Summer 2020 Assignments - Mercy High School

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Summer 2020 Assignments

Summer Reading Assignments

Each student is required to read the book listed for her year level.

We strongly encourage students to read many more books over the summer.

 

9th Grade- Language and Literature I

The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

AND

-One book from the list below:

As part of your freshman year Language & Literature course, you will be exploring the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters of Mercy consider these five specific social justice areas to be especially important in our world today. Over the summer, you will begin your exploration of one of the Critical Concerns by reading a novel related to that issue.

Each of the novels below correspond with one of the Critical Concerns. While all of the novels are young-adult fiction, they all feature different real-world issues. Please be aware of your own comfort-level with each of the topics and use that to guide your decision as to which book would be the best choice for you at this time. Choose one that seems interesting to you and that you feel you could talk about with others.

Choose ONE of the following books:

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Critical Concern: Anti-Racism

Something in Between, Melissa de la Cruz

Critical Concern: Immigration                            

Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu

Critical Concern: Women

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds

Critical Concern: Non-Violence

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me, Kristen Chandler 

Critical Concern: Environment



10th Grade – Language and Literature II

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Dear Martin, Nic Stone

Summer Reading Assignment: Read and Annotate:

 

In the margins or on post-it notes in the text, you should have annotations that may ask questions, make comments, and/or record thoughts/observations/connections. These notes should link to any underlining, asterisks, circles, brackets, or any other appropriately meaningful symbol to note important information about literary elements and devices. If you need more guidance on how or what to annotate as you read consider the guidelines below.

(1) As you read, observe the characters and the conflicts they undergo as well as the possible theme(s) they help the author create. Mark significant words and/or phrases that would help you understand and remember information about how characters act, what they say, how they look, what they think, what other characters say about them, and what the author may say about them.

(2) Mark words/phrases that show how each author uses literary elements and devices other than characterization--setting, point of view, conflict/plot structure, stylistic elements (diction, imagery, details, syntax, personification, repetition, metaphor, irony, etc.) to create effects, ideas or convey a purpose.


 

11th Grade – Language and Literature III

Dear Families:

In an effort to help your daughter become truly learned and increase her standing among the many students with whom she will compete for college placement, Mercy's English Department requires that she continue to read and think over the summer. As an eleventh-grade student enrolled in College Preparatory English as of September 2020, your daughter will be expected to have read, fully annotated, and to have her own copy of the following novel:

-Chronicle of a Death Foretold - Gabriel Garcia Marquez ISBN 978-1400034710

Students will begin working with their Summer Reading text upon returning to school and should be ready for both oral and written assessments. The assigned text may be purchased at most local bookstores; Greetings and Readings, Barnes and Noble and Amazon are the best sources. It is extremely important that all students have the same books (same ISBN publications) so that they can work together and with the teacher more efficiently. The learning methods involved preclude the use of any electronic “book”—like Kindle—at this point in time. Students MUST have their own paperback copies. Please ensure that your daughter has the summer reading text as soon as possible so her reading and annotations can be completed before her return to school in September. Thank you for your commitment to your daughter’s educational success.

 

-Summer Reading Assignment: Read and Annotate:

In the margins or on post-it notes in the text, you should have annotations that may ask questions, make comments, and/or record thoughts/observations/connections. These notes should link to any underlining, asterisks, circles, brackets, or any other appropriately meaningful symbol to note important information about literary elements and devices. If you need more guidance on how or what to annotate as you read consider the guidelines below.

(1) As you read, observe the characters and the conflicts they undergo as well as the possible theme(s) they help the author create. Mark significant words and/or phrases that would help you understand and remember information about how characters act, what they say, how they look, what they think, what other characters say about them, and what the author may say about them.

(2) Mark words/phrases that show how each author uses literary elements and devices other than characterization--setting, point of view, conflict/plot structure, stylistic elements (diction, imagery, details, syntax, personification, repetition, metaphor, irony, etc.) to create effects, ideas or convey a purpose.

