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Oral History
Content Topic:
Research, oral history, interviewing, primary sources, family/personal history
Students write a researched oral history about a member of their family or family friend from an older generation than their own. Students select the individual that they would like to write an oral history for, research the time periods of the person’s life, conduct a personal interview, and write a paper of the person’s life incorporating quotes from the interview as well as researched elements from the time period of the person’s life. Students then use family/friend photos to create a Photostory project that is delivered to the interviewee.
Collaboration Potential:
History teacher
Total Estimated Time:
2 -3 weeks
Suggested Number Of Sessions:
  • Databases such as SIRS Researcher, Pop Culture Universe, and Gale Virtual Reference Library
  • PhotoStory 3 software (See supplemental materials)
  • Computers/laptops for student use
  • Oral History Assignment sheet (see supplemental materials)
  • Oral History Rubric (see supplemental materials)
  • Deadline checklist (see supplemental materials)
  • Headphone/microphone
  • Scanner


Terri Snethen, Shelly Weir, Jim Rosenberger, Cathy Ream, Diane Morris

Assignment & Assignment - Rubric-Shelly Weir

MLA Rubric -Abby Cornelius & Terri Snethen

  • Photo editing software
  • Royalty free music CDs or websites
Blank CDs and envelopes
Instruction / Activities:

Day 1

Direct Instruction:

·         Project is introduced using supporting materials SM1 – SM6.  These materials will be referenced by instructors throughout this project.

·         Students come to library media center and are instructed on locating the webliography on the library website.

·          Students view the resources available on the webliography. 

·         CT instructs students on proper writing conventions and the 6-traits.

·         CT instructs students on outlining techniques for this type of paper.


Day 2

Direct Instruction:

·         CT instructs students on peer reviewing for effective revision.

·         TL instructs students on proper MLA format for the paper, the Works Cited page, and in-text citations.

Day 3

Direct Instruction:

·         TL instructs students on scanning pictures and saving in the appropriate network folder.

·         TL instructs students on the use of Photostory 3, recording best practices and picture organization. 


Day 4

Modeling and guided practice:

·         TL and CT model an interview scenario for students.

·         TL models appropriate search techniques while using databases.

·         TL models proper formatting for MLA papers.


Day 5

Independent practice: 

·         Students research the time-periods using databases and create a list of 25 questions. 


Day 6

Independent practice:

·         After the interview, students research in greater depth, the issues that the subject commented on the most.

·         Students create a one page summary of the researched information.

·         Students organize information in a formal outline before beginning the rough draft.


Day 7

Independent practice:

·         Students scan up to 15 pictures of the subject.

·         Students write a rough draft of the oral history paper.


Day 8

Independent practice:

·         Students create the Photostory 3 project using pictures from the subject and the research paper as narration.


Day 9

Independent practice:

·         Students complete a final draft of the research paper properly formatted in MLA.


Day 10

Sharing and reflecting:

·         Students use 2 rounds of peer editing to review and revise the paper. (SM6_OralHistory)


Day 11

Sharing and reflecting:

·         Students share the finished Photostory 3 project with the class and the subject of their paper.

·         Students write a Thank You note to the subject and include the finished paper and video project.

Terri Snethen, Shelly Weir, Jim Rosenberger, Cathy Ream, Diane Morris
Print this Lesson Plan
Presented By: Abby Cornelius
Collaborative: Terri Snethen, Shelly Weir, Jim Rosenberger, Cathy Ream, Diane Morris
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