For the fifth year in a row StoryCorps is hosting The Great Thanksgiving Listen. This annual event is an effort to get families to talk and record their stories around the Thanksgiving table. The project was originally developed to get high school students to record the stories of their parents, grandparents, and other older family members. It has expanded over the years to be open to anyone who wants to participate. You can contribute your stories to a national collection or keep them private for just your family to enjoy.
StoryCorps provides materials to help students and teachers get involved in The Great Thanksgiving Listen. The resources for teachers include lesson plans, handouts, and even letters and a permission slip that you can send home to help explain the project to parents. To record interviews students can use the StoryCorps mobile apps (iOS version, Android version) or any other recording tool that you feel is appropriate for your students.
Applications for Education
I love Thanksgiving and I love oral histories. If I was still teaching social studies (I teach computer science now) I would have my students participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen as a way to have them gather local history stories in the context of personal stories. Before The Great Thanksgiving Listen came along I did this kind of project with a social studies class by having them record their parents’ and grandparents’ stories about going to our local county fair.