______________________________________________

11th Grade AP Language and Composition

Dear Families:

In an effort to help your daughter become truly learned and increase her standing among the many students with whom she will compete for college placement, Mercy's English Department requires that she continue to read and think over the summer. As an eleventh-grade student enrolled in AP Language and Composition as of September 2020, your daughter will be expected to have read, fully annotated, and to have her own copies of the following works:

 

-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass ISBN 978-0451529947

-In Cold Blood, Truman Capote ISBN 978-0679745587

Students will begin working with their Summer Reading texts upon returning to school and should be ready for both oral and written assessments. The assigned texts may be purchased at most local bookstores; Greetings and Readings, Barnes and Noble and Amazon are the best sources. It is extremely important that all students have the same books (same ISBN publications) so that they can work together and with the teacher more efficiently. The learning methods involved preclude the use of any electronic “book”—like Kindle—at this point in time. Students MUST have their own paperback copies.

Please ensure that your daughter has the summer reading texts as soon as possible so her reading and annotations can be completed before her return to school in September. Thank you for your commitment to your daughter’s educational success.

-Summer Reading Assignment: Read, Mark, and Annotate Each Text:

In the margins or on post-it notes in each of the texts, you should have annotations that may ask questions, make comments, and/or record thoughts/observations/connections. These notes should link to any underlining, asterisks, circles, brackets, or any other appropriately meaningful symbol to note important information about literary elements and devices. If you need more guidance on how or what to annotate as you read consider the guidelines below.

(1) As you read, observe the characters and the conflicts they undergo as well as the possible theme(s) they help the author create. Mark significant words and/or phrases that would help you understand and remember information about how characters act, what they say, how they look, what they think, what other characters say about them, and what the author may say about them.

(2) Mark words/phrases that show how each author uses literary elements and devices other than characterization--setting, point of view, conflict/plot structure, stylistic elements (Diction, imagery, details, syntax, personification, repetition, metaphor, irony, etc.) to create effects, ideas or convey a purpose.


12th Grade - Language and Literature IV 2020

Please purchase these books and annotate in them as you read. You will be writing about these books as the year goes on.

 

1. Read: How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

2. Choose one novel or play from the list below:

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
  • Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
  • The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdich
  • Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
  • Women in Love (Brandwen Family #2) by D.H. Lawrence
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
  • Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles

12th Grade - Summer Reading List for AP Literature and Composition 2020

Please purchase these books and annotate in them as you read. You will be writing about these books as the year goes on.

  1. Read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
  2. Choose one novel from list A. Do not select one you have read in class.
  3. Choose one play from this list B. Do not select one you have read in class.

 

LIST A-- Novels

Sort by:   # of Years Cited   Title   Author

Invisible Man — Ralph Ellison (08,09,10,11,12,13,15,16)

Beloved — Toni Morrison (09,10,11,14,15,16,17)

Wuthering Heights — Emily Bronte (08,10,12,15,16,17)

Great Expectations — Charles Dickens (08,10,12,13,15,17)

Their Eyes Were Watching God — Zora Neale Hurston

(08,10,11,13,14,17)

Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad (09,10,11,12,15,16)

Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte (08,10,13,16,17)

The Grapes of Wrath — John Steinbeck (09,10,11,12,13)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man — James Joyce

(08,09,10,11,13)

Oryx and Crake — Margaret Atwood (12,14,16,17)

Catch-22 — Joseph Heller (08,11,15,16)

The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini (08,09,15,16)

Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen (08,11,12,16)

Crime and Punishment — Fyodor Dostoyevsky

(09,10,11,16)

Cat's Eye — Margaret Atwood (08,09,13,15)

The Poisonwood Bible — Barbara Kingsolver (10,11,12,14)

All the Pretty Horses (Border Trilogy #1) — Cormac McCarthy (08,10,11,13)

Frankenstein — Mary Shelley (08,15,17)

The Mayor of Casterbridge — Thomas Hardy (10,11,17)

Brave New World — Aldous Huxley (09,10,17)

The Portrait of a Lady - Volumes 1 & 2 — Henry James

(11,14,16)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter — Kim Edwards (09,14,16)

Atonement — Ian McEwan (11,13,16)

Jude the Obscure — Thomas Hardy (09,10,16)

Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert (09,10,16)

Never Let Me Go — Kazu Ishiguro (09,10,16)

Tess of the d'Urbervilles — Thomas Hardy (12,14,15)

Black Boy — Richard Wright (08,13,15)

Sister Carrie — Theodore Dreiser (09,10,15)

The Age of Innocence — Edith Wharton (08,12,14)

The God of Small Things — Arundhati Roy (10,11,13)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — Mark Twain

(08,11,13)

The Namesake — Jhumpa Lahiri (09,10,13)

The House on Mango Street — Sandra Cisneros (08,10,13)

Native Son — Richard Wright (09,11,12)

My Antonia — Willa Cather (08,10,12)

Sula — Toni Morrison (08,10,12)

All the King's Men — Robert Penn Warren (08,09,11)

A Prayer for Owen Meany — John Irving (14,17)

Light in August — William Faulkner (11,17)

Tom Jones — Henry Fielding (08,17)

The Blind Assassin — Margaret Atwood (11,16)

The Bonesetter's Daughter — Amy Tan (11,16)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest — Ken Kesey (12,15)

Oliver Twist — Charles Dickens (09,15)

Sophie's Choice — William Styron (09,15)

Billy Budd — Herman Melville (08,15)

Lord of the Flies — William Golding (08,15)

The Red Badge of Courage — Stephen Crane (08,15)

A Thousand Acres — Jane Smiley (11,14)

A Tale of Two Cities — Charles Dickens (08,14)

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle — David Wroblewski (11,13)

A Thousand Splendid Suns — Khaled Hosseini (11,13)

Jasmine — Bharati Mukherjee (10,13)

Song of Solomon — Toni Morrison (10,13)

The Chosen — Chaim Potok (08,13)

The Sound and the Fury — William Faulkner (08,13)

The Woman Warrior — Maxine Hong Kingston (08,13)

Absalom, Absalom! — William Faulkner (10,12)

Another Country — James Baldwin (10,12)

Snow Falling on Cedars — David Guterson (10,12)

Ceremony — Leslie Marmon Silko (09,12)

A Passage to India — E.M. Forster (09,12)

The Plague — Albert Camus (09,12)

As I Lay Dying — William Faulkner (09,11)

Emma — Jane Austen (08,11)

Bleak House — Charles Dickens (09,10)

Wise Blood — Flannery O'Connor (09,10)

Reservation Blues — Sherman Alexie (08,09)

 

LIST B-- Plays

King Lear —Shakespeare (08,10,11,12,14)

A Streetcar Named Desire — Tennessee Williams (08,09,10,11,14)

Othello, the Moor of Venice —Shakespeare (11,14,15,16)

The Glass Menagerie — Tennessee Williams (08,09,10,12)

Twelfth Night —Shakespeare (11,16,17)

Waiting for Godot — Samuel Beckett (09,12,17)

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — Edward Albee (11,15,16)

M. Butterfly — David Henry Hwang (11,12,16)

A Raisin in the Sun — Lorraine Hansberry (09,12,14)

Antigone — Sophocles (09,11,14)

The Piano Lesson — August Wilson (08,10,12)

Macbeth —Shakespeare (09,17)

Much Ado About Nothing —Shakespeare (14,16)

As You Like It — William Shakespeare (10,16)

A Doll's House — Henrik Ibsen (09,16)

Medea — Euripides (11,15)

The Merchant of Venice —Shakespeare (11,15)

Death of a Salesman — Arthur Miller (12,14)

Major Barbara — George Bernard Shaw (09,11)

The Cherry Orchard — Anton Chekhov (09,10)

Fences — August Wilson (09,10)

Equus — Peter Shaffer (08,09)

Master Harold...and the Boys — Athol Fugard (08,09)

 

 

Books Cited at Least Twice in the Last 10 Years. In AP® English Literature and Composition Free-Response Questions*

French 2:

Students enrolled in French 2 for the 2020-2021 school year are responsible for the following summer work:

1. Please read Petites histoires. These include: Le Club des quatre a la Maison des jeunes, L'Enquête du club des quatre, and La Disparition d’Olivier

2. Answer to the questions at the end of each section in complete sentences in French.

3. Do all of your work on your computer or iPad.

4. I will collect your questions during the first week of classes.

Your teacher will provide a copy of the work electronically. Please contact Ms. Schindler, World Language Department Chair (aschindler@mercyhighschool.com) if you need a copy.

