I'm delighted to announce the debut of a new mini-footlocker, "Oral History in the Classroom." Unlike most of our footlockers, which are designed for fourth grade—but used successfully at all grade levels with some adapation—this footlocker is designed with upper grades in mind.
Most of our footlockers include replica artifacts and focus on particular topics (immigration, the early reservation period, or World War II, for example.) Oral History in the Classroom is more of a DYI kit, designed to get students working as oral historians, recording the history of their own communities. The footlocker includes eight Sony IC Audio Recorders, batteries and chargers, useful reference material, and detailed lesson plans for creating a classroom-based oral history project.
As with all of our footlockers, educators are welcome to download the user guide whether or not you order the footlocker. The user guide includes detailed lesson plans, most of which can be done without ordering the footlocker, assuming you have access to digital recorders. (Students can even use a digital recorder app on their cell phones, but the audio quality won't be as good.)
The lesson plans include information on WHY and HOW to conduct classroom oral history projects—covering methodological questions (what does oral history offer that other types of research don't) and offering practical suggestions (how to recruit good narrators and teach students to ask open-ended questions.) It also contains useful forms—sample release forms, interview summary worksheets, as well as a rubric for grading student projects and suggestions for project topics.
As with our other footlockers, Oral History in the Classroom can be reserved for a two-week period (and if you think you'll need the footlocker for longer than two weeks, you can reserve it for two consecutive reservation periods). The only cost to the school of ordering a footlocker is the cost of shipping it to the next user or back to the Montana Historical Society.
I'm pretty tickled with how the footlocker turned out. I hope you'll check it out—literally, by using our online reservation form, or figuratively, by downloading and reviewing the user guide. Then let me know what you think! I sure hope it's useful.
P.S. We'll be bringing this footlocker and lots of other resources to MEA-MFT. Come by our booth and check it out. And, if you have time, join us Thursday evening (5:15 p.m.-) for an informal meet-up at the Montgomery Distillery, 129 West Front Street. (The distillery serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.)