Today I received an interesting email when I arrived at school. Chaela Herridge-Meyer, Senior Coordinator of Communications with the StoryCorps project, sent me a message requesting an interview about our Barrow Oral History Project. Many of you know that last year our 5th grade students interviewed 27 former Barrow buddies from as far back as 1925. During the project, students used online oral history examples such as StoryCorps and also used the StoryCorps National Day of Listening question generator to get ideas for the most effective interview questions. After the project was complete, I posted the link to our oral history page on the National Day of Listening wall in the hopes that other people who were passionate about gathering community stories would find their way to our project.
Chaela and I had a wonderful conversation about the power of oral history projects bringing history alive for students. We also talked about how our hope was that the students who participated in this project will go on to capture and preserve family stories to pass on to future generations. Also, by sharing this project at professional conferences like COMO, GaETC, and the Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature we hope that other classrooms, schools, and libraries will sponsor similar projects.
November is national family stories month. I invite everyone reading this blog to stop for just a moment, sit down with a family member, and interview him or her to gather some family stories you’ve never heard. I invite you record your interviews to pass along through YouTube, video, photography, writing, scrapbooking, or any other means you discover. I would love to hear about your stories. I would especially like to post some family stories from our school on our media center website. I’m even happy to help you in recording your story if you want to setup a time for me to help you.
The day after Thanksgiving is the official National Day of Listening. Their website has resources for creating effective questions and recording quality audio. I hope you will consider participating in this important day, but even if you can’t sit down for a family interview on November 26th, sit down sometime and listen.
“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how great it is to be alive.” -Dave Isay, Founder & President, StoryCorps