Oral History Project with Kids at the Beech Street School

For the last nine weeks, WFMY has been working in collaboration with the 21st Century After School program at Beech St. School in Manchester.  We have had a dedicated group of 17 students, grades 3 – 5, who have met weekly to learn about leadership by completing oral history research projects about some of the leaders in their school. Our focus has been on having students learn that they have many opportunities to become leaders in all of the communities they are a part of.

After talking about leadership and community, we covered some interviewing techniques and the students did a practice interview with Professor Barbara Jago from the Communication Arts Department here at UNH Manchester. We spent another week working on questions that we would like to ask the different members of the school community.  Then, on week 4, with video cameras rolling, we broke out into small groups and each group interviewed a member of the school community.  We interviewed two different teachers, the school social worker, the reading coach and the Bilingual Parent Liaison.  The students spent a couple of weeks creating a story about the person they interviewed.  Finally, during the last week, they presented their stories to members of the Beech St. community, UNH staff, and family members.  We celebrated their work by awarding them leadership certificates and hosted a celebration for all attendees.  Our students have said that they learned that “leaders are people who help each other,” and “leaders try to get along with the people in their community”.

During the next 9 week session, our students will transform from learning about leadership to becoming leaders.  They will be participating in a “Readers to Leaders” program in which they work with younger students in their school to help them become more proficient readers.

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