Roots with Wings, a Floyd County Place-Based Education Project:: Intergenerational Connections

Floyd Story Center

Since 1998, a community oral history collection partnership of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, and Floyd County High School. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

In our Roots with Wings project, college mentors, high school staff, and community volunteers meet weekly during the school year to teach the discipline of oral history collection to Floyd County High School students.


Students learn ethical, methodologically sound interview techniques, practice and complete several interviews, transcribe the audiotapes, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour long interview to create a seven minute movie production.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Introduction to Interviewing

Good Conversations Start with Good Listening


On Thursday, February 8th, Floyd County High School students worked on enhancing skill sets for interviews. Mentors demonstrated what to expect and gain from an interview. And for the RU mentors, this day meant hands-on experience in managing a classroom. RU mentors participated in role-play interview examples demonstrated by Dr. Melinda Wagner and a mentor, displaying qualities of a good and bad interview to the FCHS students.


The mentors divided the class into groups to label as many of the good and bad qualities of the interview process that they viewed in the role playing. The entertainment continued as the students split up for a friendly competition in the classroom. The students were told the group with the most on their list wins! One group of FCHS students had a record breaking 31 items on their list

What was the prize for this competition? An award that lasts a lifetime--the experience of teamwork, creativity, speaking and listening, writing, and critical-thinking.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Learning the Ropes of Technology

Behind the Camera

February 1st students from FCHS split into two groups to learn about the recording technology we will be using.  We went step-by-step from our Project Manual and instruction sheets to learn more about the video and audio technology so that once the Interview Day comes, students can properly set up and take down all the equipment.

Kathleen Ingoldsby led the way with her recording experience. Students quickly caught on to the settings and use of the Marantz digital recorder.  Soon they were on their own.  Following the guidelines from the handbook, the media class took charge and practiced audio recordings with themselves, either choosing a topic or singing ABCs.

Next, we handled the Canon XA30 video cameras. Again, students picked up on the step-by-step and quickly were behind the camera recording themselves. Once each part was practiced, the Marantz and Canon were connected using our successful technique of “double-system” shooting.



This day is significant to our interview process because students learn about the different roles for our day of interviews. While some students have an idea for the role they want to play, learning more about the equipment gives others the opportunity to engage. All around, it was a great hands-on experience for students and mentors.

Roots With Wings Returns!

A New Semester and Teacher

Did you miss us? We are back again for the 2018 spring semester! Radford University students and Floyd County High School students have begun the twelfth year of Roots with Wings: Floyd County Place-based Education Oral History Project. Melinda Wagner, Catherine Pauley, and Kathleen Ingoldsby, Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery volunteers, returned to show us the process of this high-impact experience. Mr. Kevin Law, FCHS, and students from his Video and Media Technology Class welcomed a hands-on opportunity to interview Floyd County residents. This year our Radford University class has six dedicated mentors leading the way to an interactive semester.

On our visit, Thursday, January 25th, the mentors and students were given an informative history lesson about Roots with Wings, its origins and how the project has grown. The session transitioned to a fun (and educational) game of mentor-student speed interviewing. Speed interviewing is a chance for the mentors to learn as much as they can about the students, while also giving FCHS students time to ask questions about about college experiences and class majors. 

Catch up with us next week when we'll be practicing with recording equipment.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Project Team Effort

From the Front Porch to the Front Lines

Our "Front Porch to the Front Lines" project team met at the Old Church Gallery to review progress and plans for our 2018 WWII era media production based on ten years of oral history interviews and films.  We're producing a DVD set from our WWII interviews for library and community access.  Project grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Arts, Community Foundation of the New River Valley, Fiesty Floyd Fphilanthropists, and the Larry Woodrow Vest Fund-Foundation for Roanoke Valley have made our work possible.