The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language.


French 3 Honors:

Students enrolled in French 3 Honors for the 2020-2021 school year are responsible for the following summer work:

1. Please read Drôle de mission.

2. Answer to the questions at the end of each section in complete sentences in French.

3. Do all of your work on your computer or iPad.

4. I will collect your questions during the first week of classes.

Your teacher will provide a copy of the work electronically. Please contact Ms. Schindler, World Language Department Chair (aschindler@mercyhighschool.com) if you need a copy.

The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language.


French 4 Honors:

Students enrolled in French 4 Honors for the 2020-2021 school year are responsible for the following summer work:

1. Please read Les yeux de Carmen.

2. Answer to the questions at the end of each section in complete sentences in French.

3. Do all of your work on your computer or iPad.

4. I will collect your questions during the first week of classes.

Your teacher will provide a copy of the work electronically. Please contact Ms. Schindler, World Language Department Chair (aschindler@mercyhighschool.com) if you need a copy.

The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language.


Spanish 2 and Spanish 2 Honors:

Students enrolled in Spanish 2 and 2 Honors for the 2020-2021 school year are responsible for the following summer work:

  1. All work should be done in a separate notebook.
  2. You will read a short novel titled: Los secretos de familia that will be available to you electronically.
  3. You are responsible of annotating throughout your reading. Annotating in foreign language means creating a list of words that you do not understand and writing down their meaning in English (you should have at least five (5) words for each chapter). Note: The book includes a word bank on the back, however you must still create your own list of vocabulary words.
  4. You should answer the “Preguntas” at the end of each chapter in complete sentences.
  5. Finally, in the first week of classes, students will be responsible for an assessment of the novel based on comprehension. You will be able to use your notes on the assessment.

 

Your teacher will provide a copy of the book electronically. Please contact Ms. Schindler, World Language Department Chair (aschindler@mercyhighschool.com) if you need a copy.

 

The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language.

 


Spanish 3 and Spanish 3 Honors:

Students enrolled in Spanish 3 and 3 Honors for the 2020-2021 school year are responsible for the following summer work:

  1. All work should be completed in a separate notebook.
  2. You will read a short novel titled: Vida o muerte en el Cusco that will be available to you electronically.
  3. You are responsible of annotating throughout your reading. Annotating in foreign language means creating a list of words that you do not understand and writing down their meaning in English (you should have at least five (5) words for each chapter).
  4. At the end of each chapter, you will write a 2-4 sentence summary (depending on the length of each chapter) in Spanish of the chapter.
  5. Finally, in the first week of classes, you will be responsible for an assessment of the novel based on comprehension.

 

  1. Your teacher will provide a copy of the book electronically. There will be an electronic copy on the Mercy High School website as well.  
  2. The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language.

 

Your teacher will provide a copy of the book electronically. Please contact Ms. Schindler, World Language Department Chair (aschindler@mercyhighschool.com) if you need a copy.

The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language.


Spanish 4 Honors

Students enrolled in Spanish 4 Honors for the 2020-2021 school year are responsible for the following summer work:

 

  1. All work should be completed in a separate notebook.
  2. You will read a short novel titled: ‘La casa en Mango Street’ that will be available to you electronically.
  3. You are responsible of annotating throughout your reading. Annotating in foreign language means creating a list of words that you do not understand and writing down their meaning in English (you should have at least five (5) words for each chapter).
  4. At the end of each chapter, you will write a 2-4 sentence summary (depending on the length of each chapter) in Spanish of the chapter.
  5. Finally, in the first week of classes, you will be responsible for an assessment of the novel based on comprehension.

 

Your teacher will provide a copy of the book electronically. Please contact Ms. Schindler, World Language Department Chair (aschindler@mercyhighschool.com) if you need a copy.

The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language. 


