Thank you for your interest in this special intergenerational project.
The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a technology-based assignment originally developed for high school students studying American history, social studies, English, language arts, journalism, drama, ESL, media and technology. It has also been applied successfully as an extracurricular and community-building opportunity in classrooms, OST (out-of-school) environments, community centers, living rooms, and kitchens across the country.
The best place to get in touch with questions and to share resources for this project is the StoryCorps in the Classroom Facebook group. If you are having technical issues, please visit our Help Desk.
We invite you to review the information below and to adapt the Great Listen lesson plans and multimedia resources in whatever way best suits your needs. We recommend introducing the project at least two weeks prior to Thanksgiving to provide time for participants to plan their interviews and practice using the StoryCorps App.
The Assignment (in a Nutshell)
The StoryCorps App is a free mobile application that seamlessly walks young people through a StoryCorps interview by providing all the necessary tools, including help in preparing questions, finding the right environment for a conversation, and a high-quality interview.
When the interview is complete, young people can publish to the StoryCorps website and add it to the StoryCorps Archive at the Library of Congress, where it will be available for future generations to access. Via the StoryCorps website, the complete interview is also shareable with teachers, friends, and family.
- Participants will need access to a smartphone (Apple iPhone or Android device) or Kindle tablet with both the latest device software and the most recent version (3.0) of the free StoryCorps App. The StoryCorps App can be downloaded through the App Store, Google Play, or Amazon Store.
- Participants will need desktop or smartphone access to the StoryCorps website either at home or in the classroom, as well as a strong Wi-Fi signal to upload interviews.
- iPads are not recommended for use with the StoryCorps App.
- StoryCorps does not recommend students use a shared classroom device.
For students without access to a device or without parental consent (see below), teachers can easily modify The Great Thankgiving Listen to allow for basic participation. Modifications are noted in the lesson plan.
- Currently the StoryCorps App prompts users in English; participants may record in any language.
Parental Consent & Privacy
- If you choose to require a parental permission slip, we have included sample one here that you can easily customize to your needs. (Please note: The permission slip is for school/community use only and should not be submitted to StoryCorps.)
- After recording, students will have the option to publish their interviews. If published, the interviews will be entered into the StoryCorps Archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and appear publicly online at StoryCorps.org. Students who do not want to publish their interviews can save the interviews to their devices. (Please note: Only interviews published to the StoryCorps website are archived at the Library of Congress.)
- Students and other participants should not be required to publish their interviews publicly in order to receive credit. This is to preserve participant privacy. Please see our privacy setting recommendations for those who prefer to keep their recordings private.
The StoryCorps App and website contain user-generated content that is not reviewed before it is posted online. While we adhere to a strict set of Community Guidelines and work to maintain a culture of tolerance and acceptance, not all published content will be appropriate for all individuals. We also have a flagging mechanism in place to help further identify content that violates our Community Guidelines.
We ask teachers, educators, and caregivers to familiarize themselves with the StoryCorps Archive, to review the Community Guidelines listed there, and to use discretion in adopting the project.
- The StoryCorps Archive comprises one of the first and largest born-digital collections of human voices, featuring more than 150,000 interviews recorded in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
- Interviews are housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. where they serve as a resource to scholars, educators, and the general public.
- Create a community in the StoryCorps Digital Archive to collect your students’ stories in one central place, and then invite students to share out a 2-3 minute clip from each interview.