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Intergenerational Interviews

What do family members or neighbors remember about the "olden days" or their home countries? Find out in an oral history interview!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. The most exciting way to learn about recent history is to ask a person who was there to share their memories! Here are some suggestions on how to plan an interview.
    2. Prepare questions. Choose a person to interview who remembers or is an expert in the time period, culture, or topic you’re studying. With Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils, write questions that are likely to encourage the person to tell stories rather than just answer with a word or two.
    3. Interview and sketch! Contact the person. Arrange to meet in a quiet, convenient place. Let them know how long the interview will last. If you would like to tape it, ask for permission. When you get together, record the answers to your questions. You may think of new questions to ask, too. Take notes about any photos or objects that you borrow such as maps or photographs. Sketch a portrait of your interviewee.
    4. Prepare the presentation. Cut construction paper with Crayola Scissors to cover a recycled box or plastic container. Illustrate it with the portrait you drew and symbols of the person’s experiences such as a family tree, map, or timeline. On dark paper, use Crayola Metallic Colored Pencils. Attach the paper to the container with a Crayola Glue Stick.
    5. Create representative documents such as tickets or passports, letters home, marriage certificates, or family trees. Place these documents plus any 3-D artifacts (maybe a favorite piece of costume jewelry or book) inside the container for safekeeping. Carefully remove objects for display and presentation. Return items to the person you interviewed with a thank-you note.
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Compare and contrast different stories or accounts about past events, people, places, or situations, identifying how they contribute to our understanding of the past.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Prior to the interview, students collaborate to write interview questions for family members. Word process questions and make copies for each of the students in the class.

    Prior to the actual interview, students investigate significant historical events that occurred during the interviewee's lifetime. How might this information have influenced the life of the family member that you are interviewing?

    Students audio-tape or videotape the interview and post it to a classroom computer. Students are responsible for organizing a summary of their interview in addition to the audio/videotape.

    If the interview is audio-taped, students are to create a sketch of the person being interviewed using Crayola Colored Pencils. Post the sketch for viewing as classmates listen to the audio-tape of your interview.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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