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Oral History Project: Introduction (Part 1 of 7)


Language Arts, CHamoru, Oral History


Elementary, 3-5

Time required

45 minutes

Materials required

  • Flipchart or chalk board
  • Markers or chalk
  • Jar with five types of candy

Related background reading


Related documents


Related links


Lesson Plan


This lesson will serve as an overall introduction to the unit and its participants. Students will play an ice-breaker, then interview the teacher, and lastly the final project (a recorded oral history) will be introduced.


  • Students will begin to learn about this unit.
  • Students will begin to think about oral history and its methods through the introduction of trainers and participants.
  • Students will begin to develop ideas for interviewing and information-gathering.

Questions or Assessment

  • Who is my teacher?
  • How do I find out more about him/her?


Teacher prep
Obtain five kinds of candy.

Icebreaker (10 minutes)

  1. Participants draw up to five candies from the bag
  2. Explain to participants that the kinds of candies they chose correspond to different categories
    • A favorite hobby
    • A favorite place on earth
    • A favorite food
    • Someone you admire or look up to
    • Tell us anything random about yourself
  3. Every participant shares up to five things about themselves, depending on the types of candy they chose.

Sample transition: “Now that I’ve gotten to know all of you a little better, I’m going to give all of you some time to find out who I am.”

Know Your Teacher: Initial Interviewing (15 minutes)
Students can ask questions of the teacher. The teacher should at times try to be evasive, give very short answers, refuse to answer, or be very long-winded.

Sample transition: “What you’ve done just now is interview me. All of you are familiar with interviews—you’ve seen them on the news, read quotes in the newspaper, or perhaps heard them on the radio. You can see that sometimes it can be very difficult to do. What are some things you think will help you get answers or find out the information you want to know?”

Discussion: List ways to improve interviews, information-gathering. Save list for use in later lesson.

Project Explanation (10-15 minutes)

  1. Explain to students that there are lots of ways to get information; have students name some (newspapers, books, TV, radio, internet, Guampedia!)
  2. Tell students that CHamorus and other Pacific Islanders have traditionally used storytelling as a way to pass on history and knowledge. Visit Puntan and Fu’una: Gods of Creation on Guampedia for more information on the development of CHamorus on Guam). Also visit Guampedia’s Micronesia Portal to learn about our neighbors.
  3. Explain to students that as Guamanians we will also learn how to share history and knowledge through storytelling.
  4. Describe the final project as an opportunity to interview and record an elder.
  5. Review the big schedule.
    • Every class begins with a listening exercise
    • Review lessons for the day
    • Incorporate games and activities throughout each session
    • Sometimes outside field work will be assigned, but it won’t take long too do and it will be fun
  6. Solicit/brainstorm ideas for things they want to know/interview about.