Grade: All Ages
Subject: Social Emotional Learning

Essential Question

How do you conduct and record an interview?


In this lesson, students will conduct and record an interview during the production phase of the Life Songs project. 

As students turn to conducting their Life Songs Interview using the questions they drafted in Lesson 2, they identify and familiarize themselves with strategies to manage an effective interview session. In preparation for recording their interview, students decide which recording format they would to use to document their interview and have a pre-interview conversation with their interviewee. Finally, students practice using their chosen recording technology and then conduct and record their Life Songs Interview. By the end of the lesson, students will have recorded raw footage of their Life Songs Interview and in Lesson 4 they will transforming it into a final version.

This lesson is split into two parts, each of which may require a class period to cover.

What is Life Songs?

Life Songs is an intergenerational media project organized into a four lesson unit plan. Over the course of the unit, students participate in a group singalong, identify and discuss their favorite songs, prepare interview questions about another person’s favorite songs, and conduct and record an interview with an adult who shares how certain songs shaped their life. The unit culminates in students presenting a completed version of their Life Songs Interview. Through Life Songs, students acquire beneficial skills and experience in media production while participating in social and emotional learning activities.

View More


  • Know (knowledge):
    • The concept of production and what the production process entails
    • Strategies for leading a successful conversation with an interviewee
    • The procedure to successfully document an interview using recording technology
    • The technology of audio and video recordings
  • Mastery Objective:
    • Students will be able to conduct and record an informative interview using recording technology.


Motivational Activity:A series of steps that read: Media Production Process Outline Step 1: Pre-production - Organizing in preparation for creating audio or video. Examples: creating scripts or storyboards, finding locations to shoot, getting the required equipment, hiring people to help. Step 2: Production - Creating the “raw footage” for the project. Examples: setting up equipment, recording audio or video, creating animation, coding. Step 3: Post-production - Arranging and preparing the “raw footage” to be seen by the public. Examples: editing, playtesting, uploading, publishing final product.

  1. Display Image 1, Production Process Outline. Remind students about the steps in the media production process and that in this session they will focus on Step 2: Production. Ask students:
    • What sort of tasks might be needed for Step 2: Production knowing that Life Songs is an interview project?
    • What “raw footage” will you be creating?


Part 1: Preparing for the Interview

  1. Instruct students to retrieve their Handout – Interviewee Brainstorm Worksheet from Lesson 2 and review both the information they provided in the blanks and the 3-5 questions they created based on that information.
  2. Explain to students that based on their interviewee’s responses to their written questions, they will likely need to ask follow-up questions that won’t be written down ahead of time. Similar to the role of a broadcast journalist, talk show host, or podcaster, students can be prepared by utilizing some tips from the media industry.The image reads: "Tips for Conducting a Great Media Interview Engage in a real conversation – this will improve the flow of the interview. Steer the conversation and keep the conversation on track. Stay flexible, a great interview requires some structure but also allows for spontaneity. Ask follow-up questions depending on your guest's answer, you might need to veer slightly off-topic before asking your next question."
  3. Display Image 2 – Tips for Conducting a Great Interview. Ask students:
    • What is a word you notice frequently in these tips? (Conversation)
    • Who should be steering the conversation and keeping it on track during the interview? (The student)
    • Although you are steering the conversation and keeping it on track, what are the two “s” words that will allow you to be flexible during the interview? (Structure, spontaneity
    • What kind of questions should you ask depending on your interviewee’s answers? (Follow-up questions)
  4. Display Image 3 – Audio and Video Recordings. Ask students:
    • What do these recordings capture and what is the main difference between them? 
    • For your Life Songs Interview, what do you want to capture? Will you be capturing only audio or both audio and video? (Depending on resources and grade, the teacher may deem it necessary to assign the technology that students will use to conduct their interview.
    • What technology will you use to capture your Life Songs Interview? (Examples with appropriate software: mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, and audio/video recording equipment.
  5. Distribute Handout – Pre-Interview Creative Decisions and Conversation and review as a class. (This could also be assigned as homework in preparation for part 2 of the lesson.) Instruct students that they need to both answer the creative decisions and contact their interviewee ahead of the interview session. (While a personal conversation is suggested, students can connect with their interviewee via email.)

Part 2: Testing the Technology and Conducting the Interview

  1. Distribute Handout – Testing the Technology and Conducting the Interview. Explain to students that they will need to test the technology for their Life Songs Interview in class and prior to recording their interview.
  2. Read the first page of the handout together as a class. Ask students:
    • Are there any additional questions that you would add to this list? (List any additional questions on the board and have students transcribe them to the handout.)
  3. Pair students up. Instruct students to take some time to test their technology. Each student should take turns being the interviewee for their partner. Afterward, ask students: 
    • Did you discover any difficulties with your technology? If so, what were they? (Aim to troubleshoot any issues in class with the benefit of the entire class working together.) 
    • Are there any other questions we should add to the handout to aid in the testing process? (List any additional questions on the board and have students transcribe them to the handout.) 
  4. Read the second page of the handout together as a class. Ask students:
    • Are there any additional steps that you would add to this list? (List any additional steps on the board and have students transcribe them to the handout.)

Summary Activity:

  1. Review Handout – Testing the Technology and Conducting the Interview together as a class one more time. Then, assign students to conduct their Life Songs Interview outside of class. 


Common Core State Standards

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

  • Production and Distribution of Writing 5: Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • Research to Build and Present Knowledge 7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

  • Comprehension & Collaboration 1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

  • Language 1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 6: Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

Recommended Lessons

Thematic Lesson: Love Songs

Grades: All Ages, AP/Honors/101, Elementary, High, Middle
Subjects: ELA, General Music, Social Studies/History
Activities: Textual Analysis

Why is the Pop song such a common medium for expressing feelings about love, and how do individual songs relate to their historical moments?

The Beatles, a New Kind of Star

Grades: High
Subjects: General Music, Social Emotional Learning, Social Studies/History
Activities: Gallery Walk, Textual Analysis, Timeline, Visual Analysis

How did The Beatles establish a new paradigm for the image of "the star," and how did that image support their global success?

Recording and Producing the Voice

Grades: High, Middle
Subjects: CTE, General Music, Science, STEAM
Activities: Interactive Tech Tools, Textual Analysis, Think-Pair-Share

How have singers responded as advances in studio recording techniques have enabled increased technological “perfection”?

“Here”: Managing Peer Pressure and Anxiety

Grades: All Ages, Elementary, High, Middle
Subjects: General Music, Social Emotional Learning
Activities: Role Playing, Visual Analysis

In what ways does Alessia Cara’s “Here” defy popular music conventions, and what does the song say about peer pressure in youth culture?