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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 Semester-end Celebration

Roots With Wings Oral History Movie Premieres

In front of the auditorium big screen, Floyd County High School students introduced their 3-6 minute films based on four 2017 oral history interviews conducted last March. 

Two Floyd County High School classes, Digital Media & Technology and Sociology, met on Thursdays to learn oral history collection, conduct four interviews, record video and audio, transcribe content, and create a short film on one part of each interview.   

We showed twelve films: students created three movies on three different themes extracted from each of the four interviews. Since our 2008-09 start, our Roots With Wings project has come a long way!

Everyone enjoyed the show!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Movie-Making Magic

Students & Mentors Create Movies to Preserve Interviews

The past few classes have consisted of experimentation with iMovie and our movie-making skills. This has proved both tricky and rewarding. We have been very thankful to have our technology students to help us work out the kinks throughout the process!

The movies will be the finished products of all our hard work throughout the semester. They will showcase different aspects of the interviews we conducted on March 23rd and will serve as a visual preservation of our interviewee's stories.

Student groups are making two different types of movies. Talkie-style movies will highlight conversation from the interview video and Ken Burns-style movies will include voiceover from the students and a collage of pictures helping to support the theme of the movie. This process has included making storyboards, highlighting, and marking up transcripts and nailing down a theme for the movie to develop and grow from.

The movie-making process is complex--video, still photos, voiceovers, music, credits, titles, transitions--but well worth the time we take to complete them! Mentors and FCHS students collaborating together ensure that the interviewees' stories are preserved for their enjoyment, their families' delight, and even to possibly be used for different educational purposes around the world if made available in online databases.  It is such an honor to participate in active oral history recording and in safekeeping stories for future generations.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Just a Slice of the Pie

Transcribing, Content Logs, and Themes

     Following the interviews we have been busy transcribing and exploring the information from our interviews! The first step was transcribing the interviews. This involves listening to the interviews very carefully and typing out every word the interviewee and interviewer speaks. For this process we have special protocols which govern how we write and spell what we hear so that it is clearly understood and recorded correctly.

      From the interview transcripts the students created content logs which serve to categorize all the "main idea words" from the audio. Students learned that the process of making content logs is tedious but extremely important for the future preservation on the interviews. Essentially anyone around the world could find our interviews online if the topics they are looking for are listed in our content logs!
Dr. Wagner illustrates a lesson on themes
     The next step after content logs was to brainstorm themes. Our themes are what we will run with once we start the work on our movies. A theme is a statement or assertion. It says in the RWW Project Manual that "a theme for a movie is like a thesis statement for a paper". Once we find and hone in on our themes we will begin the process of movie making!

Students and mentors brainstorm themes in their groups
  As Catherine Pauley illustrated, the interviews are like our favorite pie and our movies will be like eating one delicious peice of that whole pie. The process is exciting now as we are deciding which piece we will go after!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Interview day a success ! 

Marking our 11th Year of Oral History Interviews 

Interview day was long anticipated, and when March 23 finally arrived, spirits were high.  Students and mentors alike were excited for the interviews.  The venue for the interviews, as in past years, was the Hotel Floyd. Their generous donation of space and time was greatly appreciated and vital to the success of our interviews. The set-stagers and mentors worked together to create the perfect background for the interviews. A big map of Floyd County as a centerpiece, served well to remind us of our Roots.

Each student had their job in preparing for the interviews and throughout the process of conducting them. It was exciting to see the high school students take responsibility for their jobs and strive to do them well. It was a learning process as always but mistakes truly serve to make us better. We overcame a few glitches and made the best out of them in true Roots with Wings fashion. We are constantly testing and putting into practice our technological Wings

It was such an honor to hear the stories of the interviewees. Everyone was a student on interview day, learning of the past and particular experiences of the interviewees. 

A small preview of our project will reveal that we had some different questions about community and neighborhood. We were curious to know what the interviewees thought about these ideas and how they have experienced them personally throughout their lives. 

We also made sure to ask the interviewees what advice they would give to young people these days and their answers were varied, wise, funny and practical.   Now that we have gotten the interviews under our belts, the careful work of transcribing and archiving is about to begin!

A big thank you goes out to the interviewees: Dale Belcher, Frank Hancock, Frances Poff and Sherrell Poff, we truly could not have done it without you! Also, thank you to The Hotel Floyd for the space, and The Old Church Gallery and Floyd County High School for the equipment!