The Great Thanksgiving Listen

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is a national education project that empowers high school students to create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview with an elder over Thanksgiving weekend using the StoryCorps App. Interviews that are published are entered into the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and also made publicly available online at where they become an invaluable resource for future historians and provide families with a priceless piece of personal history.

In its pilot year of 2015, thousands of high schools from all 50 states participated and preserved over 50,500 individual recordings at the Library of Congress. In 2016, StoryCorps will continue to work with educators around the country to preserve the voices and stories of an entire generation of Americans over a single holiday weekend. The project is free and open to all students over the age of 13, whether in private, public, charter, homeschool, or any other educational environment. College students and professors are also welcome to participate.

We’re currently working away on the 2016 teacher toolkit to help you bring this project to your classroom. In the meantime, please check out the 2015 toolkit to see what we’re all about.

2015 Toolkit


The Free Teacher Toolkit contains everything you need to get started planning for your classroom today. Contents include:

  • Background Information for Teachers
  • Lesson Planning Guide
  • Follow-Up Activities for your Students
  • Permission Slips
  • Worksheets
  • StoryCorps Great Questions

Click here (or Toolkit image) to download the file.
(PDF, 26 pages)

What are the takeaways for your students and your school?

We surveyed thousands of participating teachers after our pilot run in 2015. Teachers reported that of the students who participated in the Great Thanksgiving Listen:

  • 92% increased their connectedness to their families or communities
  • 85% improved their speaking or listening skills
  • 74% developed an increased interest in learning

And, 99% of participating teachers would recommend TGTL to other teachers, and 99% indicated they’d participate in TGTL again in 2016.

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For school districts

If you represent a school district that is interested in making The Great Thanksgiving Listen part of your 2016 curriculum, please contact us at:

Know a high school student or teacher? Help us spread the word.

Use this language to invite a teacher, high school student or someone you know to take part in this historic effort:

“I am going to be participating in StoryCorps’ the Great Thanksgiving Listen and it made me think of you! Would you join me in this effort to record the voices of an entire generation over Thanksgiving weekend?”

Share this page and follow us on Facebook and Twitter #thegreatlisten.

Not a teacher or a school? You can still participate!

Anyone over the age of 13 can participate (with parental consent if you’re under 18). Simply download the StoryCorps app and use the built-in prompts to record and publish an interview over Thanksgiving weekend. There are resources here to help you get the most out of your interview experience. Click here to learn more.

Interested in more StoryCorps lesson plans?

Check out these lesson plans created by Google for Education Certified Innovators.

For more information about the project, check out our FAQs page.

Potential Sponsors

StoryCorps is a not-for-profit and the TGTL is funded entirely by sponsors and private donors. If you are interested in sponsoring TGTL and inspiring the next generation of historians, please contact us at

For Media

Click here to view our 2015 announcement.

2015 Sponsors


Our Partners

Our Education Partners