My COVID-19 Experience

Title

My COVID-19 Experience

Description

How was your COVID-19 experience? The pandemic changed our lives in many ways. In this project, students will reflect on their own experience of the pandemic and interview three other people to learn what the pandemic was like for them. Students can choose to use the My COVID-19 Experience form or develop their own set of questions. After conducting interviews, students will compare and contrast different accounts of the pandemic, reflecting on the similarities and differences.

The PDF packet above includes lesson procedure, My COVID-19 Experience Form, and Creative Commons Release Agreement. This lesson is also available as a self-guided learning activity: Conducting Interviews.

Creator

Maine Contemporary Archives Collaborative

Date

2021

Subject

Interpersonal Communication
Speaking & Listening
Writing

Grade Levels

Elementary School
Middle School

Standards

English Language Arts--Speaking & Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration--Standard 2
English Language Arts--Speaking & Listening: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas--Standard 3
English Language Arts--Writing: Inquiry to Build and Present Knowledge--Standard 1
English Language Arts--Writing: Process and Production--Standard 2

Objectives

Record personal accounts of the COVID-19 pandemic
Interview three people in person, on the phone, or online
Compare and contrast different experiences of the pandemic

Definitions

Account: a description of an event or experience
Creative Commons: a type of copyright license that provides ways for creators to give others the right to share and use their work
Interviewer: the person conducting an interview
Narrator: the person sharing their story

Materials

Interview questions (students can use the “My COVID-19 Experience” form or create their own) and Release Form
Experiences can be recorded in writing (pen and paper) or audio/video (smartphone, tablet, or computer)

Modifications

Students can work collaboratively
Adults can assist students in writing, interviewing, and recording

Resources

American Folklife Center: Interviewing Tips

Oral History Association: Educator's Resource

StoryCorps: StoryCorps Connect

Lesson Plan Text

Step 1: Developing Questions

In this lesson, students will reflect on their experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and interview three other people. Students can use the My COVID-19 Experience form or develop their own set of questions for reflecting and interviewing.

If students choose to develop their own set of questions, ask them to think about what future generations might want to know about living through the pandemic. Some topics to consider: Home, School, Friendship, Holidays, Food, Entertainment

Have students write six to eight open-ended questions. Open-ended questions leave more room for the narrator to reflect on and express their experiences.

Open-ended questions may begin: why…? how…? what…? describe... explain... tell me about…

Step 2: Reflecting 

Ask students to fill out the My COVID-19 Experience form or respond to the questions they have developed (whichever they will be using for their interviews). Encourage students to get creative! In addition to describing their experiences in writing, they can add illustrations or create a short audio or video response.

Step 3: Interviewing

Have students choose three other people to interview. Encourage them to interview across generations (parents, grandparents, siblings and friends) to gain different perspectives.

Students should let each narrator know the purpose of their project and ask for their permission to be interviewed. If the student plans to contribute materials to a Maine Contemporary Archives project, make sure to fill out a Creative Commons Release Form for each interview.

Interviews can be conducted in-person, over the phone, or online. Students can take notes in writing or record audio or video using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. (See StoryCorps Connect for one way to record interviews online.)

Some tips for interviewing:

  • Choose a quiet time/location and test out your recording equipment.
  • Begin by identifying yourself, the narrator, the date, and location. Also identify the topic, and any special relationship you have with the narrator. 
    • Example: “This is an interview with [narrator’s name] about [topic]. The interview is taking place on [date] in [city, state]. The interviewer is [interviewer’s name].”
  • Ask the narrator one question at a time, and state each question as directly as possible.
  • Use follow-up questions to gather more specific information, such as: What did you mean by… Tell me more about… and Explain how you…
  • Try not to interrupt the narrator. Pauses can be useful for reflection and recollection.
  • Listen carefully to what your narrator is saying and use body language to show you are interested in what they have to say.

Assessment Activity

Have students present what they have learned from conducting their interviews to the class, comparing and contrasting the experiences they recorded. Did they find similarities in their narrators’ accounts of the pandemic? Differences? Did anything surprise them? How did their narrators’ experiences of the pandemic compare with their own?

Extension: Students can use their self-reflections and interviews to produce a podcast, comic, short video, or other creative project.

Invite students to upload their self-reflections, interviews, or creative projects to a Maine Contemporary Archives project to share with your community. (Use this list of participating libraries to find a project near you). Each project has its own Terms and Conditions; get in touch if you have any questions!

Citation

Maine Contemporary Archives Collaborative, “My COVID-19 Experience,” Maine Contemporary Archives, accessed June 15, 2021, https://ourmainearchives.omeka.net/items/show/55.

Output Formats