Learn & Play
Lesson Plan

Oral History - Learning about ourselves

Oral histories tell us about ourselves and our history and give us a personal glimpse into historical events. We will learn how to record a meaningful oral history of a family member and create a 3–5-minute edited video with a written reflection, describing how our family history influences our lives today.

Record a meaningful oral history of a family member and create a video to reflect on how our family history influences your lives today.

Discussion Questions

· What word comes to mind when you hear the word “story”?

· What kinds of stories do you like to tell?

· Do you have people in your family who like to tell you stories?

· Does anyone tell you stories about their life?

· What do you learn from stories about someone’s life?

· How does learning from a personal story differ from learning from a history book?

· What does the person tell the story benefit from the experience?

· What does the person listen to the story benefit from the experience?

· How does it feel when someone wants to hear your story?

Group Activity

Learn how to interview and practice.

Listen to a selection of oral histories to become acquainted with the genre, for example from the Centropa and Storycorps websites.

Watch the video from the Storycorps website “Four Tips for an Effective Interview.” In pairs, write five questions based on the guidelines presented in the video and these sample questions. Then interview each other, record it (audio or video) and reflect on what you have learned from the process.

What made the interview successful? What were some problems with the interview?

Conduct an interview with a family member based on the guidelines you have learned and practiced. Create a 3–5-minute clip from the material you recorded. Consider including captions and photographs. Here is a list of questions you might want to draw from.

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· What word comes to mind when you hear the word “story”?

· What kinds of stories do you like to tell?

· Do you have people in your family who like to tell you stories?

· Does anyone tell you stories about their life?

· What do you learn from stories about someone’s life?

· How does learning from a personal story differ from learning from a history book?

· What does the person tell the story benefit from the experience?

· What does the person listen to the story benefit from the experience?

· How does it feel when someone wants to hear your story?

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