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Oral History Projects: Preserving the Past to Educate in the Present

Topic 2: Local Collections

Megan Farnsworth ID # 991636494 14 March 2012 CIMT 513 Davis Indiana State University

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 2 Topic Two Project Statement: For any one (1) of the following, develop a detailed outline for a one to two hour teacher in-service program designed to get Social Studies and English teachers interested in integrating local history/local collections activities into their existing curriculum. Depending on your writing and organizational style, I would advise either a sentence outline or a paragraph outline [NOTE: for the sake of argument, it is safe for you to assume that there is adequate time in the teachers standards-driven curriculum to incorporate such activities]. Ideally, you should be able to identify the state standards in your state that would be addressed by local history/local collections activities. Select any one (1) of the following areas as the subject of your in-service: Oral history project Photographic record (with appropriate narratives) of architecturally significant old buildings/houses in your community A school museum and archive Historic cemeteries as instructional resources

Preface your outline with a two or three paragraph narrative regarding how you will conduct the in-service, i.e. what media and methods will you use to make your presentation (in addition to the Power Point described in the next paragraph) examples that come to mind include ice breakers (provide details), description(s) of presentation materials, handouts/support materials, active learning exercises during the in-service, etc. Develop a Power Point presentation of no more than 20 slides (including title graphic slide and a closing resources slide) that you would use at some point in the presentationit may cover all content or a particular aspect of the in-services content. Be sure to incorporate graphics, pictures and/or embedded video clips as appropriate. Remember that presentations such as Power Point should serve as focal points for a live presentation limit text to key words and phrases. I despise text heavy Power Point presentations with no visual interest! Aside from the obvious, your outline should include (but not be limited to) such things as a rationale regarding the importance/relevance of your topic to the curriculum; suggested applications of the topic; sample instructional goals/objectives; fairly detailed examples of two or more instructional activities that might be used in the student classroom for the topic; and resources for further information (a brief annotated bibliography of five or more resources, print and/or web-based). HSD 2/2012

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Farnsworth, CIMT 513 4 I will conduct an in-service for middle school and high school English and Social Studies teachers about incorporating oral history interviews into the curriculum. The in-service will begin with two icebreaker activities. First, teachers will be grouped so that each pair contains one Social Studies teacher and one English teacher. The pairs may or may not be from the same school district. Each pair will complete a Venn Diagram in which they compare and contrast their childhoods, educational backgrounds, families, and work experiences. This activity is designed to help the participants become more familiar with one another. It will also show that educators with different backgrounds and experiences may still have common ground. The second activity, Education Inspiration, will ask teachers to describe a person from their childhood that influenced their decision to become an educator. This activity will show the importance of family members and educators and how those people impacted our lives in significant ways. I will use a Power Point presentation to highlight important topics throughout the in-service presentation. The Power Point presentation will focus on the definition of oral history, the rationale for conducting oral histories, and the steps to be followed to conduct effective oral history interviews. I will provide a handout of interview questions that might be used by middle school students when conducting an oral history. Another handout will include helpful tips that must be considered when scheduling and conducting oral history interviews. During the in-service I will use active learning techniques to keep the teachers interested and engaged in the lesson. The participants will take part in

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 5 a Concentric Circle Discussion. In this activity, the teachers form an inner and outer circle with the participants facing each other. The person in the inner circle will ask interview questions about childhood or family life from the handout that the person in the outer circle must answer. After a few questions, the inner circle will rotate clockwise. Then the circles will switch roles with the outer circle asking the questions and the inner circle answering them. Participants will also work in small groups to create posters that will be used in a Gallery Walk. Teachers will be asked to brainstorm about ways that oral histories could be used in their classrooms in order to meet core curriculum standards. The posters will be hung around the perimeter of the room. When all posters are completed, the participants will take a Gallery Walk by circulating throughout the room and viewing each poster. Following the Gallery Walk, participants will share ideas that they might take back to their classrooms to help them incorporate oral histories into their curriculum.

