals or making up histories of their characters. It’s especially fun when the interviewer knows more about the person than the actor does. Encourage students to be creative!
Note: For beginner students, you might ask them to just find some basic information on the star and formulate basic questions like, “Where are you from?” and “What do you like to do?” For higher level students, I would push them to ask more probing questions and give more complete answers.
Thanks to EnglishBaby! for reminding me of this great idea.