1.1 Oral History Introduction WebQuest

In their US History class students used the schools computers to do a webquest as an introduction to the Oral History Project process. They visited three different websites and searched through the content on each page to answer questions and reflect on their findings. First students went to the Kiana Village History Project website Alaskan town and were able to examine specific oral history stories of their choice and reflect on what they heard. Next they viewed the site for the Native American Experience: The Oral Histories and Cultures of America’s First and examined interview suggestions from their “get involved” guide and analyzed interview questions. Finally, the students referenced the website for the Southern Oral History Program and used the “how to guide” to examine helpful tips on how to begin writing questions and preparing for their own Oral History project.

1.2 “A Pioneer’s Search for an Ideal Home” by Phoebe Goodell Judson, Excerpts and Reflections

Students read 3 chapters from a local published book about a woman growing up and raising a family as a white settler in the area. Students were asked to respond to comprehension questions as well as identify names, places and other local historical accounts that they recognize. Students were also asked to reflect on the relationships and interactions of the family with the local Lummi natives.

1.3 Interview Questions Lesson

In their English class, students spent a few days brainstorming ideas of how to write appropriate and complete interview questions. The lesson had two parts.

Part I Advice for Interview Questions was a class discussion about what makes a good interview question and how interviews are more than just questions. The discussion included tips about embellishing questions with appropriate body language and how to be a good listener/note-taker.

Part II Organizing Your Interview broke down the interview into the following sections:

  1. For the Record
  2. Experiences and History
  3. Family Life
  4. Environment and Local History
  5. The Closing

Each section was clearly outlined with examples and suggestions of appropriate questions. The students’ assignment was to come up with approximately 10 questions for each section with their interview group. The questions were proofed corrected for grammar and appropriateness by the group itself and all teachers involved with the project. Students were told that it was alright if not all questions were asked in the interview, but were available if they needed to guide the interviewee in a specific direction.

1.4 Cultural Sensitivity and Key Advice Lesson

The history teachers spent approximately one and half block periods discussing issues around cultural sensitivity and giving key advice on how to be professional and appropriate during and interview. First, students were asked in small groups to come up with their own ideas about how and what they needed to be aware of during an interview. Students came up with things such as: shaking hands, eye contact, not laughing or acting shocked about stories they might here. Second, they then had a series of “what if” scenarios where they had to write how they would respond. For example, What will you do if the interviewee begins to cry or get emotional? The students then brainstormed ideas such as: make sure we have tissue on hand; ask if they need some water or want to take a break for a few minutes. Finally, a few students and a teacher did a role play. The teacher posed different scenarios and the students acted out what they would do in different situations. Students then evaluated the success of the mock-interview.

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