Oral Histories I. Introductory activities Slide 1: Welcome to todays in-service presentation. My name is Megan Farnsworth, and I am the K-12 Media Specialist at Adair-Casey Community Schools in Adair, Iowa. Todays presentation will focus on the importance of using oral histories in Social Studies and English classrooms.

A. Icebreakers

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 6 1. Instructor Venn Diagrams 2. Education inspiration B. In-service instruction 1. Goals Participants in this in-service will be introduced to the topic of oral histories. Teachers will learn how to help students research, schedule, and conduct oral history interviews. Participants will also learn how oral histories may be incorporated into the Social Studies, English, and 21st Century Skills curriculum. 2. Objectives After attending this in-service, participants will be able to: define the term oral history. understand the importance of conducting oral histories. identify the steps in conducting oral history interviews. locate oral history resources. incorporate oral histories into the curriculum.

C. Oral history rationale 1. Curriculum standards A. Iowa Core Literacy ASL1 Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 7 IA.5 Prepare and conduct interviews. (Iowa Department of Education, 2011, Iowa Core, Literacy). B. Iowa Core Social Studies Grades 6-8 1.2.4 Analyze various factors that contribute to the shaping of a persons identity. 1.5.5 Understand that historical events can impact an individuals personality development. 4.1.1 Identify similarities within and among periods of time. 4.8.4 Analyze changes over time. Grades 9-12 1.1.1 Understand the impact of economic, historical, and political forces on society and social behavior. 1.4.2 Understand the social and historical context of specific social issues. 4.1.4 Identify and interpret the major events that occurred during a time period. 4.4.1 Analyze the actions of individuals and groups in the development of historical events. 4.8.1 Interpret actions taken, analyze impact experienced, and evaluate decisions made in history in the context in which they occurred (Iowa Department of Education, 2011, Iowa Core, Social Studies). C. Iowa Core 21st Century Skills

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 8 Grades 6-8 2.4 Demonstrate productivity and accountability while aspiring to meet high expectations. 5.3 Use critical thinking skills to conduct research, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate technological tools and resources. Grades 9-12 2.3.2 Listen for comprehension. 2.3.5 Ask appropriate questions in seeking clarification. 2.3.10 Use appropriate channels of communication. 3.1.3 Carry out multiple tasks or projects. 3.2.4 Adapt to changing requirements and information. 4.1.4 Engage in the tasks to accomplish the goal. 4.1.5 Know when to listen and when to speak-up. 4.2.1 Communicate effectively. 5.2.1 Segment task into logical steps with appropriate estimates of time. 5.2.3 Prioritize steps in proper order. 19.1.1 Using technology, students interact and collaborate with peers, experts, and others to contribute to a content-related, media-rich knowledge base by compiling, synthesizing, producing, and disseminating information, models, and other creative works (Iowa Department of Education, 2011, Iowa Core, 21st Century Skills).

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 9 2. Curriculum applications Oral histories have many applications in the classroom. Students can gain a better understanding of life during a specific time in history by interviewing someone who lived during that time. They will research the time period being studied in order to help them develop relevant interview questions. Oral histories may be especially useful in helping students learn about the lives of soldiers stationed overseas during times of conflict. Interviews of relatives can also help students learn about their own family histories. Topics such as the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and life before modern conveniences become real to the students when they hear firsthand accounts from people who lived during those times. They will also learn valuable technology skills as they work with audio, video, and digital scanning equipment. The students will learn about responsibility by setting and keeping an appointment for the interview. Teachers can also incorporate writing skills when students write thank you notes to the subject following the interview. II. Oral history Power Point A. What is oral history? Slide 2: Oral histories feature ordinary people talking about everyday events (Perks, 2009). Many oral histories are preserved with audio or video recordings. In addition, written transcripts may also be made of the interview. B. Why conduct oral histories?

