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Lesson Plan

Exploring and Sharing Family Stories

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 45-minute class sessions, plus time for interviews and writing
Lesson Author

Kristina McLaughlin

Kristina McLaughlin

East Palestine, Ohio


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Video or tape recorders (optional)
  • Chart paper

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1. Read "Mixing Memory and Desire: A Family Literacy Event" by Mark Faust and Stories of the Family by Christiane Brems. These essays both provide excellent background on the significance of memory that you can use during the lesson, especially during Session 1.

In the Faust essay, you may want to highlight the first three paragraphs of the "Introduction: A life remembered" section (page 564) and the story about how GG got her first washing machine, including the paragraphs that precede and follow her quotation, in the "Spectral moments: A family literacy event" section (page 567). You will be reading these selections aloud to the class.

2. Review the Oral History Questions worksheet. All students should use the questions in the first three sections. You can decide how you would like to use the remaining questions if they will simply serve as guidelines for the questions students develop themselves or if you want to require students to choose some of these questions for use during their interviews.

3. Review the Personal Narrative Assignment Sheet, which outlines the essay students will write once they have conducted their interviews. You can use this with your class or modify the assignment to fit your specific needs. For example, you may choose to have students write an essay that they then fit into a PowerPoint presentation or you may ask students to use the essay to create a personalized scrapbook.

4. Break the class up into groups of three or four students and assign each student two peer reviewers.

5. Make one copy of My Father's Legacy: The Lion on the Mountain by Margie (Twitchell) Brown, the Note to Families, the Personal Narrative Assignment Sheet, the Oral History Questions worksheet, and the How to Interview a Relative worksheet for each student in the class. Make two copies of the Peer Review Worksheet for each student in the class.

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