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STUDENT TASK

Spotlight on Change Agents

Do Something
Grade Level

What?
Students investigate, interview and profile a person working for equity and social change. The person can work on the local, national or international level, with an organization or as an individual. The compiled profiles will form a resource for other students in the future.
 

Estimated time

Two to three weeks


Why?

The task allows students to see that, although the road to equity is challenging, real people are working tirelessly to make positive change. The interview itself showcases interpersonal skills students will need throughout their lives: generating quality questions, conducting background research, connecting with others, listening, and synthesizing information in a formal presentation or written work. This task also helps build bridges between the community and educational settings.
 

How?

Get Ready

  1. Gather a list of organizations and people in your community who would be open to being interviewed by students. Allow students to identify local change agents on their own.
  2. Search for examples of quality interviews on the subjects of justice and equity. The Perspectives anthology contains interview examples.
  3. Determine if students will work individually or in groups.

Get Set

  1. As a class, create criteria for the definition of “change agent.” Allow students to debate what qualifies as an agent or organization working for change. Brainstorm lists of change agents.
  2. Provide students with information about supplies, work schedule and due dates. Use the rubric to define expectations and project components and to clarify how you will assess student work. Be clear about how you expect students to present their findings (PowerPoint, speech with note cards, essay, etc.)
  3. Introduce students to the Do Something Student Planning Guide and use to help students plan their interview and case study. The planning process should help guide student decision making.
  4. Provide time for students to research and learn about their change agent(s). Explain that potential contacts may be slow to respond, so they should reach out to more than one possible interview candidate.
  5. Teach students effective interview techniques. Find the lessons and materials that reinforce these skills.

Go!

  1. Model how to write interview questions. Ask students to compose interview questions and review them before the scheduled interview.
  2. Arrange for students to conduct practice interviews with peers.
  3. Monitor progress as students arrange their interviews (making the initial request, recording the date and time, asking if the interview can be recorded, sending a confirmation, etc.).
  4. Have students conduct the interviews, either through email, in person, or on the phone.
  5. Have students synthesize the interview material into a profile about the person or organization. You may want to create a graphic organizer to indicate the information students should include (e.g., name, position, personal or organizational mission, inspiration for their work, challenges they’ve faced, advice they have for younger change agents).
  6. Allow time for all students or groups to present their profiles. Students should question each other about the change agents they interviewed.


Reflection

  1. Have students write letters thanking the individuals or groups interviewed.
  2. Create a bulletin board or reflection wall where students can post quotes and photographs from their interviews.


English language learners

Discuss different forms of interviews and the purpose of interviewing someone. Show video clips and reflect on the types of questions people ask during interviews. Explicitly teach vocabulary associated with the task (“interview,” “confirmation,” etc.). Allow time for English language learners to practice the initial contact and the interview questions.


Connection to anti-bias education

This task produces multiple examples of interviews addressing a variety of social justice topics. Students connect themes from the central text with social change work being done in their community. They are able to see the challenges and triumphs, strategies and tools associated with this work. Students will understand that they are not alone in their desire for social justice and that addressing these challenges can lead to rewarding careers and projects.