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Oral History Topics

Art

  • A life review of a local artist

  • A community event associated with the arts

  • The changing styles of art over a specific span of time

  • A videotaped interview which demonstrates how an artistic technique is accomplished

Biology

  • Interview a biologist about their memories of the scientific community

Business Education

  • The positive and negative aspects of a career

  • A life review of a local business leader/owner

  • The history of a local business or industry

  • The impact of depression/recession/economic boom on business

  • The role of business in the community

Career and Technology Studies

  • How a local product is manufactured

  • An analysis of foreign vs domestic quality control

  • A videotaped interview which demonstrates a specialized craft or technique e.g. tool and die making

  • A videotaped interview of an individual operating an obsolete piece of equipment or demonstrating how a product was produced

Chemistry

  • Interview a chemist e.g. pharmacist

Computers

  • The role of computers

Drama

  • How a play is produced and/or performed

  • A life review of a local playwright

  • The history and impact of a community theater

  • The documentation of a unique or special performance

  • Memories of the local community theatre

Dance

  • Interview a local dancer or choreographer

  • Role of dance in community life

  • Memories of an area dance hall or event

English

  • Interview a local novelist, poet, playwright, or other type of writer

  • Interview local legends

Environmental Studies

  • Interview community members about an environmental disaster that happened in the community e.g. tornado, flood, ice-storm, chemical spill, drought, forest fire

  • Changes to local landscape

ESL

  • Interview recent immigrants to the area

French

  • Interview French community members

  • French street or place names in the community

  • Role of French in their lives

Foreign Language

  • The foreign perspective of an event e.g. Italian perspective of WWII

  • Comparing lifestyles and/or cultures of Canada and the country being studied

  • How a foreign language is used in a specific career

  • A life review of an individual who lived in a different country

Geography

  • Founding of the community regarding location and challenges early settlers faced

  • Interview an area geographer

  • Interview a town planner

History

  • Arrival into the community

  • Local impact of national or international events e.g. wars

  • Memories of community life

  • Interview an area historican about an historical event e.g. archivist, professor, museum curator, journalist

  • Immigration and settlement patterns and their affects on aboriginal populations

Home Economics

  • How the home/fashion/styles has changed over the decades

  • A collection of local recipes

  • A videotaped interview demonstrating home arts and crafts

Languages

  • Interview individuals who do not speak English

  • Significance of non-English street and place names in the community

Mathematics

  • The role math played in a period of recent local history

  • How math contributed to a local technological development

  • The relationship of prices and wages or a particular era/decade

  • The professional contributions of a local mathematician

  • The use of math everyday by people e.g. scientist, architect, town planner, business owner, or pharmacist

Music

  • A life review of a musician, band, composer or songwriter

  • The impact of music on a specific era in recent history

  • An analysis of today's songs with songs of another era

  • A videotaped interview of a craftsman making a musical instrument

  • Local traditional songs and their history

Native Studies

  • Interview aboriginal community elders on the impact of immigration on local aboriginal populations

  • Interview aboriginal community elders on the relationship and interaction between theirs and the surrounding community over the years

  • Traditional aboriginal community characteristics

Photography

  • The impact of technology on photography

  • A life review of a photographer

  • The documentation of new and old photographic techniques

  • The impact of technology on photographic processing

Physical Education/Health

  • A specific aspect of sports history or sports medicine

  • A life review of a local sports personality

  • A collection of folk remedies

  • The changing attitudes on health and fitness

  • Memories related to local sports and sporting events

Physics

  • Interview people who use physics in their job e.g. town planner, contractor, bridge builder, astronomer, teacher, engineer, forester, pilot

Science

  • A life review of a local inventor or innovator

  • The impact of a new technology on the community

  • The accomplishments of a local scientist

  • The documentation of medical history

Speech and Communication

  • The history of a local television or radio station

  • The impact of technology on communications

  • How a community newspaper is published

  • A life review of a broadcaster or newsreporter

Built Environment

  • A life review of a local architect

  • The history of local buildings and landmarks

  • The architecture styles of the community

  • The various historical homes in the area

  • The building materials and technology used in historic preservation

  • Pros and Cons of restoration versus demolition

  • Why and how buildings adapt to modern needs

  • Origin of street or place names in the community

Adapted Source:

  • ED 348 330 Oral History in the Secondary Classroom 

  • The Academy Point of View

Oral History Skills and Methods

Art

  • The painting of an interviewee's portrait and/or illustration of an event described in an interview

  • A production of titles and graphics for an oral history media presentation

Biology

  • Article or biography on a local biologist

Business Education

  • The business management and marketing of an oral history project

  • The transcription of oral history tapes

  • Create a budget for the completion of an oral history project

Career and Technology Studies

  • The construction of cases/ portable panels for an oral history display

  • The construction of a scale model, based on a oral history interview

Chemistry

  • Article or biography on a local chemist

Computers

  • Article or biography on a local computer company/individual

Drama

  • The improvisation of a skit from an oral history interview or set of interviews

  • The writing and production of a play based on oral history interviews

Dance

  • Article or biography on a local dancer

English

  • Article or biography on a local writer, playwright, novelist

Environmental Studies

  • Article or biography on a local geographer, environmentalist

ESL

  • Article or biography on a local immigrant

Foreign Language

  • The conducting of an oral history interview in a foreign language and its translation in English

  • The presentation of a report based on an interview. The rest of the class can serve as examiners, who ask the interviewer critical questions about the interview

French

  • Article or biography on local French families

Geography

  • Article or biography on a local geographer, town planner

History

  • Article or biography on a local historian

Home Economics

  • The making of period costumes for an oral history presentation

  • The construction of a kitchen display from a by-gone era, as described in an oral history interview

Languages

  • Article or biography on a local language expert

Mathematics

  • The production and analysis of charts, graphs, and tables from data acquired through oral history interviews

  • The extrapolation of trends and/or calculation of statistics from interview data

Music

  • The writing and performance of original music for a live or media presentation using oral history interviews

  • The selection and editing of music for a live or media performance based on oral history interviews

Native Studies

  • Article or biography on local native elders, youth

Photography

  • The reproduction of photographs from an oral history slide show

  • The production of creative photography for an oral history publication

Physical Education/Health

  • The production of a tv show based on interviews with local sports legends

  • The development of a display at a health or community heritage fair demonstrating how health care has changed, documented from oral history interviews

Physics

  • Article or biography on a local town planner, contractor, bridge builder, astronomer, teacher, engineer, pilot, forester

Science

  • The production of a radio show based on interviews with leading community scientists, inventors, and innovators

  • The scientific analysis of folklore and folk remedies, which were acquired from oral history interviews

Speech and Communication

  • The use of oral history tapes to analyze the skills of interviewing and to practice the techniques of listening

  • The analysis of speech patterns, body language, and colloquial sayings from videotaped interviews

Built Environment

  • The development of a scale model of local historical buildings as described in oral history interviews

  • The documentation of architectural styles based on interviews

  • The creation of a resource compiling building construction methods and materials based on oral history interviews

Adapted Source:

  • ED 348 330 Oral History in the Secondary Classroom 

  • The Academy Point of View 

Oral History Unit Overview

Information for the Development of an Oral History Project

Oral History Project: Guidelines For Recording an Interview

Fish Bowls and Bloopers: Oral History in the Classroom

One Minute Guide to Oral Histories

Oral History Questions

Specific Oral History Questions

Oral History Lesson Plans

Oral History Websites

Oral History Activities

Teacher's Guide to the Teen Report Handbook

Oral History Topics, Skills and Methods

Download Oral History Topics in Word Document format.

 

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