Spanish 5 Honors

Students enrolled in Spanish 5 Honors for the 2020-2021 school year are responsible for the following summer work:

 

  1. You will read a shot novel titled: ‘Las cajas de carton’ that will be available to you electronically.
  2. You are responsible of annotating throughout your reading. Annotating in foreign language means creating a list of words that you do not understand and writing down their meaning in a separate notebook. Note: The book includes a work bank on the back, however you must still create your own list of vocabulary words on a separate notebook.
  3. At the end of each chapter, you will write a 2-4 sentence summary (depending on the length of each chapter) in Spanish of the chapter.
  4. Finally, in the first week of classes, you will be responsible for an assessment of the novel based on comprehension.

Your teacher will provide a copy of the book electronically. Please contact Ms. Schindler, World Language Department Chair (aschindler@mercyhighschool.com) if you need a copy.

The summer assignment is designed so that students may be more successful in their upcoming academic year and further develop their vocabulary as well as to maintain the use of the language. 


9th Grade (incoming)

Biology (H) & (CP): The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

WIM: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Year 1 Neumann Scholars: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

PLTW: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot


10th Grade

IPS & Intro to Physics (H): What If by Randall Munroe

WIM: Florence Nightengale: The Courageous Life of a Legendary Nurse by Catherine Reef

Year 2 Neumann Scholars: Florence Nightengale: The Courageous Life of a Legendary Nurse by Catherine Reef

PLTW: N/A


11th Grade

Chemistry (H) & (CP): Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson

Environmental Science: No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

Women in Medicine: When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi

Year 3 Neumann Scholars: When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi

PLTW: N/A


12th Grade

Chemistry: Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson

Environmental Science: No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

AP Biology: The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic by Steven Johnson

Biology II (H): The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic by Steven Johnson

Physics (H): What If by Randall Munroe


WIM: Senior Project


PLTW: Senior Project

AP Psychology

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

 

9thGrade United States History Honors and College Prep  

In preparation for a year of United States History, we ask you to take time this summer to collect an oral history – stories from a first-hand perspective.  In other words, you will act as a historian would collecting primary source information from one adult in your life.  Interviews can be done over the phone, in person, or over another communication platform such as FaceTime.  Consider asking the person you are interviewing to send you a photo of an artifact that represents a pivotal moment in their life linked to a historical event.    

1.  Determine who you will interview.  You must interview one adult in your life – mom/dad, grandmother/grandfather, aunt or uncle, mentor.  

2.  Interview questions  use the following questions to collect an oral history.  Be sure you are taking notes and if you decide to record the interview, you must have written permission from your interviewee.  Keep your notes as you will need to turn in this documentation at the start of the school year.  

 

First, collect demographic information.  Name, birth year, profession, etc. Then ask what three pivotal events in history your interviewee has lived through.  Follow the same set of questions for each event. Ask the following questions for each of the three events the interviewee discusses: 

  • What pivotal historical events have you lived through? 
  • How old were you when the event happened?   
  • What was your life like before the pivotal event?  
  • What were the immediate consequences/effects of the event? 
  • What were the lasting consequences, if any? 
  • How did people close to you feel about the event? 
  • What was public opinion about the event? 
  • How did the event make you feel? 
  • Did the event change or impact you personally in a lasting way? 

3.      After you have collected this oral history, carefully review your notes.   

4.      Write a summary of your interview.  Include an explanation of who you interviewed and why you decided to collect an oral history from this person.  Your summary should also include a brief description of the three pivotal events in history your interviewee lived through.  Finally, what pivotal moment in history have you, the student, lived through so far.  Describe how this event has impacted you.   


10thGrade US Government Honors and College Prep:  

In preparation for the first semester of Social Studies in the Sophomore year, we ask that you collect an oral history - a first-hand perspective – from three adults in your life.  In other words, you will act as a historian would collecting primary source information from one adult in your life.  Interviews can be done over the phone, in person, or over another communication platform such as FaceTime.   

