Mining the Riches of History

Oral History Resources

Examples of Oral History Projects

PBS Interviewing a Parent - History Detectives
This lesson guides students on how to create and conduct an interview of a parent. The site includes standards, videos, tips, activities, and more.

What is History? Timelines and Oral Histories
A 4-part lesson from Thinkfinity that helps students understand what history is. Activities include the building of a class timeline based on family histories, the taking of oral histories, and practice of being a historian by synthesizing two accounts of the same family event. Supporting documents and worksheets are included.

Teachers' Notes for Oral History Project - KS2
A look at Black History in parts of the UK using oral histories taken by sixth graders at a local senior center.

These three tools are ideal for using when recording and sharing the oral history interviews. UTellStory (TF review), FlipGrid (TF review), and Thinglink (TF review)

For primary sources:

PBS lesson plans: The Art of Interviewing
This link takes you to the search results for “interviewing” at the PBS site for teachers. Especially useful might be the Ken Burns video about the power of “story” and the activity called “Power of Story Toolkit” which aids in producing student-made documentaries and video histories of WWII veterans.

Eyewitness to History - (TF Review)
Primary sources including written accounts, film footage, and snapshots with links to more information; broken down by time period. Caution: site ads may be inappropriate. Printer-friendly versions of selected first-hand accounts may be a better way to go.

History Matters - (TF review)
Audio interviews, images, and documents are included in the “Many Pasts” section. A quote from the site reads: “Designed for high school and college teachers and students, History Matters serves as a gateway to web resources and offers other useful materials for teaching U.S. history.”

American Memory Collection
The American Memory collection at the Library of Congress website. Contains films, songs, letters, documents, manuscripts, photographs, etc. Searchable a number of ways. Lots of raw material here for older students to build oral histories using memories and experiences of people no longer living.

For lesson plans that link literature and history:

Memories Matter: The Giver and Descriptive Writing Memoirs
Uses Lois Lowry’s book The Giver for lessons in writing descriptive memoir.

Living Between Two Worlds
For grades 7-12, this lesson called “Living Between Two Worlds” utilizes Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street  and My American Girls: A Dominican Story from the PBS P.O.V. series to explore themes related to immigration and family life.


Introduction Getting
Lay the Groundwork Teach
Process and
Help with Interviewing Oral History Resources