Students will develop skills as family oral history historians and digital archivists.


  1. Develop student listening skills as they ask open ended questions during an interview with someone else

  2. Develop digital literacy skills focusing on audio recording and sharing

  3. Develop respect for intellectual property and the importance of obtaining PERMISSION before taking a photo, recording a video, or making an audio recording of someone else. Also, understand the importance of sharing YOUR INTENDED AND PLANNED USE of recorded media, and obtaining subject permission to share their image / recordings publicly.


  1. Identity and test audio recording website(s) and apps which students will use in the project.

  2. Using MacOS (iMac) computer lab computers at school as well as (potentially) home computers, in fall 2020 we're using twistedwave.com/online. It is free and integrates well with Google Drive.

  3. Additional audio recording apps and options are listed on showwithmedia.com/radio-show/

  4. The teacher should test the recording procedures on the SAME computer(s) or device(s) students will use for this project in advance, to insure website/app availability, function with the school web filter, etc.

  5. Setup a class in Google Classroom or another LMS (learning management system) where students can turn in their script, signed permission form, and final audio recording / project.

  6. Setup a podcasting channel (like ours: anchor.fm/casady) on a web platform where student projects can be shared later


  1. Listen together to high quality examples of oral history interviews recorded and shared by others. Storycorps.org/stories/ has a great collection. "Three Generations Of Women Pharmacists On Living Through The Pandemic" is a short (3 minute) example.

  2. Introduce students to "The Great Questions List" from Storycorps. Ask students to select one question, and use their audio recording platform (like TwistedWave) to record a short (<2 minute) audio interview with themselves. Save the named MP3 to Google Drive and turn in via Google Classroom / your LMS.

  3. Watch the 2.5 minute video, "Best Practices for Conducting an Interview" from StoryCorps.

  4. Assign students the task of listening to at least 3 different interviews on Storycorps.org/stories/, then reflecting on one of them on your class blog, Seesaw learning journal, or other interactive website which allows students to view each others work and provide feedback.

  5. Ask students to ask a family member if they are willing to be interviewed for this project. Ask the interview subject to complete and sign the "Project Permission Form" (PDF - editable Google Docs version)

  6. Ask students to complete the "Oral History Interview Script." They should select a theme for the interview and write at least 5 open-ended questions. (These can be copied or modified from "The Great Questions List" from Storycorps)

  7. Ask students to use their script with a classmate and conduct a PRACTICE oral history interview. Use an audio recording platform (like TwistedWave) and turn in the file via Google Classroom. (Lesson Cast Video Available)

  8. Teach students the basics of EDITING and NORMALIZING audio using your selected audio recording platform. (TUTORIAL VIDEO LINK COMING)

  9. Assign students the task of recording their own family oral history interview, and turning in the named MP3 audio file in Google Classroom / your LMS.

  10. After students turn in their interview recordings, the teacher can combine (by theme) audio interviews into longer podcast episodes, and publish those on the shared class podcast channel.

  11. Ask students to link (and EMBED, if possible) their recorded audio interviews on your class blog, Seesaw learning journal, or other interactive class website. (Sample Seesaw Activity)

  12. Ask students to LISTEN to another combined family oral history podcast, and provide specific, written feedback about the episode on your class blog, Seesaw learning journal, or other interactive class website.


  1. Create QR codes for the different podcast interviews / segments and post them around the school.

  2. Share links to the podcast channel and audio recordings in your school newsletter. Write short feature articles about the voices and stories featured in each episode, and share these periodically throughout the remaining school year.

  3. Share links to the podcast episodes on social media.

  4. Host a "Family Oral History Celebration Night" when students share some of their interview recordings, and both students and family members talk about the impact of this project on their learning as well as their extended family.

Tips for Family Oral History Interviews by @wfryer (Aug 2020)

Download a PDF or Google Docs version of our Project Permission Form

Practice Interview 2

Google Classroom assignment:

Complete the attached "Oral History Interview Script" with at least five planned questions.

Refer to the “Great Questions List” by Storycorps for question ideas. Be sure to ask OPEN ENDED questions!

Use your script and either the TwistedWave Website or iOS app "Voice Record Pro" to record a PRACTICE interview with a classmate or someone else. TURN IN BOTH your completed SCRIPT here and your recorded MP3 audio file.

To record your interview you may use either:

  1. twistedwave.com/online

  2. Voice Record Pro (iPad app)

Additional Resources