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Sidney ELL Students Interview Staff to Create Magazine

Amy McGill, dog Emma, Yota Saruyama and Amy Stratton sit together as Yota conducts an interview of McGill and Emma.

Sidney City Schools elementary English Language Learner (ELL) students have been working on a fun and interesting interview project as a part of their language growth. Amy Stratton, ELL instructor, said the idea came to her as she was reading one of the magazines in the seat pocket of an airplane on her way to visit her daughter over winter break.


“There are always interviews of famous actors and sports figures but never an interview of school staff. I thought why not do interviews with the wonderful people I work with every day?”


She introduced the idea of interviewing school staff and making a magazine to her ELL students. Each student selected who they wanted to interview - teachers, principals, and a school security officer were some of their choices. Together she and the students wrote a list of questions to ask. The students then used an app call Speech Journal to record their questions on the iPads.


Over the past couple of weeks, the students have conducted interviews with the help of Mrs. Stratton. The students first go over the list of questions with Mrs. Stratton, then they use the Speech Journal app to help ask the question and record the answer.


Yoto Saruyama, a first grader at Northwood Elementary, chose to interview his teacher, Mrs. Amy McGill, and her dog, Emma, who is a certified pet therapy dog. Emma spends Fridays in McGill’s classroom and on the day of the interview, was celebrating her birthday with the class. Yoto inquired about how long Mrs. McGill has been teaching, what days Emma comes to school, and when their birthdays are. Emma gave a couple of eyebrow raises before laying down so McGill did the talking for both of them.


The interviews by all of the students were recorded using the Speech Journal app. They will work to put the responses into articles and design the pages in Microsoft Publisher to be able to print and publish a spiral bound magazine.


Stratton said, “We have created a book similar to this in the past in which the students answered questions about themselves, however, adding in the interview element challenges them further to use additional communication and conversation skills.”


ELL Students with the staff they interviewed - Gillman, Leaf, Feree, White, Schwein, Baldauf


ELL students with the staff they interviewed - Marshall, Uhl, Geissel, Miller, Barr, Foy, Shepherd, Dembski, Stratton


Rowe, Golden, Linn, Jacobs, Barr, Clark, Stratton, Baldauf, Stratton

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