Students recorded cultural heritage and oral histories in digital magazine

Elementary students have published, 'Foxfire Today’, a digital magazine created from interviews and articles documenting the Appalachian mountain culture.

GEORGIA, UNITED STATES – Following the traditions of the Foxfire magazine class at the Rabun County High School, students at the elementary school are taking the project into the 21st century.

Grade five and six students participating in the ‘School within a School’ program for gifted and accelerated students at Rabun County Elementary School have published, ‘Foxfire Today’, a digital magazine based on the traditions of the Foxfire Magazine and Book Series. Like their high school counterparts, the elementary students conducted interviews and wrote articles, but incorporated more digital technologies in the publication.

Joy Phillips and M’ryanne Peacock are the instructors for the program. Joy participated in the Foxfire class as a student during the 1980s, her two children worked on the magazine while in high school and as a teacher she has reflected on the success and principles of the Firefox Approach to guide the development of the ‘School Within a School’ project. Utilising project based learning, inquiry methods and hands-on approaches, the program is designed to challenge and accentuate the students’ learning abilities.

With the goal of preserving the Appalachian culture by sharing stories told in the ‘first person’, the topics and interviewees were selected by the grade six students. The sixth grade students led the program, upskilling fifth grade students, to lead the production next year.

Explicit instruction lessons about conducting interviews, how to develop appropriate interview questions and how to guide the interview process were provided. The students also conducted mock interviews for practice.

Using traditional methods, the students conducted interviews with elders and members of the Rabun Community. However, more modern publication processes are utilised by the elementary students with interviews being transcribed using digital dictation methods and Chrome books. Following this, the transcripts are manually edited to reinforce language arts skills. Each published article is accompanied by a preface, a small photograph and an auto-biographical clip prepared by the student conducting the interview.

The students were responsible for self-editing and peer-editing articles, prior to the written work being submitted to instructors for final editing.

With a professional graphic designer volunteering their time and expertise to help with the publication, the interviews were formatted into a digital layout. The published digital magazine, has been made available through online subscriptions and downloads in partnership with a local organisation.

This is the first digital production endorsed by the Foxfire Fund. The Spring/Summer 2016 was the first issue of the digital magazine, Foxfire Today, published 50 years after the first Foxfire magazine. Proceeds from the sale of the magazine will support the ‘School Within a School’ program.

More Information:

Foxfire Fund

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