Historical Audio Diaries

Have students who are studying a period in history write and record journals from the perspective of a person living in that time. By choosing different people on many sides of a conflict or event, the resulting series of podcasts could provide a rich tapestry of perspectives on and reactions to historical events and people.

There are a variety of resources, online and otherwise, that provide access to diaries, journals, and other primary source documents that would be useful in creating Historical Audio Diaries. Through a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has created a digital archive of the journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Teachers can assign different groups of students to investigate the experiences of different members of the expedition and then create a series of podcasts from the perspectives of each of these expedition members. The podcasts would also help illustrate the changes that took place during the course of the expedition.

The Exploring Florida website includes many primary source documents, in which Floridians and others describe their experiences in vibrant and sometimes surprising details. Included in their archive is a 1926 interview with Florida resident Thomas Alva Edison.

The Ellis Island museum and many other sites contain resources for understanding the United States immigrant experience. Using these resources, students can construct first person narratives from multiple perspectives.

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