Drawing from the Well

Chapter Three Filling the Bucket
Lesson 2 - Documenting Impressions, Descriptions and Reflections

Setting the Stage:

This lesson is intended to follow Filling the Bucket - Lesson 1. The moments after conducting an interview are the most alive with memories and responses. Providing the opportunity for students to reflect upon their interviewing experience gives both students and teachers immediate feedback in regard to what transpired during the interview. Additionally, writing down impressions and reflections deepens the students' experience and produces new material that may be integrated into their final projects. Try to arrange for this documentation of responses to occur right after the interview session to get the most out of the experience. On the ride back to school discuss student responses to the interview. The following suggestions for homework or a class session will help students recall the highlights of the interview and advance their thinking in new ways about their community.

To maximize the interviewing experience students will record their impressions, memories and reflections. This is a golden opportunity to give relevance to the academic skills of writing, accessing memory, descriptive prose and analysis.


  • The students will reflect in writing on their experiences and learning.

NM State Standards: Language Arts I-C (7-2 & 8-2)

Materials and Resources Needed: Writing materials

20 - 30 minutes of writing and discussion; or a class period if you include the technology extension exercise.

Activities: As a homework assignment or an in-class session after the interview, have students write down their impressions, recollections and reflections about the interview experience. First, make a distinction between these three words, "impressions," "recollections" and "reflections." Here are some suggestions for interpreting these words. Ultimately you will want students to examine their own work and develop their own sense of criteria for what makes a successful interview. Remind students to use their skills in writing a narrative and require their responses be thoughtful and original.

Impressions (feelings) - How did the interview go? In what ways do you feel the interviewee was most responsive? What questions or interactions do you think prompted the interviewee to be most expressive? Were there any missed opportunities? Was there nervousness, apprehension or intrigue during the session? Did the team help and support one another?

Writing Assignment: Do a Free Write about the interview session. Allow images of that time to surface in disjointed or fragmented "snap shots." The important thing is to capture what stayed with you and what you felt during the process.

Recollections (actual events remembered): What were some of the key responses from the interviewee? What stories and/or descriptions from the interviewee were specific and unique?

Writing Assignment: Write a description of the actual locale of the interview; include the events leading up to it and what followed. Give a brief biographical sketch of the interviewee and include a few statements that stand out from the interview.

Reflections (processing the experience): Did you learn something new? - If so, what? How well prepared do you feel your team was? What went really well? What could have made the interview go better? What would you do differently? What would you do again?

Writing Assignment: Respond to the questions in the "Reflections" segment (above) and then make a list of questions that you would ask if you were to go back for a second interview.

Depending upon scheduling and the time that can be devoted to the interviewing phase of this project, you may want to have students schedule a second interview session with their subjects. A fundamental reason for doing Drawing from the Well is to establish new relationships within ones own community. What better way to accomplish this than to have follow-up sessions with the community members?

Technology Extensions:

  1. Have students from the same group tape record members' impressions, recollections and reflections.
  2. Have students from different groups interview one another about their interviewing experiences after they have completed the writing assignments.

Assessment: Use the writing exercises to assess the learning and thinking of individual students. If the writing lacks depth or thought, ask for the writer to expand parts and rewrite. If the students do all three writings, choose one for assessment using the Narrative Rubric to further emphasize the writing skills students are developing. Ask the students to choose the writing they prefer to include in their EXHIBITION PORTFOLIO.