Sharing Stories and Creating Connections

Sharing Stories and Creating Connections

The sixth grade English curriculum is designed to guide students as they explore and develop their identities as readers and writers through a broad range of learning experiences. With a classroom motto of “Never a day without a line,” students in Ashley Eggebrecht’s course write every day in and out of class. 

Earlier this fall, Mrs. Eggebrecht’s students completed a unique assignment that strengthened their narrative writing skills and created connections with Whitfield seniors. For the assignment, each sixth grader interviewed a member of the Class of 2023 and then wrote a three paragraph reflection of the interview. Students prepared thoughtful questions in advance that encouraged the seniors to share their unique stories and practiced interviewing and recording the conversations with a peer in class. They considered the essential question: How does learning about people’s stories and sharing our own stories help us to build a stronger community? 

“Instead of having students write a personal narrative, I thought it would be really interesting to switch it up a bit and have them write an interview narrative,” said Mrs. Eggebrecht. “It requires them to practice all the narrative writing skills like showing vs. telling, using description, using dialogue, and developing setting—all the objectives that I’m looking for—and it was a great way to continue to build community between the 6th and 12th graders.”

Each sixth grader was paired with a senior. 

Student Reflections

Charli Richards ’29 and Ivy Nissen ’23
“This assignment was both fun and challenging.  I usually write persuasive essays or essays about a topic that I’m interested in and this was a different type of writing. I have also never interviewed anyone before—especially someone who is so much older than me who has been at Whitfield so long. I was very nervous at first because seniors are really big people and I am a tiny little person many grades below them. But when I got out my notebook and asked my questions, Ivy was just so sweet about it.” Charli Richards ’29 

“I volunteered to be interviewed because I can think back to when I started at Whitfield in 7th grade and I was so nervous around the seniors! I think this assignment was such a cool opportunity for the sixth graders to talk with seniors and through the experience, know that it’s ‘ok’ to have a senior as your big buddy. It was very easy to talk with Charli because she is so easy going. She is also so well-spoken—she seems so grown up.” Ivy Nissen ’23

Zaki Bari ’29 and Danny Radke ’23
“I think this was a cool assignment because I have never interviewed anyone in my life before so it was a new experience. I was pretty nervous at first because, you know, with 6th graders and 12th graders there is a big age difference. As the interview went on I was more comfortable and Danny told me a lot about himself and we discovered we had things in common.  I really liked it.” Zaki Bari ’29

“At Whitfield, I think we do a pretty good job of getting to know students in other grades but since middle schoolers have a different schedule and classes, I don’t have the chance to spend any time with them. So having the opportunity to meet a new middle schooler through this project was a really cool experience. It was fun seeing our similarities. We both really like math for example. Zaki had really good interview skills—I don’t know if I could have done that in 6th grade.” Danny Radke ’23