Teens take part in "Great Thanksgiving Listen"
Teens take part in "Great Thanksgiving Listen" Sam Harmon, left, is interviewed by his grandson Ezra Awumey, right, while his daughter Vivian Awumey, back right, watches, inside StoryCorps soundproof booth. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Teens take part in "Great Thanksgiving Listen"
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As students head to their Thanksgiving break, here comes a big homework assignment. StoryCorps wants tens of thousands of teenagers across America to interview a grandparent or elder this Thanksgiving.  And upload their recordings to the Library of Congress.
 
The nonprofit oral history organization is asking high school history teachers to have their students record the interviews with StoryCorps' free smartphone application. Recordings sent to the library will become part of a publicly accessible archive. It will be kept at the American Folklife Center.
 
"The Great Thanksgiving Listen" is an assignment that will last for generations. That is according to StoryCorps founder Dave Isay.
 
"When young people do these interviews and they hit 'send' at end of the interview to the library, they know that their great-great-great-great-great-grandkids are going to get to eavesdrop on this conversation someday.  And get to understand where they come from, who their ancestors were," Isay said.
 
He hopes it becomes an annual tradition that brings families closer together by using modern technology to preserve the wisdom of elders.
 
The students could tap into memories of events dating back to the 1920s. But Isay said the stories are less important than the fact that two people are talking.
 
"The purpose of StoryCorps is to have the two people who have this conversation feel more connected with each other and give the person who is being interviewed the chance to be heard," he said. "It's not so much what's in the stories as what the experience is like for the people who are recording."
 
Brandon Clarke, an administrator at the private Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York, is enthusiastic about the project. He said StoryCorps, which is headquartered near the school, interviewed some of his teachers while developing an instructional guide for the Thanksgiving project.
 
A couple weeks before the holiday, Berkeley Carroll students may get some classroom exercises aimed at sharpening their interview skills, Clarke said.
 
"How do you develop good questions? How do you go about conducting an interview? How do you build off of a really interesting response?"
 
But Isay said interviewing isn't hard. He said he has learned from listening to some of the 60,000 conversations StoryCorps has collected since 2003 that people are naturally good at it.
 
"It's just a matter of concentrating, being present, making sure you're in a quiet place," he said. "I think people understand the importance of the moment. And they treat it very seriously."
 
About 13 million radio listeners hear edited versions of StoryCorps interviews every Friday. It is heard on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." StoryCorps also shares excerpts of recordings through animated videos, podcasts and its website. Those stories are largely selected from the 5,000 interviews done annually by visitors to StoryCorps' mobile recording booth or its permanent booths in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta.
 
Users of the StoryCorps app, released in March, have recorded and uploaded 10,000 interviews. The app was funded by a $1 million TED prize and a $600,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
 
Isay said the Thanksgiving project will help spread the notion - championed by the late Chicago writer, historian and broadcaster Studs Terkel - that history comes from the bottom up.
 
Clarke agreed.
 
"This is a really great example of how oral history is really history," Clarke said. "For it to be legitimate history, it doesn't have to appear in print in a carefully edited book. Individual stories, individual perspectives are also part of history."

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/teens-take-part-great-thanksgiving-listen/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What can be learned by talking to older people?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (29)
  • hannaha-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:26 p.m.

    By talking to older people you can learn about the past from people who witnessed it first-hand.

  • donovanl-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:26 p.m.

    You can learn where you came from and who your ancestors were.

  • callans-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:27 p.m.

    Things that can be learned by talking to old people are how things were when they were young. If you asked an elder about a certain time period that they were alive during, they maybe able to tell you about what happened. The elders have the knowledge and they can answer some questions that others can't.

  • courtneyh-1-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:27 p.m.

    By talking to older people we can learned their story's of the past thanksgivings.

  • mattv-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:27 p.m.

    A lot of things can be learnt by talking to old people. They have first hand experience in some of the historic events like WWI, II and the Vietnam war. Possibly even segregation and the Great Depression. Instead of reading boring text books all day, listen to some stories from your grandparents or great grandparents... or even from someone who you don't know.

  • kyleighp-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:28 p.m.

    Things such as how a certain event was celebrated or how life functioned when they were kids,is something you can learn from older people.

  • hollyk-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:28 p.m.

    You can learn by talking to older people of what there thanksgiving was like while they were teenagers. Also it is to stay connected with them.

  • brooklynk-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:28 p.m.

    By talking to older people, you can learn about how life was before you were born, family history, and how the world has changed.

  • garretta-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:28 p.m.

    One thing that can be learned from talking to older people,is how they lived when they were your age.Or how the city you live in used to look.As well you can learn about how times are different from how you are growing up and when they grew up.

  • mimir-fel
    11/20/2015 - 02:29 p.m.

    People can learn first hand encounters of historic endeavors through talking to older pupils. They can learn thoughts and feelings of certain events the student is learning in school or are just interested in.

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