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The Great Thanksgiving Listen

October 29, 2015

logo for the Great Thanksgiving ListenNext month students across America are being asked to record and share an interview with one of their elders — a parent or other loved one. Organizers say this initiative, called The Great Thanksgiving Listen, has the potential to preserve the voices of an entire generation. Even the if the results aren’t monumental, this is an excellent opportunity to engage people of all ages in the act of listening. All you need is a smartphone and someone to talk to.

To participate, first download the StoryCorps app for iOS | or Android.
StoryCorps appOver Thanksgiving weekend, follow the app’s built-in prompts to record and publish an interview. Finally, log in and tag your recording.

It’s not as easy as it may sound. Think about it: whom would you interview and what would you ask? StoryCorps offers a Teacher Toolkit (PDF) with background information, a planning guide, activities and more. There’s also a helpful web page with general resources — even a Facebook page

This project is aimed at ages 13 and up, and educators are encouraged to use the activity as a class assignment or offer extra credit for publishing an interview. College students and professors should just ignore the places where the website says “high school.”

Here’s a one-minute radio story from NPR about The Great Thanksgiving Listen:

Since 2003 StoryCorps has provided more than 100,000 Americans a quiet booth and a facilitator to record meaningful conversations about who they are, what they’ve learned in life, and how they want to be remembered. Between 2008 and 2014 they sponsored a “National Day of Listening” the Friday after Thanksgiving. Version two-point-oh extends the idea to an entire weekend; it also has several big name sponsors, including the AARP and Subaru.


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