  • Determine which three adults you will interview. Choose one person from each of the following age ranges –  18-30 years old, 30-50 years old, and 50+ years old.  
  • During the interview, collect demographic information.  Name, birth year, profession, etc.  
  • Next ask each of the three people you interview the following questions.  Remember to take thorough notes.  If you decide to record the person as they are responding to your questions, you must have their written permission. Keep your notes as you will need to turn in this documentation at the start of the school year. 
  • What do you believe should be the purpose of government?   
  • Is voting important to you?  Why or Why not?  
  • To what extent is voting a civil right?  
  • What factors make it difficult for a person to vote?  What factors encourage voting?  
  • What presidential election have you lived through that you believe was the most memorable and why?   
  • Create one question of your own related to government and voting.  
  • After you have collected oral histories from three adults, carefully review your notes to write responses to the following prompts.  Make sure to completely respond to all parts of the questions.  
  • For each interview: write a summary of your interview.  Why did you select this person to interview?  
  • How would you respond to the questions you asked of your interviewees?  

11th Grade College Prep United States History II and Honors AP United States History 

In preparation for a year of United States History, we ask you to take time this summer to collect an oral history stories from a first-hand perspective.  In other words, you will act as a historian would collecting primary source information from one adult in your life.  Interviews can be done over the phone, in person, or over another communication platform such as FaceTime. Consider asking the person you are interviewing to send you a photo of an artifact that represents a pivotal moment in their life linked to a historical event.    

Determine who you will interview.  You must interview one adult in your life – mom/dad, grandmother/grandfather, aunt or uncle, mentor.  

Interview questions – use the following questions to collect an oral history.  Be sure you are taking notes and if you decide to record the interview, you must have written permission from your interviewee.  Keep your notes as you will need to turn in this documentation at the start of the school year.  

First, collect demographic information.  Name, birth year, profession, etc. Then ask what three pivotal events in history your interviewee has lived through.  Follow the same set of questions for each event.  

Ask the following questions for each of the three events the interviewee discusses:

  • What pivotal historical events have you lived through? 
  • How old were you when the event happened?   
  • What was your life like before the pivotal event?  
  • What were the immediate consequences/effects of the event? 
  • What were the lasting consequences, if any? 
  • How did people close to you feel about the event? 
  • What was public opinion about the event? 
  • How did the event make you feel? 
  • Did the event change or impact you personally in a lasting way? 

After you have collected this oral history, carefully review your notes.   

Write a summary of your interview.  Include an explanation of who you interviewed and why you decided to collect an oral history from this person.  Your summary should also include a brief description of the three pivotal events in history your interviewee lived through.  Finally, what pivotal moment in history have you, the student, lived through so far.  Describe how this event has impacted you.   


TIPS FOR CONDUCTING AN ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW 

1. Have a list of start-up questions to ask to get your interview going and get both you and the interviewee comfortable.   

2. Do plan the topic and form of your first substantial question after the "settling down" phase. Ask a question that will prompt a long answer and "get the subject going."   

3. Ask easy questions first, such as brief biographical questions. “Where and when were you born?”   

4. After the biographical questions and once you are both “settled in” to the interview, ask an open-ended question that will prompt a long answer and the interviewee talking.   

5. Unless you want one-word answers, phrase your questions so that they can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." Don’t ask, "Were you a farmer on Denny Hill during the 1930s?" Ask instead, "What was it like farming up on Denny Hill during the 1930s?" Think “essay questions” more than “true/false” or “multiple choice.”   

6. Ask questions one at a time.   

7. Allow silence to work for you. Wait.   

8. Be a good listener. If interviewing in person or through video, use body language such as looking at the interviewee, nodding, and smiling to encourage and give the message, "I am interested."  

9. If necessary, use verbal encouragement such as "This is wonderful information!" or "How interesting!" Be careful, however, not to speak at the same time that the interviewee is speaking, such as saying “uh huh” to encourage them.   

10. Ask for specific examples if the interviewee makes a general statement and you need to know more. Or you might say, "I don't understand. Could you explain that in more detail?"   

11. Ask follow-up questions and then ask some more.   

12. Be flexible. Watch for and pick up on promising topics introduced by the interviewee, even if the topics are not on your interview guide sheet.