Connect with Family & Friends through Oral Histories

Connect with Family & Friends through Oral Histories

One of my favorite things about the holidays is getting together with family, especially my grandparents, and listening to them tell stories from when they were little. They’d tell me about walking 3 miles in the snow to school, living through World War II (and in some cases serving in the military), as well as how fashion and even cooking has changed over the decades. As a kid, and even still today, I gobble (pun intended) up those stories.

This year, visiting with family will look a little different. We’ll be trading the mounds of baked goods around the table, for a cozy virtual gathering around the computer. While we may not be able to gather with our loved ones in person, we can still collect those stories virtually!

In the accompanying blog post, you’ll find resources to engage your students in collecting oral histories. They’ll explore how individuals and communities experienced the events in history by recording the stories of their families lived experiences. Not only is this a great way for your student to work on soft skills like interviewing, it’s also a great way to connect to the older adults in their life!

Oral History Resources to Explore

Ohio Memory
Did you know Ohio Memory also has over 200+ recorded oral histories, with stories ranging from a soldier’s life, immigrant experiences, the experience of prejudice and racism, and more. To learn more, check out

Teaching Tolerance’s Oral History Projects
Grade: 3-5
Students conduct interviews and record personal experiences focused on a specific theme from the central text. They then synthesize and present the information as an article, pamphlet, poster or other medium of their choice.

EDSITEment!’s Oral History as an Educational Experience
This toolkit includes instructional concepts, ideas, and strategies for use by educators to design a curriculum that reflects their instructional goals and the needs of their students while appreciating Vietnam veterans in their community.

Library of Congress: Oral History and Social History Lesson Plan
This lesson presents social history content and topics through the voices of ordinary people. Using excerpts from the American Life Histories collection, students study social history topics through interviews that recount the lives of ordinary Americans. Based on these excerpts and further research in the collections, students develop their own research questions. They then plan and conduct oral history interviews with members of their communities.

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Posted November 23, 2020

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