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World War II Remembered: An Oral History Writing Workshop

With help from our workshop, students get a unique view of World War II by writing an oral history on someone who experienced it firsthand.



Activity Type

  • Writing Activities

What was it like to be a soldier who fought in World War II? Or a young student in America during the war? Scholastic’s “World War II Remembered: A Writing Workshop" helps students (grades 3–5) get a personal account of what life was like during that era by interviewing and writing an oral history on someone who remembers the war. While the focus of the project is the creation of an oral history, the step-by-step workshop for completing the report revolves entirely around the writing process.

The steps include:

  • Mini-Lesson (1 day): Students work on their note-taking and punctuation skills, necessary for conducting and reporting accurate interview information.
  • Prewriting (3–4 days): Students choose an individual to interview, gather information about the person, develop questions for the interview, and finally, conduct the interview.
  • Drafting (2–3 days): Students review the notes or tape from their interview and begin a rough draft — organizing their work and getting their thoughts down on paper.
  • Revising (2–3 days): Students focus on the content of their report. (Remind them that revising doesn't involve making changes for spelling, grammar, or punctuation.)
  • Editing (1–2 days): Now, students focus on spelling, grammar, punctuation (including use of quotation marks), capitalization, and subject/ verb agreement.
  • Reviewing (1–2 days): Students get a final look before taking their work public. They discuss how to conduct a review process, including: peer review, self assessment, and teacher conferencing.
  • Publishing (1–2 days): Students celebrate their accomplishments and post their work on Other ideas for publishing their oral history reports are shared.

Susan Cheyney

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