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 10 Slide 3: There are many reasons to conduct oral histories. First, history books and historical documents are not able to tell us everything about our past. Many individual stories are overlooked and omitted from mainstream history textbooks. In addition, history texts often neglect people on the margin of society (Perks, 2009). These groups may include individuals that are disabled, unemployed, or homeless as well as members of ethnic minority groups. Their stories are just as important as the life stories of the social majority. Finally, it is important to preserve peoples life histories before they are lost forever. As people age, their memories often fade. Conducting interviews is an important way to preserve these memories for future generations. These oral histories may be especially valuable to family members as a way for their loved ones to live on through their stories even after their death (Perks, 2009). Oral histories provide a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by supplementing information in public records, statistical data, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials with stories that are untold or forgotten (Baylor University, 2012, p. 2). C. How do I conduct oral histories? 1. Before the interview Slide 4: The first step in conducting an oral history is to establish learning objectives. Students must know the purpose of the interview in order to design questions that will elicit that information. Students must conduct research to find out what is already known about the topic. They will need to figure out how an oral history will provide a new and different perspective on the subject.

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 11 Then students need to locate people to interview who are knowledgeable about the topic (Truesdell, p. 1). Slide 5: The next step is to consider the audience and the finished product. Students need to research the person that they are going to interview. Once they have conducted their research, they can make an appointment for the interview. Students should be sure to keep the interview appointment once it has been scheduled (Truesdell, p. 2). Slide 6: Once the interview has been scheduled, interview questions need to be written. It is important that students write questions with their learning objectives in mind. The questions need to focus on the single topic being studied. Questions should also be open-ended and allow the subject to elaborate with details from their own experiences (Truesdell, p. 3). Slide 7: There are legal documents that must be completed before the interview commences. First, interview subjects must complete informed consent documents. This form tells participants the purpose and risks of the oral history project. Once the interview subjects have reviewed the document, they are able to make an informed decision to consent to participate in the interview. Interview subjects should also complete a deed of gift document. This form gives the researcher permission to use the interview and summarizes what will be done with the interview once it has been completed (Truesdell, p. 4). 2. During the interview Slide 8: There are many factors to consider when selecting the location of the interview. First, allow the subject to select the location if at all

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 12 possible. People will be more willing to share information when they are in a comfortable, familiar setting. The interview should be one-on-one. A large audience will often make interview subjects feel more nervous. The interview should be conducted in a quiet location with little background noise to allow the participants to hear one another (Truesdell, p. 4-5). Slide 9: The placement of recording equipment must also be considered. Audio recording equipment should be placed on a solid, flat surface. The positioning of video recording equipment should be checked prior to the interview. The participants should use a clip-on microphone or a microphone stand so that all of their words can be recorded clearly. People are often nervous when they are being recorded and may speak in quieter tones (Truesdell, p. 5). Slide 10: There are specific interviewing techniques that can make the subject more comfortable. Interviewers should speak clearly in a calm, soothing voice. They need to use a comfortable pace and pause after questions to provide time for the subjects to think before answering the questions. Interviewers need to be careful not interrupt or talk over the subject. However, interviewers should articulate any gestures that are made for the benefit of audio recordings (Truesdell, p. 5-6). Slide 11: Body language also plays an important role in the interview. The subjects body can provide the interviewer with important clues. First, the subject may show that they are uncomfortable with the topic through nonverbal cues; however, body language can also display a willingness to expand on a particular topic. In addition, subjects should also be studied for

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 13 signs of fatigue during the interview. This is especially important when conducting interviews with older subjects. Interviewers should display body language that shows that they are interested in the answers and should not appear judgmental, impatient, or disrespectful (Truesdell, p.6). Slide 12: Interviewers should not be in a hurry to leave after the interview has concluded. They should remain for informal conversation about the interview process or specific stories that were told during the interview. It is important not to be in a hurry to put the equipment away because this informal conversation may stir the subjects memory for one more story or anecdote. Finally, it is important to thank subjects for their time and participation in the oral history project (Truesdell, p. 6). 3. After the interview Slide 13: When the interview is finished, there are still tasks that must be completed. First, the interviewer should complete field notes about each interview. Field notes can help refresh the interviewers memory about the main topics that were covered, questions that were effective or not effective, and any of the subjects follow-up requests. These notes will help interviewers improve their techniques for upcoming interviews (Truesdell, p. 7). Audio and video recordings should be clearly labeled with the names of the subject and the interviewer as well as the location, date, and time of the interview. Digital copies should be made of the interview. The copies should be stored in multiple locations to provide a safe backup in case of damage (Truesdell, p. 7).

