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Storytelling through Oral History & Digital Timelines in a High School English Class

Dr. Erin Zavitz
(Bosque School)


We’re focusing on learning more about ordinary people’s lives and understanding how everyone has a story to tell even if it’s not one that makes it in a book.

Project Overview: Oral History

  • 10th Grade (private High School) English course project
  • Conduct an oral history interview with an individual of your choosing
  • Create an interview plan, including description of the narrator, interview location, interview technology, letter to the narrator, and questions
  • Obtain informed consent
  • Complete a video reflection in which you reflect on your experience and what you learned through the oral history interview

Outcomes & Deliverables

Students reflect on the importance of storytelling in the context of the texts they read in class, and acknowledge the importance of how we tell stories as well as how those stories get told.


In the past I have had students make their own timelines, but I’ve found that having too many people on one spreadsheet is a disaster. This time, I entered their data in Timeline JS and shared the versions with them for a peer review. . . By having them work in groups and share their work, they were more engaged with the entire process.

Project Overview: Timeline Biography

  • Group activity in which students create a timeline of William Shakespeare’s life in preparation for reading The Tempest
  • Conduct biographical research and compare important life events and their relevance
  • Data is entered in Timeline JS and reviewed by class

Outcomes & Deliverables

Students learn about Shakespeare’s life and the historical context when he lived, better understanding how he may have been influenced when writing The Tempest.

Resources

Oral History Assignment

Rationale and instructions for oral history assignment (Shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.)

Shakespeare Timeline Assignment

Complete instructions for timeline assignment (Shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license.)

Tools & Topics: Oral History

Learn more about the oral history presentations from the 2019 institute, and find relevant resources

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