Unit I: Defining Terms

objectives materials technology background activities assessment resources

Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide  
Getting Started With This Guide  
Study Guide Summary  
Outline of the Study Guide  
Study Unit I Defining Terms  
Study Unit II Fieldwork Basics  
Study Unit III Discovering the Obvious: Our Lives as "The Folk"  
Study Unit IV The State of Our Lives: Being a Louisiana Neighbor  
Study Unit V Oral Traditions--Swapping Stories  
Study Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape  
Study Unit VII Material Culture-The Stuff of Life  
Study Unit VIII The Worlds of Work and Play  
Study Unit IX The Seasonal Round and Life Cycles  
Educator's Links  
Louisiana Voices Milestones  
Educator's Guide Glossary  
Educator's Guide Credits
Educator's Opportunities For Professional Development  
Join The Community
Louisiana Folklife website

Louisiana Folklife Program

Louisiana's Living

            Traditions: Articles, Photos and Virtual Exhibits about Louisiana Folklife  

Unit I Outline:

Defining Terms

Lesson 1: What is Folklife?

Lesson 2: Folk Groups (this page)

Lesson 3: Folk Genres

Unit I Resources


Unit I
Defining Terms

Lesson 2 Folk Groups

[Isleños] started naming every lake, every pond, for what they left in the Canary Islands. That's how homesick they were.

––Irvan Perez, St. Bernard Parish

Grade Levels


Curriculum Areas

English Language Arts, Social Studies


Purpose of Lesson

Students understand the characteristics of a folk group, learn about themselves and their folk groups, and write about a folk group that is meaningful to them. For another way to introduce the concept of folk groups, see Unit III Lesson 2, where students identify various folk groups within the school community.


Lesson Objectives/Louisiana Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Foundation Skills

  1. Students learn that everyone, including themselves, belongs to different folk groups.
    H-1A-M2  Demonstrating historical perspective through the political, social, and economic context in which an event or idea occurred. (1, 2, 3, 4)

    H-1A-M3 Analyzing the impact that specific individuals, ideas, events, and decisions had on the course of history. (1, 2, 3, 4)

    H-1C-E4 Recognizing how folklore and other cultural elements have contributed to our local, state, and national heritage. (1, 3, 4)

  2. Students recognize how folklife is passed on and functions in people's lives.
    H-1D-M6 Examining folklore and describing how cultural elements have shaped our state and local heritage. (1, 3, 4)

    ELA-5-M2 Locating and evaluating information sources (e.g., print materials, databases, CD-ROM references, Internet information, electronic reference works, community and government data, television and radio resources, audio and visual materials). (1, 3, 4, 5)

    ELA-2-M1 Writing a composition that clearly implies a central idea with supporting details in a logical, sequential order. (1, 4)

  3. Students are introduced to the concepts of insider and outsider.
    H-1D-M6 Examining folklore and describing how cultural elements have shaped our state and local heritage. (1, 3, 4)

    H-1A-E2 Recognizing that people in different times and places view the world differently. (1, 3, 4)

Time Required

2-3 days



Students will need copies of What Is Folklife and Why Study It? and the students' journals prepared for Lesson 1. If students will use the printed rather than the online version of the photo, Crawfish Boil in Breaux Bridge, print and duplicate one or more copies. Print and duplicate the worksheets and assessment tools listed below.


Technology Connections

Internet Resources

What Is Folklife and Why Study It?

Thinking About Tradition

Adaptation Strategies

Crawfish Boil in Breaux Bridge


Student Worksheets

Folk Group Inventory Worksheet

Family Pictures Worksheet

Generational Music Communities Survey


Assessment Tools

Folk Group Essay Checklist


Evaluation Tools/Opportunities


  1. Lists: How Folklife is Passed On; How Folklife Functions in People's Lives
  2. Folk Group Essay Checklist - completed by students
  3. Reflections in journals


  1. Folk Group Essay Checklist - graded by teacher


  1. Lists: How Folklife is Passed On; How Folklife Functions in People's Lives
  2. Folk Group Inventory Worksheets
  3. My Folk Group essays
  4. Reflections in journals


Background Information for the Teacher

Review the Folk Group section in the Unit Introduction of Unit I Defining Terms. If you have not done so yet, read the entire Unit Introduction.