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 14 There may be collateral materials such as photographs, documents, or other materials that accompany the interview (Truesdell, p. 7). Items on loan from the subject should be copied or scanned and returned as soon as possible. Other items should be carefully labeled for storage with the interview. Transcripts of the interview may be made if desired. Finally, the interviewer should send the subjects a written note of thanks. The note should express appreciation for their participation in the interview and address any follow-up requests, such as when participants may obtain copies of the interview. Make sure that the interviewer follows though with all of these requests (Truesdell, p. 7).

References Baylor University Institute for Oral History. (2012). Introduction to oral history. Retrieved from Iowa Department of Education. (2011). Iowa Core. Retrieved from 485&Itemid=4602 Perks, R. (2009). Practical advice: Getting started. Oral History Society. Retrieved from Truesdell, B. Oral history techniques: How to organize and conduct oral history interviews. Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory. Retrieved from III. Instructional activities

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 15 A. Iowa History interviews for middle school students Students in Iowa are required to study Iowa History. This study often occurs in the upper elementary or middle school grades. Oral histories can be incorporated into the study of Iowa History. Students will interview a senior citizen, perhaps a relative, neighbor, or friend, and ask questions about what it was like to grow up in Iowa during that time period. First, students must have completed a portion of the Iowa History curriculum that will provide some of the background knowledge needed for the interview. They will need to find a subject for the interview and schedule an interview time. Students should choose the interview subject carefully. They will learn much more if they find an older subject who experienced life without electricity and indoor plumbing. They might also want to look for someone who attended a one-room school. They can ask teacher-generated and student-generated questions in order to learn more about the subjects life. I have created a handout of some teachergenerated questions that would be appropriate for middle school students to use for their interviews. Students may also add some of their own questions to address specific things in the subjects life. Students will need to practice reading the teacher-generated questions before the interview. They may require assistance from their teacher or parents when writing additional interview questions. The interviews may be written or recorded on audio or video equipment. The recordings will be valuable to their students and their families as a way to preserve the stories and memories of the past. The students will then share

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 16 their interviews with their peers. They will also compare and contrast their life to the subjects childhood using a Venn Diagram. See handout for teacher-generated Iowa History interview questions. B. Vietnam War interviews for high school students Oral histories would be very useful for high school students studying the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was very controversial. Public support for the war was extremely low. Many young men fled to Canada to avoid the draft and military service. Many veterans were treated poorly when they returned to the United States from overseas. Many Vietnam veterans suffered from physical and mental problems as a direct result of their military service. Students will be able to gain firsthand knowledge of life during this turbulent time by conducting oral history interviews. Students would benefit from conducting multiple oral histories to gain insights into the time period from multiple perspectives. Oral history interviews should be conducted with Vietnam veterans who had both positive and negative experiences when they returned to the United States. It would also be informative to interview a Vietnam P.O.W. In addition, interviews should be conducted with people who lived during the Vietnam War that did not serve in the military. Possible interview subjects would be conscientious dissenters, people who fled to Canada to avoid the draft, Vietnam War protesters, military spouses, and everyday citizens. Interview questions would need to be modified depending on the subject of the interview. Students interviewing veterans should ask about the subjects

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 17 experiences in Vietnam during the war. They should also ask about the publics reaction to their service once they returned to the United States. Specific questions should also be asked about any time spent in P.O.W. camps. They should ask the civilians about their attitudes toward the war. Interviewers should also seek to learn about war protests and arrests. Questions should also be designed to learn the reasons why some fled to Canada rather than serve in the war. The information from these oral histories could be presented to the class in several formats. Students could write a paper comparing the experiences of the individuals that they interviewed. In addition, they could create a multimedia Power Point presentation to share their findings. This presentation could include actual interview footage. IV. Active learning A. Concentric Circle Discussion B. Gallery Walk

