Hearing/Producing/Performing Oral History

CASE Conference 2015
Steve Schwartz, Kristen Finkbeiner, Mike Soffer, and Bernie Heidkamp
Oak Park River Forest High School American Studies teams

Inspired by Tim O’Brien’s reflections on truth and the power of storytelling in The Things They Carried — a foundational text for our American Studies courses — we have looked to use first-person narratives, literary and historical, to enhance our understanding of the moments and movements we study. A diversity of voices and perspectives resists the tendency to generalize, to simplify or reduce the complexity and contradictions, within the American experience.

As the culmination of this approach, the final project of the year requires students to hear, produce and perform oral history — as part of a larger research process that asks them to consider the significance of recent events or movements that have touched their families, friends, and community.

Hearing Oral History

Producing Oral History

*Two versions of a Final Research Project incorporating oral history*

Performing Oral History