Friday, March 3, 2017

Interviewing History

I love how chatty they are when they come back into the common area at Green Acres Assisted Living facility. My Public Speaking students planned and prepared throughout our week together for this interview and have just finished recording their interactions with the residents of our local retirement facility.  Working in partners, they prepared questions to learn more about the childhoods of our local senior citizens. Then, my students used the StoryCorps app to record their interviews.  And now that their interviews are complete, they can't stop chatting about all they have learned.

"Did you hear that they have been married for 73 years?"

"Her husband died just a year after they were married."

"Her family's home burnt to the ground and her brothers, sisters, and parents all living together in a tent until they could afford to rebuild their home."

"He lived through the Great Depression."

"Did you see all the World War II medals he had."

It was easy to see they were nervous when we first entered through the double doors of the facility. They chatted nervously with their partners, a bit apprehensive.  But 20 minutes later as they emerged from their interviews, students could not wait to share all the surprising connections and stories they had heard. My high school students were excited to share the stories they had heard.

"Ms. Ward, I'm sorry we're late.  But when she mentioned that she had lived through the Great Depression, I just wanted to hear more, so I asked her a few more questions and lost track of time."

My students wanted to sit with our elderly residents and learn.

This is the value of connecting our local community to what is happening in our schools. We learn with one another, from one another. This is what school should be.

You can hear some of the stories that we've collected over the past year by rolling over the image below and clicking on the individual interviews you'd like to hear.

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