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Oral History Project: Preparing for our oral history (Part 6 of 7)


Language Arts, CHamoru, Oral History


Elementary, 3-5

Time required

45 minutes (This can be separated into two days.)

Materials required

  • Flipchart or chalk board
  • Markers or chalk
  • Recording device
  • CD player and speakers

Related background reading


Related documents

Recording release

Related links

Lesson Plan


In this lesson students will become familiar with the recording device and prepare for their interview.


  • Students will learn the basics of using a digital recording device.
  • Students will devise a list of topics to cover in their interview.
  • Students, in pairs, will develop a list of questions on each topic.
  • Students will develop a plan to research their respective topics.


Teacher prep

  1. Schedule speaker
  2. Have speaker sign recording release
  3. Set up recording equipment

Pre-Interview Prep (10 minutes)

  1. Remind students to ask broad questions at first, followed by possible focused questioned (like game of 20 questions played in previous lesson).
  2. Ask students to be mindful of the time, and to allow for everyone to get a chance to ask questions.
  3. Ask students to relax and be polite.

Conducting the Oral History (35 minutes)

  1. Demonstrate to the students how the equipment is used to record and playback.
  2. Play sound samples (off speakers) of different recorder positions:
    • Too close to one person, uneven sound
    • Too far, no sound
    • Too close to mouth, pops
  3. With teacher seated in a new location, ask students to position recorder in the correct place.

Introduction to Research (10 minutes)

  1. Ask students to come up with topic areas for the interview (e.g. food, fashion, family life).
  2. List them on board, and have students consolidate them in order of importance/interest.
  3. Assign each topic to a pair of students.

Developing Topic Ideas (20 minutes)

  1. In pairs, students determine what they want to learn about their topic. 10 minutes.
  2. Each pair shares their ideas with the group for feedback. 10 minutes.

Overview of Research Resources (10 minutes)

  1. Have students develop a list of research resources.
  2. Outline basic steps students should do at home:
    • Ask parents
    • Check Internet and Guampedia (if possible, demonstrate Guampedia to the class)
    • Check books, library (if possible)
  3. Come up with basic questions each pair should answer for their topic, due by the next class.
  4. Have students write down the outline and their questions into notebooks.

Recap (3 minutes)
Recap what we’ve done and learned in the lesson:

“We’ve learned how to use a recording device and position it correctly, we’ve developed a list of interview topics and questions, and determined at a plan to do the necessary background research.”

Ask students for their favorite parts of the lesson.