V. Annotated Bibliography Center for the Study of the American South. Southern oral history program. Retrieved from

This site is dedicated to creating a thorough archive of audio recordings of life in the South during the 20th century. They strive to provide students with

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 18 opportunities to learn about history by conducting interviews with subjects that have firsthand experiences living in the South at that time. One of the main goals is to record the stories that are a large part of the southern storytelling tradition. Since oral stories leave no written record, these stories are in danger of being lost. In addition, many other written forms of communication, including letters and diaries, are becoming obsolete due to the evolution of modern forms of communication. These oral histories show that you dont have to be famous for your life to be history (Center for the Study of the American South, Our Mission). In addition to more than 4,000 interviews, the site also offers resources for oral historians. The SOHP Practical Guide provides an introduction and overview for conducting oral history fieldwork. There is a helpful list called Ten Tips for Interviewers that provides some basic information for beginners when conducting interviews (Center for the Study of the American South, Ten Tips for Interviewers, p.9). The site also contains helpful forms including an interview agreement and a life history form (Center for the Study of the American South, Resources, para. 3). Hicke, C. (2010). A quick guide to oral history. Retrieved from

This is a quick reference tool that provides basic information to help beginners when conducting an oral history interview. Tips include finding a willing subject, conducting research into the subjects background, obtaining

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 19 signed release forms, ensuring that equipment is functioning properly, and labeling materials. The guide encourages interviewers to ask questions in order to obtain complete information. The interviewer should also use silence effectively to promote elaboration from the interview subject. In addition, interviewers should ask for examples or anecdotes to illustrate important points in the interview. This list would be very useful for middle school students when they are learning how to conduct interviews for an oral history project. This would also be effective in helping develop a step-by-step guide for conducting an interview. Some of the interviewing tips could also be used to develop a rubric for assessing students on their interviewing techniques.

Moyer, J. (1999). Step-by-step guide to oral history. Retrieved from

This site provides a list of steps that can be followed in order to effectively conduct an oral history. The first list identifies the steps used in oral history research. Another list details items that need to be considered by the interviewer such as compiling questions, conducting practice interviews, selecting a location, and storing the interview for future use (Moyer, 1999, Oral History Reminder List). There is also a thorough list of questioning techniques. Interviewers should ask easy questions first to make the subject feel relaxed and comfortable. Interviewers should allow plenty of wait time for their subjects to think about their

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 20 responses. Questions should also be asked in a manner that will encourage elaboration rather than by a simple yes or no (Moyer, 1999, How do I ask the questions?). This site also emphasizes the importance of interviews in creating a complete picture of life during a particular time period. History textbooks often contain the stories of mainstream society, especially people who are rich, famous, and powerful. Many people, including women, minorities, and other marginalized groups, are able to record their oral histories. Through the use of oral histories, researchers are able to create a more inclusive picture of the past (Moyer, 1999, How Accurate Is This Oral History?).

Oral History Association. (2009) Principles and Best Practices: Principles for Oral History and Best Practices for Oral History. Retrieved from

This site contains background information and helpful hints for conducting oral histories. Oral histories differ from other types of interviews because of their content and extent (Oral History Association, 2009, General Principles, para. 1). Researchers conducting oral histories seek to obtain an in-depth account of personal experiences and reflections (Oral History Association, 2009, General Principles, para. 1). The main focus of oral histories is to provide reflections on the past rather than opinions about current events. Oral histories are considered historical documents that should be preserved and made available for use by