To Prepare

Think about your own folk groups, particularly that of "teacher," to offer examples. If the essays are written above your students' reading ability, refer to the Adaptation Strategies for ways to adjust and modify them to levels that students can understand. For another way to introduce the concept of folk groups, see Unit III Lesson 2, where students identify various folk groups within the school community, and prepare materials needed.

If students will be observing the photo Crawfish Boil in Breaux Bridge online, plan ahead to schedule individual students or small groups on classroom computers. Or use an L.C.D. projector for whole-class viewing. Viewing it in the school library may be another alternative.


4th and 8th Grade Activities

  1. Review the concepts and vocabulary presented in Unit I Lesson 1 What Is Folklife? with students. Remind them of the definition of folklife in the Glossary: "The living traditions currently practiced and passed down by word of mouth, imitation, or observation over time and space within groups, such as family, ethnic, social class, regional, and others. Everyone and every group has folklore." Tell students that in this lesson, you will focus on the "groups" that pass down living traditions.

  2. Explore students' understanding of the words "folk" and "group." On the board, make two columns. In one column, write the word "folk," and ask students, as a class, to tell you all the words they can think of that mean the same thing as "folk" ("people," "persons," "friends," "relatives"). Then, in the other column, write the word "group," and have them, again, come up with synonyms for this word ("members," "community," "crowd," "clique"). Combine words from each column so that students can see several different phrases for articulating the concept of "folk group." Discuss how a "friend crowd" might be different from a "people community."

  3. As a class or individually, have students read Part II Folk Groups of What Is Folklife and Why Study It? Tell students that a folk group is special because of the living traditions that the members share. They share these traditions because of their similar values and beliefs. Have them copy the definition of folk groups into their journals - "a group of people who share some identity and cultural expressions, a community," and, after reflecting on the definition, write down one or more folk groups that they belong to.

  4. Using your personal experience, discuss the folk group of "teachers" to facilitate discussion of the essay. Tell them some traditions that you have in common with other teachers. Be sure to provide information for each category used on the Folk Group Inventory Worksheet, which they will complete in the next activity. Ask them to speculate about the shared values and beliefs that teachers have.

  5. Distribute the Folk Group Inventory Worksheet. After reviewing the provided example, and working through another example together, ask students to complete the worksheet alone so that they can explore their individual folk groups. Have students read aloud the details of one of their folk groups. Point out likenesses and differences between groups and ask students how they, as individuals, differ from other members of their group. In other words, what traditions do they "resist" as well as "share?"

  6. Discuss the concepts of insiders and outsiders by having students observe the online or printed photo Crawfish Boil in Breaux Bridge and decide which group they would belong to. Ask several students to explain why they would feel like an insider or outsider if they were attending the pictured function, or perhaps something of both. Ask what they think some of the shared beliefs of this folk group are. If desired, have students write their reflections in their journals.
    Technology Connection: Have students find the photo in the Louisiana Folklife Photo Gallery. They will find the photo if they search for "crawfish boil."
  7. Have students read Thinking About Traditions for an example of one family folk group's shared values and beliefs. Ask them to think about (1) how folklife is passed on and (2) how folklife functions in people's lives, and write their thoughts about this in their journals. If necessary, write the two topics on the board for them to refer to as they write. Have several students share their ideas, and write several on the board under the titles.

  8. Have students select one of their own folk groups from their Folk Group Inventory Worksheets to write about in an essay titled My Folk Group. Review the Folk Group Essay Checklist with students to remind them what must be included.

  9. Have students evaluate their own performance on the My Folk Group essay by using the Folk Group Essay Checklist. Explain that they should rewrite the essay if they have not included most of the Quality Features, and that this is their chance to improve both their work and their grade. When the final versions of their essays have been submitted, use the Teacher column to grade the essay.

  10. Have students write reflections about this lesson in their journals.


4th and 8th Grade Explorations and Extensions

  1. Have students use their own classroom as an example of a folk group. Make a poster for the classroom about the traits of this folk group.

  2. Students can create a scrapbook of the folk group described in their essays.

  3. Connect folk groups to music by asking students to complete the Generational Music Communities Survey in Unit VI Lesson 3.


Unit I Resources

Unit I Outline


National Endowment for

            the Arts.

Folklife in Louisiana Home | Living Traditions Home | Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide
Overview of Louisiana's Traditional Cultures | Folklife Program Introduction |
Planning and Funding Folklife Projects | Opportunities for Professional Development
Links | Credits | Contact Us/Link to Us

Questions about this site? Contact Maida Owens, folklife@crt.la.gov.