Today and Many Yesterdays: A Digital Story-Telling Experience

Students will use technology to create a DVD for their family, connecting and comparing their loves to their elders. Students will create a digital history project which includes themselves, their parents or caregivers and their grandparents or significant elders, while learning history and hearing the stories from relatives that brings their history to life.

Materials Needed


Art Materials

Activity Process


At the beginning of the school year, we will engage students in a self-portrait project and life map making project where they will begin with a picture of themselves in the center of the paper (how they see themselves) and then, they will create "spokes" as in wagon-wheel spokes, of all of the things that are a special part of them: important events, favorite foods, sports, family members, friends, music, etc. This will be the lead into our exciting discovery and celebration of family, traditions, and stories. Students will then learn about the interviewing with the recorders, and the special DVD they will be creating for their family throughout the school year.


The teacher will demonstrate this by showing a wheel portrait of herself to the class. This will also be a great beginning-of-the-year icebreaker for students and allow them to get to know their teacher. The teacher will then show a DVD that she has made with multiple generations of her own family and what life was like as a kid--including herself of course! This will serve as the introduction for the year's project.


  1. Make wheel self-portraits and have students share in small groups.
  2. Display the wheel portraits in the classroom.
  3. Introduce the multi-media project and share the teacher's DVD of her own family and the interviews with them as to how life was like as a kid.
  4. Show the equipment that students will be using throughout the school year. Discuss guidelines for use and methods of training for use of the equipment.
  5. Distribute Growing Up In My Family: A Guide for Recording Information on Family History books. Walk students through the book and explain how they will interview family members from multiple generations. (Explain multiple generations!) Interview questions are included in the comments section of this LP.
  6. Have students practice their interviewing skills with their peers.
  7. Set up a schedule for when students will take the recorders and cameras home and interview family members.
  8. Students will also be able to show illustrations of what life was like for family members and themselves and will include their drawings in the DVD's by scanning them in electronically.
  9. Students will gather their information, download their information on the computer, and when all materials have been collected, will create their DVD, incorporating music as well.


The class will host a DVD story-telling party, inviting family members to attend the viewing. Students will take home their own personal DVD to be shared and kept forever.


As a class, we will decide on a self-assessment that students will check-off as they create their DVD project.

Vocabulary Words


Suggested interview questions: -Where do you live? What does your home look like? Where did my elders live? What did their home look like? -Who lives in my family? Who lived in the family of my elders? -My favorite clothes. Clothes my elders liked. -What is my school like? What was school like for my elders? -Where do I shop for the things I need? Where did my elders shop? -How does my family prepare food? How did my elders prepare food? -My favorite celebration. My elder's favorite celebrations. -What I do for fun. What my elders did for fun when they were young. -My favorite toys and playthings. My elder's favorite toys and playthings.

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Language Arts

Social Studies