Language Arts Activities

These lessons and activities involve listening/viewing oral history interviews of Illinois agriculture.

Children Picking Apples by Edgar Sweet, 1895Children Picking Apples by Edgar Sweet, 1895Use the information gained to write stories, poems, dialogs, and reports. Click on the pdf attachments at the end of the page.

Write a Story about Children and chores

The first activity listed asks students to use the information about children's roles on the farm from one or more oral histories to be used as a starting point to writing a short story about some children working on a farm.

Digital Story-telling

The second activity turns the story above into a Digital Story: Making a Story Diagram and Storyboard. Two pdfs - the how to and the rubrics to use with both lessons.

Fiction and Oral History

Read Richard Peck's A Long Way from Chicago and compare the children's adventures with Grandma to the Audio-Video Barn Interviewees' childhood experiences in rural and small town Illinois in the 1930s. (for more literature related to agriculture, see the Resources section.)

Poetry Interpretation

The poetry activity involves interpreting poetry by Jacqueline Jackson about a rural life topic and relates it to topics she discusses in her oral history interview. Poetry-writing extension.

Barn Calendar Oral Interview Project

Interview 1-12 local farmers about their barns, take pictures, and research barns to create a digital or print yearly calendar.

Persuasive Essay

High School age and up can write a persuasive essay on the economic viability of the Irish Land System in America after viewing Michael Scully's oral history, reading news articles of the 19th and 20th century about the Scully Lands, and researching Tenant Farm systems and comparing the information in each.

Literature and Culture Study

Compare perceptions of Amish culture by listening to two Amish interviewees talk about their lives and by reading Jodi Picoult's novel Plain Truth, then complete a Venn Diagram.

Food & Meals: Taking surveys

Middle school age and up will take surveys of food consumption of themselves, their parents, and of AV interviewees to determine which diets best meet the FDA Food Pyramid guidelines.

Rural/Urban Lifestyles: Literature Study

High Schoolers and up will read Our Town and Stories from the Round Barn to learn about the similarities and differences of town and rural lifestyles of the first half of the 20th century. They will view farmer's oral histories in the ISM AV-barn database to hear first-hand experiences and, optionally, create a designed wiki to document their ideas and sources.

Digital Storytelling Storyboard Diagram27.29 KB
Write a Story about Children and Farm Chores316.96 KB
RubricSheet for Editing Story Forms & Storyboards8.65 KB
Fiction and Oral History.pdf500.85 KB
Poetry Interpretation34.45 KB
Barn Calendar56.24 KB
Persuasive Essay or Discussion on Land Management169.31 KB
Comparing Perspectives of the Amish110.31 KB
Food and Meals Survey190.3 KB
Rural/Urban Lifestyles Literature Study20.28 KB