Tell Me Your Stories
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Depending on the subject and performance goals of your class, there are many different types of final project that can be assigned. The following is just a small sample of possibilities.

    Additional ideas for interviews:
  • Natives of your state or city
  • People who experienced the 1960s
  • People who served in WWII or Vietnam War
  • Professionals whose jobs the student finds interesting to explore (firefighter, artist, doctor, etc.)
  • Community elders from a different culture
  • A fellow student in the school who is a stranger
  • Students at a Sunday school of a different religion
    Final Projects ideas based on class subjects:
  • Language Arts – essay, poem, short story, script
  • Social Studies – essay, historical scene
  • Performing Arts – play, monologue
  • Practical Arts – painting, collage, sculpture, photo essay
  • Media Arts – video, photography
  • Computer Literacy – Web site Sample Assignment

Sample Assignments
Mary Miller, a Social Studies teacher at Palms Middle School in Los Angeles, California, taught the Tell Me Your Stories curriculum to her honors class. Here is the Oral History Project handout in a MS Word file format [size:38K].

Heritage is a musical conceived and compiled by Ali Mandelbaum, drama and music teacher. Each year, the musical is written, created, and acted by students and is based on the past memories of their ancestors. Each student researches his/her family tree and chooses an ancestor to portray in the final project. They create original scenes, monologues, and songs building on what all these real characters have in common. Some of the past themes were:

  • Dairy food – chefs, owners of farms
  • Medical professionals – Doctors, nurses
  • Innovators – inventors, store owners, etc.
  • Entertainers
  • People involved in wars
  • Religious people

Sample Web Projects
Here is a list of Web sites with great examples of a wide range of projects done by students, universities, historical societies, and others.

The Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley has an extensive catalogue of oral histories.

Center for Life Stories Preservation provides easy, creative ways for the whole family to capture and share stories.

Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archives is a collection of oral histories taken from people who experienced the struggle for civil rights in the state of Mississippi. Additionally there are audio clips from some of the interviews.

East Midlands Oral History Archives contains interesting links to projects, created by students and adults, resulting from the gathering of oral histories in their community.

The Heritage Education Commission was developed for the purpose of creating, initiating, and conducting programs and projects which aid in the preservation or restoration of the cultural in the region of Minnesota State University Moorhead. Their vast collection includes a variety of categories from business to arts to law enforcement.

History Matters provides examples of projects that history students, from high school to graduate school, have done on the Internet. Projects range from oral histories or prose with Web links to visual essays or exhibits.

The Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project records and preserves the voices of women visual artists in Iowa reflecting on their lives and their artwork.

Rocky Gap High School Oral History and Technology Project is a unique blend of tradition and technology. Technology is the lure to bring students to their community history through the stories of its citizens. However, it is these stories that give content for the technology to organize, manipulate, and publish. The process gives a student sense of place and thus of himself. The purpose of the site is to help teachers or community members initiate similar projects.

Rutgers Oral History Archives of World War II records the personal experiences of the men and women who served on the Home Front and overseas.

Tank Books promotes the self-published book, "Tanks for the Memories" by Aaron Elson. The book chronicles the fear, determination, and humor of veterans of WWII tank battalions. The site contains stories, interviews, poems, and audio of his collection.

Wayland High School History Project is an e-journal created by fifty high school juniors from two United States history classes during the Spring of 2001. Forty additional pupils refined and added to the original site in the Spring of 2002. The students realized that every senior citizen is a walking history book whose life is a small but important component of their national experience. They were aware of the reality that the men and women born in the 1910's and the 1920's are rapidly leaving us and believe that their recollections should be recorded for posterity.

What Did You Do in the War Grandma? contains oral histories of Rhode Island Women during World War II, written by students in the Honors English Program at South Kingstown High School.

The Whole World Was Watching: an oral history of 1968 contains transcripts, audio recordings, and edited stories of a series of interviews conducted by members of the Sophomore Class at SKHS. The class interviewed Rhode Islanders about their recollections of the year 1968. Their stories, which include references to the Vietnam War, the struggle for civil rights, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy as well as many more personal memories are a living history of one of the most tumultuous years in United States history.

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