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Farragut Middle School Sixth Graders Create Own Oral Histories

A pair of sixth graders work on their recordings for their COVID-19 oral history project.Farragut Middle School sixth graders are documenting their lives for their future selves.

Sixth grade students explored oral histories using the Library of Congress framework this month. Using the framework, students created their own oral histories about life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It feels pretty cool because I can go back to it and see how it felt,” said sixth grader Caroline Emilio.

For the assignment, students played the role of both interviewer and interviewee by asking questions about life during quarantine and how it has changed since. Working individually or in groups, they then recorded their answers with an audio program on their computer to create snapshots of their experiences as sixth graders during this time.

“They have a record of this period of time in their lives,” said head librarian Arianna Grassia. “It can be good for them to look back on when they are graduating, and they will be able to see where their heads were during this time.”

Some students asked themselves how the pandemic was different from other historical events they had lived through. Others asked themselves about good things that came out of the pandemic and fond memories would stay with them. Grassia said the assignment not only gives students an audio time capsule but also the opportunity to use the analysis framework they have done on other oral histories and apply it to their own.

Although some students do not think their future selves will give the same answers.

“I don’t think I will agree with the responses I give now in the future,” said sixth grader Olivia Bourns. “I think they will be a little similar but probably different in how I feel.”