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 21 researchers and the general public. Preservation may occur in many formats due to ever-changing technology (Oral History Association, 2009, General Principles, para. 6). It is important for oral historians to receive the proper training for conducting oral history interviews (Oral History Association, 2009, Best Practices, para. 1). They need to contact repositories that can help preserve the oral history and provide public access to the document (Oral History Association, 2009, Best Practices, para. 2). Interviewers need to conduct research using primary and secondary sources in order to learn the historical context of the time period being studied (Oral History Association, 2009, Best Practices, para. 4). Interviewers should schedule a pre-interview meeting with their subjects to discuss their goals, share possible interview questions, and obtain signatures for legal consent forms (Oral History Association, 2009, Best Practices, para. 6). During the interview, the interviewer should be ready to ask follow-up questions to expand upon the subjects answers (Oral History Association, 2009, Best Practices, para. 12). The interviewer should also be aware of body language cues that may show that the subject is tired and needs to finish the interview at a later date (Oral History Association, 2009, Best Practices, para. 11). Oral histories and accompanying documents should be clearly labeled and stored in appropriate formats. In addition, interviewers should plan on updating formats when they become obsolete (Oral History Association, 2009, Best Practices, para. 17, 18).

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 22 StoryCorps. (2011). Home. Retrieved from

StoryCorps is a nonprofit group that has a goal to provide the opportunity for all Americans to record, share, and preserve their life stories regardless of backgrounds or beliefs (StoryCorps, 2011, About Us, para. 1). StoryCorps has a collection of more than 40,000 interviews. The interviews are recorded on free CDs, and the recordings are preserved at the American Folklife Center located at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps believes that sharing our stories will remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters (StoryCorps, 2011, About Us, para 2). StoryCorps hopes to contribute to an archive of information and wisdom for use by future generations. StoryCorps has a One Lesson Workshop that teaches basic interviewing and storytelling skills (StoryCorps, 2011, Education, para. 4). StoryCorpsU is a curriculum designed to teach college-readiness skills using StoryCorps content and interviewing techniques. StoryCorpsU uses these interviews to help students gain skills in speaking, listening, writing, and critical thinking (StoryCorps, 2011, StoryCorpsU, para. 1). Conducting interviews and listening to existing stories also helps students increase social awareness and selfawareness about their own place in American history (StoryCorps, 2011, StoryCorpsU, para1). In addition, StoryCorps also has specific initiatives to focus on stories from Latin Americans and African Americans as well as people

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 23 affected by the September 11th tragedy, people with memory loss, or people diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses (StoryCorps, 2011, Initiatives).

Farnsworth, CIMT 513 24 Senior Citizen Interview Questions for Iowa History

1. Where were you born and raised? 2. What was your childhood home like? How was it different from our homes today? 3. What was your school like? What subjects did you study? What did you like best about school? What did you like least? 4. What kinds of transportation did you use as a child? When you traveled, where did you usually go? 5. What are some of the customs and traditions you remember in your family? How did you celebrate holidays? 6. What kinds of work did you do as a child? 7. What occupation did you have as an adult? 8. What hobbies have you had? 9. Who or what has been the most important influence on your life? 10. What advice would you give to a young person growing up in todays world? 11. How would you most want to be remembered?

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Tips for Conducting Oral Histories

Do your homework Write open-ended questions Check your equipment Keep your appointment Pay attention Ask follow-up questions Dont interrupt Say Thank you Make copies Label all items carefully Write a note of appreciation Have fun

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NOTE: The most frequently occurring problem with projects has to do with not following instructions regarding submission. These errors, particularly a few of them, are time consuming for you and for me to troubleshoot. As a result, the following checklist has been developed in an effort to eliminate the problem. Failure to include this checklist with each submitted project or failure to adhere to any submission rule will be costly in my grading of your worka deduction of 10 pts. Each item on the checklist is referenced in the course syllabus, so you might want to check there for further clarification.

INSTRUCTIONS: Include this checklist as the last page of all submitted project work.

Saved text file in correct format, Word for Windows (.doc or .docx file extensions)
or as Rich Text Format (.rtf file extension)

Named saved file appropriately, e.g. John Smith would name his file for proficiency
#1 as smith513prof1.doc.

Included cover sheet with prescribed information (see Syllabus). Restated project verbatim If applicable, adhered to page length specifications Included a header or footer with last name and course number on each page of the

Used Times Roman or Arial font only Unless instructed otherwise, double-spaced body text Incorporated pictures and/or illustrations as appropriate
Comments or explanations that you need to make (optional): The Power Point presentation is included in a separate document.
hsd 1/2012