Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Sing to the Power: A Social Justice Program for Children Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 2: Recording Oral Histories

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Video or audio recorder(s)
  • Paper or notecard for thank-you note.

Preparation for Activity

  • Invite a person from your congregation or community whose life story you admire or want to learn more about to come and be interviewed.

Description of Activity

Participants practice listening, and experience the gifts that can come with taking the time to hear another person's story and point of view.

Allow five or ten minutes before your guest arrives to brainstorm questions that the children may want to ask. These can include basic personal information, such as where the person was born, how old they are, who is in their family of origin, and whether they have a spouse/partner and/or children. Include questions that dig deeper, such as "What have you done that you're really proud of?" "When was a time that you were scared?" "What's one thing you really want to do before you die?" "Who are your heroes?" or "What has made you happiest?"

Designate one or more participants to record the oral history on audio or video. If you wish, this role can switch with each question.

When your guest arrives, invite them to briefly introduce themselves. Then have participants take turns asking questions.

At the end of the interview have all participants thank your guest for their time.

After the guest has gone, invite participants to reflect on the experience, with questions such as:

  • Was it hard to stay focused on listening when you were eager to ask a question yourself?
  • Did you learn something new about the person who spoke?
  • Was there any way your view of the world was changed by what you heard from your guest?
  • What do you think would be a good thing to do with the video or audio recording that you have captured? (If you plan to share it online, be sure to get permission first).

Invite the children to write a thank-you note to the guest.

Including All Participants

Participants who tend to be physically active may benefit from having a quiet, manipulable, such as Silly Putty(R) or clay, to engage their hands during the meditation.