23 Memories

Competencies: Social Studies, History

History 4.2: Understands and analyzes causal factors that have shaped major events in history.

History 4.2.2: Understands how contributions made by various cultural groups have shaped the history of the community and world.


Objective: Students read or listen to memories from the book, Preserving the Stories of Issaquah.  Then they write their own memories.  An extension is to do an oral history with a parent or grandparent.

Materials: book Preserving the Stories of Issaquah, paper, pencil, interview questions (see attached), WWII Watchtower Log


Part 1

  1. Discuss how journals, diaries, stories (oral or written), newspapers, and letters can tell us information about the past.
  2. Read any combination of any of the following short passages from the book, Preserving the Stories of Issaquah.  *See attached page for recommended passages.  Most of these passages are only one or two paragraphs long.  Teachers may want to divide up the readings into several different days by reading one category of stories per day.  This is a wonderful opportunity to give students some exposure to a wide range of Issaquah history including the depression and World War II.  When reading the selections about WWII, share the laminated watchtower log.  This is a recording of citizens that watched for Japanese planes from a watchtower during WWII.
  3. Ask students, “What can we learn about the history of Issaquah from these stories?”
  4. Tell students to think of a memorable experience that they have had.  This could be the first time they tried something new, the first time they traveled somewhere new, the funniest thing that ever happened to them, the happiest day they have ever had, a special holiday or celebration that they remember, etc.  Remind students that it can be about an event, a place, a person that is special to them, or simply what they enjoy doing in their free time.
  5. Students write their own memory.  They can illustrate and create a class book about modern memories.  If the class does The Modern Time-Capsule Trunk activity, they can add their book to the trunk.

Part 2

  1. To learn more about the past, as a homework assignment, have students interview a family member or friend (preferably an older person whose experiences go back more than 30 years). Ask students, “What do you think we can learn by asking people questions and listening to the stories they have to tell?”  Explain that they will share their interview results at a later date.
  2. Use the interview form to gather information from a family member or friend.  Students can share their interview results with the class.
  3. After students have had an opportunity to share either their own memories or a family member’s memories, help the students identify what is a primary and secondary source.
  4.  Discuss how even two primary sources might vary in description.   Ask, “Has anyone ever shared the same experience with someone else but you each remember how it happened a little differently?”  Discuss how different people might choose to stress different elements of a story.  For example, a child might recall the excitement of fireworks on a Fourth of July celebration, while their parents might recall preparing the picnic and visiting with relatives.  Discuss how what gets recorded as history is often what was important or memorable to the individual that is recording the event


Activity 23 (DOC)
Activity 23 (PDF)
Preserving the Stories: Selected Readings (PDF)
Interview Questions
Spotter’s Log pages

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