CLASSROOM – Family Stories

National Day Calendar Classroom - November - Family Stories
(Last Updated On: October 27, 2020)

CLASSROOM – Family Stories

We all have family stories to tell, but sometimes they get lost in the shuffle of time. This week’s classroom encourages students to celebrate Family Stories Month by collecting and recording some of their family’s greatest stories.

Whether they interview a parent, grandparent, sibling, cousin, aunt, or uncle, they can learn not only about the era they grew up in but how these family members came to be who they are today. It’s also an opportunity to record information that might otherwise be lost. For example, parents or grandparents might have stories about a family member who their children have never met. These stories turn photographs into something more real and tangible. Students might learn first-hand experiences that took place during historical moments in time. And all these stories can be retold to future generations.

HOW TO OBSERVE #FamilyStories

Download and print the Family Stories prompt sheet for your students. Encourage them to use other methods of collecting family stories, too. We also include several tips to help students to get family members talking.

Of course, as always, sharing on social media isn’t required; learning is. But if you do, please use #NDCClassroom to share on social media.


Collecting family stories allows students to explore the people in their lives, get to know them better, and gain a better understanding of them. It also offers a perspective we can only gain from learning about the people around us. We’ve provided several tips for talking to family members and a worksheet to help the process along.

  • Students can use a recording device, video or audio, a questionnaire, or write the stories out themselves.
  • Visit StoryCorps for resources that will help you and your student collect and preserve these stories.
  • Invite the family to participate. Some of them may be hesitant at first because they don’t think they have anything special to share, but that’s not usually true. It may be as simple as telling about the day they learned something new, like dancing or painting. It could be their first time flying, riding a bike, or meeting someone. We all have stories to tell.
  • Write down the stories you already know your family tells. Help preserve them. Ask those who may have been there for the event to tell it in their own words. You might learn something new about a family tale.
  • Download and print the Family Stories worksheet to help you get started. You can print as many as you need for as many family members as possible. Use the back of the sheet to add your own questions.
  • If your family members give you a particular year their story takes place, explore the historical events of that time to prompt more questions and stories.

No matter who you interview, don’t forget to be respectful. Sometimes talking about the past is difficult or memories fade. Their time is also valuable, so be sure to schedule the interview in advance to give them time to think about the stories they might want to tell.

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