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.

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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Practice Interviews

Getting Closer to "The Real Deal"


Listing the best interview techniques

February 9th, the third meeting of RU mentors and FCHS students, we have gotten to know each other better--it was fun to greet familiar faces. We divided into eight groups and watched a mock interview by Chelsey Mathis, Dr. Wagner, and Sam Montana. Both entertaining and informative, the role play interviews showcased a "bad" interview and a "good" interview. The students' job afterwards was to essentially decide upon the interviewing “Dos and Don’ts.” Each group got to share--we compiled a long list, big in quantity and quality.


Following examples given by RU mentors, the students set up the recording and video equipment for interviewing, using the list of good things that we saw in the mock interview.  Eileen encouraged the students to think about interviewing in a way that makes the interviewee comfortable, putting his or herself in the other’s shoes.  


We determined that a good interview should include a proper introduction, asking “how” questions instead of “why” questions, especially being a good listener among other things. Today we established the foundation to build our good interviews on, and we look forward to even more chances to practice before we get to the real deal!

Blogpost:  Cara Myrtle

Friday, February 10, 2017


Listening and Learning

Recording Equipment Workshop

RU mentor & FCHS student with Marantz
February 2nd became a great learning session with our first introduction to the Marantz audio recorder and two amazing, new video cameras recently acquired by Mr. Worley at the high school. 

Kathleen Ingoldsby and Melinda Wagner made learning how to use the recording equipment fun and interactive.  The students listened to Project Manual directions being read by a fellow student, watching closely as each instruction was followed. 

Step by step assembly!
Shortly after, they practiced setting up and taking down the equipment, which required lots of careful attention, but all did well. Students' faces lit up when they got to use the headphones to listen to others speak into the microphone, and everyone enjoyed Mr. Worley panning the video camera's projection around the room, resting on different familiar faces. This class became more exciting because it means we are ever closer to our end goal: the quality recording and preservation of precious interviews with those from our community.
Blogpost: Cara Myrtle
Photos: Heather Moran

Monday, February 6, 2017

A New Semester Begins!

Bigger & Better Than Ever

Thursday, January 26, it was introductions all around for Radford University mentors and students from both Mr. Worley’s Technology & Media class and Ms. Moore-Hubbard’s Sociology class at Floyd County High School. With fifty high school students and ten Radford University mentors, the number of participants is unprecedented in the history of the Roots with Wings Project.  

Speed Interviewing Exercise
Catherine Pauley, Kathleen Ingoldsby, and Melinda Wagner each introduced the project in their own fashion and with much enthusiasm for the inauguration of the 2017 Floyd Story Center Roots with Wings Oral History Project.  Skyler Goad, a student from the Project last year, shared her experiences and we got a good taste of the Project from watching her past year’s interview film "Tools to Work," based on the Stanley Products career of Mrs. Louise Via.
Mentors Getting to Know High School Students
As a way of getting acquainted with one another we had a fun session of speed interviewing where small groups of the high school students asked the college students good questions as they rotated around to each group.  Starting with names, we got to know one another, which also became very good practice for the interviewing process to come.

Our next session will be on recording equipment, and we are looking forward to learning how to use the technology that captures the magic! 
Blogpost: Cara Myrtle
Photos: Heather Moran