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.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Aquaintances

A Meet and Greet Day

For the first time ever, the Roots With Wings Project hosted a Meet and Greet day for the students and interviewees to get acquainted. This quite literally put faces and stories to the names and biographies of our interviewees. 

Frank Hancock shows where he lives in Floyd County
Each of our 2017 interviewees were seated with a large map of Floyd County with students gathered around. The interviewees indicated the place they are from in the county, and the students responded about their own neighborhoods.  It surprised some students to find that they were neighbors with the interviewees or knew something of each other's families.

Each interviewee brought a few photographs and artifacts with them to help to tell a little bit about themselves. 
Getting to know you smiles

These artifacts included a split oak egg-carrying basket, a shop-worn cherry pitter, photographs of a home-made rock crusher, a string for making finger patterns such as "Jacob's Ladder," and a large collection of beautiful hand-turned wooden pieces.

It was wonderful to get to know the interviewees a little bit and a great ice breaker for our interviews which we'll be conducting next Thursday.  Our work today succeeded in getting students, mentors, and interviewees ever more excited about the upcoming week! 


Students listen to the interviewees tell a little about themselves
Blogpost: Cara Myrtle

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 Appalachian Studies Conference

Roots with Wings Project Presentation


Our ongoing Roots with Wings Floyd County Oral History Project (2007-2017) was represented well at the 2017 Appalachian Studies Conference, Virginia Tech, March 9th.  We presented a 75 minute session to a full room, showed a student movie, slide show, and promo film, took questions, and each of us spoke at length on our individual partnership roles. 

Session 3.13 
Roundtable | Education | Digital Humanities 
Extreme Community: Floyd County, Virginia, Elders and Youth Keeping Stories in a Digital Age 
A discussion of a ten-year partnership among the Floyd Story Center, Radford University, and Floyd County High School and a sampling of its products. “Roots with Wings” documents interviews, creates original short movies, and seeks Internet publication. 
Convener: Melinda B. Wagner, Radford University 
Mary Dickerson, Check Elementary
Meghan Moore-Hubbard, Floyd County High School 
Casey Worley, Floyd County High School
Kathleen Ingoldsby, Floyd Story Center


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fresh Air Brings Fresh Ideas

Interview Question Brainstorming Gets Us Rolling  


Thursday proved to be a a beautiful blue-sky-and-sun kind of day and was perfect for us to sit outside in our interview groups and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight. We divided up into our eight groups and were each assigned to one of the four interviewees.

After reading short biographies of each interviewee we got to brainstorm the types of questions we wanted to ask them. It was fun to read a little snippet about each of the interviewees--life experiences, jobs, and interests are all so varied and quite interesting. They range from working in and owning shops to participating in tractor pull contests. From being in the US Navy to being preachers and everything in between. Each person has a story to tell and we are excited to see what theirs will be!

These little tastes got us excited to meet them in person and helped us to think about what kinds of questions we would like to ask them and the themes we might be able to pull from their lives.

During this meeting many minds came together to imagine great questions and it was an exciting step in the process toward our interviews!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Testing, testing!

Practice Interviews:

Begin with Help from Knowledgeable Friends 

It's already the middle of February, and Thursday, February 16th marked the fourth meeting of the Roots With Wings collaborators with two special guests, Dr. Lyman, Sociology Chair at Radford University and Mrs. Cox, FCHS Media Specialist. The two guests agreed to be interviewed by the students who brainstormed good interview questions for just this purpose. 

Through the lens! Dr. Lyman interviewed by Cyrus Walker
These interviews were a fun way to practice for the final interviews coming later in the semester. Students were assigned roles such as interviewer, videographer,  set stager, and recorder.  All other students became active listeners by taking notes on the strengths and weaknesses of the interview. When the formal interview session was over each student got the chance to ask their own questions, many of which showed genuine interest in the interviewee. Students asked about the interviewee's experiences growing up and going to school, as well as questions about personal learning experiences to share with us all.

After the questions were asked and information carefully recorded, students shared any interview strengths and weaknesses they observed. This was a great time for positive constructive criticism. Many things were done very well but there is always room for improvement and accuracy. This week was great practice and we continue to improve each meeting! 

Blogpost: Cara Myrtle