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TasksCreate an oral history project Interview a person who participated in or witnessed an event or era in American history Create and use a list of interview questions Collaborate with other students to review all sets of questions Use the information to create a product to demonstrate your understanding of that person’s experience Collaborate with other students to improve each person’s final product
Step 1: Pick an event or era frombefore 1990Great Depression WatergateWorld War II Great SocietyMcCarthyism Three Mile IslandKorean War Reagan RevolutionAssassination of J.F.K Stagflation of the 1970sCuban Missile Crisis Iran Contra ScandalCivil Rights Movement Fall of the Berlin WallVietnam War
Step 2: Pick a person to interviewMake sure It is someone you know. Relative Family friend Neighbor The person is over 18. They have participated in or witnessed an event or era that you want to research. You complete the parental permission form.
Step 4: Develop 15 questions foryour interview.Your questions should Demonstrate a clear understanding of the time period. Show evidence that your researched the topic Probe the interviewee to give responses that require elaboration Stay away from questions that result in yes or no responses. Collaborate with other students to improve your questions and their questions Although your interview and topic are different, constructive feedback at this step helps everyone.
Design questions around some ofthese categoriesEntertainment/MediaEmployment/OccupationsCommunity LifeFamily LifeAccomplishmentsEvent/era’s impact on communityEvent/era’s impact on the interviewee’s lifeEvent/era’s impact on the nation
To Consider When Developing Questions…1. Ask easy questions first, such as brief biographical queries. Ask very personal or emotionally demanding questions after a rapport has developed. End as you began, not with bombshells, but gently with lighter questions.2. Do plan the topic and form of your first substantial question after the "settling down" phase. Ask a question that will prompt a long answer and "get the subject going."3. Unless you want one-word answers, phrase your questions so that they cant be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Don’t ask, "Were you a farmer in Buckingham during the 1930s?" Ask instead, "What was it like farming in Buckingham during the 1930s?" Ask "essay" questions that prompt long answers whenever you can. Find out not only what the person did, but also what she thought and felt about what she did.
To Consider When Asking Questions…1. Ask easy questions first, such as brief biographical queries. Ask very personal or emotionally demanding questions after a rapport has developed. End as you began, not with bombshells, but gently with lighter questions.2. Ask questions one at a time.3. Allow silence to work for you. Wait.4. Be a good listener, using body language such as looking at the interviewee, nodding, and smiling to encourage and give the message, "I am interested."5. If necessary, use verbal encouragement such as "This is wonderful information!" or "How interesting!" Be careful, however, not to pepper the interview with verbal encouragement such as "uh-huh," said at the same time that the interviewee is speaking.
To Consider When Asking Questions…1. Ask for specific examples if the interviewee makes a general statement and you need to know more. Or you might say, "I dont understand. Could you explain that in more detail?"2. Ask for definitions and explanations of words that the interviewee uses and that have critical meaning for the interview. For example, ask a Vietnam veteran what he means by Vietnamization. What was it ? What was its purpose?3. Rephrase and re-ask an important question several times, if you must, to get the full amount of information the interviewee knows.4. Ask follow-up questions and then ask some more.5. Be flexible. Watch for and pick up on promising topics introduced by the interviewee, even if the topics are not on your interview guide sheet.
Step 5: The interviewListen to the person’s responses.Ask appropriate follow-up questions.Keep a record of your person’s responses. Detailed notes or A sound recording
Step 6: Create a final productShows understanding of the interviewee’s experience in historical contextBe reviewed by members of your group for constructive feedback.Options for your final product A detailed thank-you letter to the interviewee (3 single-sided, double-spaced typed pages in proper letter format) A PowerPoint presentation- 15 slides presented to the class A Podcast Video/Movie A short narrative/biography (3 single-sided, double-spaced typed pages) Ask me if you have other ideas
Products should:Demonstrate an understanding of the historical event or eraIncorporate specific information from the interviewPlace the interviewee’s experiences in historical contextBe interesting and engaging to the audienceDemonstrate effort and quality work