“This class proves that when you say yes to students, they will rise to the occasion and accomplish extraordinary things. We need to say yes to students more, not just at Stagg, not just in District 230, but everywhere.”
We know that the circumstances that made this class possible were unique, but we have witnessed first-hand how extraordinary the power that oral history in the hands of students can be. We believe that stories matter, that empathy is anything but a “soft-skill” and that students everywhere deserve the chance to take on the big questions that matter to them. Despite having a website, we don’t have it all figured out—not even close—but we’ve made plenty of mistakes and gotten lucky just enough times to hopefully be able to help. Whether you want to try and start a class of your own, attempt to help your students publish a book, or simply want to try to integrate an oral history unit into your class, we are happy to share any resources and experience we have. Check out the links we have posted below or contact us directly.
Thank you for visiting our website!
Lisa Thyer and Chris Wendelin
Our mentors and friends at Voice of Witness in San Francisco helped us to put together a Toolkit full of resources, sample projects, and commentary to allow teachers to replicate some of the lessons and projects from our class. You can download the toolkit for free by visiting the Voice of Witness website. While you’re there, check out the other educational materials, books and support services they offer.
JEA Chicago “One Story” Lesson Plans
This past fall we were honored to be asked to be a part of the Journalism Education Association’s One Story Committee for the Chicago Convention under the direction of Keith Carlson. Inspired by the podcast, Backseat Rider, we helped to create a series of journalism-focused lesson plans to help students explore the question, “What’s your big story?” You can find all the lesson plans and additional content resources on the JEA Chicago website.
Say It Forward
If you are looking for a more in-depth guide to help you to create your own justice-driven oral history project, we can’t say enough about this amazing new book from our mentors and two favorite people at Voice of Witness. Filled with resources and thoughtfully detailed field reports, Say it Forward not only helps to illustrate the scope and power of oral history projects, it has become our new class “text book” at Stagg. You can learn more about the book and even order a copy by visiting the Voice of Witness education page.