High School
History & Social Studies

Learning that Matters: Students as Oral Historians

Sometimes I think we overcomplicate things for students. Want to make their projects relevant and motivating? Want to make History or English class interesting? Assign them open-ended projects with a real audience (other than you). This collection will not only give you ideas and examples for oral history assignments but also suggest web sites and institutions where your students can submit their oral history projects!
A Collection By Amelia Franz
  • 8 Collection Items
  • 8 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Learning that Matters: Students as Oral Historians
  • Amelia Franz says:
    This is a very thorough and detailed guide to a Seattle-area high school English teacher's oral history assignment. It includes excerpts from student interviews, as well as a sample explanatory letter to potential interview subjects.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    This is the teacher and student guide to the Smithsonian "Stories from Main Street" project. Another interesting idea for your students, in addition to submitting the interview to this projects, is creating an online exhibit from their research.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    Scroll down to "America's Stories" to find out how your students can record their own stories using an app, and submit to the Smithsonian Stories from Main Street project! What an amazing way to get your students, families, and entire communities involved in a meaningful, authentic history project.
  • edutopia.org
    edutopia.org

    Living Legends: Oral History Projects Bring Core Subjects to Life

    6 minute read
    Amelia Franz says:
    This Edutopia article was written in 2008, but it's still relevant. The teacher describes how an oral history assignment engaged and motivated her students, and gives tips for how to make the projects successful.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    I'm including this lesson plan as an example of how you might design an oral history assignment with your students. I'm not suggesting this as a model, but simply an example of how these projects work.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    What an amazing opportunity for your students to become real historians and contribute to the Veterans History Project! Click on "How to Participate" for detailed instructions on how 10th - 12th grade students can contribute interviews and documents of living (or deceased, through Power of Attorney or cooperation of heirs) to the Veterans History Project.
  • Amelia Franz says:
    The "Great Thanksgiving Listen" for students was held in 2015, but I'm including a link to the page so you can get an idea of how the project worked. After all, they might decide to repeat it in 2016, or maybe StoryCorps will encourage submissions for a different theme this year. The idea was to interview "someone you love" on Thanksgiving--parent, neighbor, family, friend over 65, using the StoryCorps app and built-in prompts. Includes an "Intro to StoryCorps" video.
  • StoryCorps

    Webtool
    storycorps.org
    storycorps.org
    Amelia Franz says:
    StoryCorp's mission is to "preserve and share humanity's stories." You and your students can record oral histories/stories to be shared and stored online. The recordings can be made in mobile recording booths that travel to major cities or, more conveniently, with an iOS or Android app. What stories would your students think are important to obtain, preserve, and share?
BloomBoard SparkOther Cross-Curricular
BloomBoard Asks:Have you used StoryCorps or other oral history sites to publish your students' work, and if so, how did the project affect your students' motivation and interest?