Unit VIII The Worlds
of Work And Play
English Language Arts, Social Studies
Purpose of Lesson
Students realize that adults entertain themselves at work and in their private lives and that much of adult play, like children's play, is part of adults' folklife and that they play in various folk groups. They consider the elite, popular, and folk culture elements of adult play and recreation. They investigate tourism in their region and around the state and examine it in relation to how local insiders interact with the same activities and events. They collect forms of adults' wordplay.
Lesson Objectives/Louisiana Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Foundation Skills
1. Students identify and research ways that adults in their community and around the state play and entertain themselves and differentiate between elite, popular, and traditional (folk) culture entertainment activities.
2. Students compare and contrast adult play with childhood play.
3. Students compare the outsider views of tourists with insiders' view of an event or location.
4. Students study traditional folklife elements and contexts of adult play and recreation, including wordplay.
2-5 class periods
Print out and duplicate any worksheets or rubrics that you will be using. If your students will be doing fieldwork, you may need digital cameras, audio recorders, or video recorders in addition to notepads and pencils as well as appropriate fieldwork forms. Print out and duplicate any worksheets or rubrics that you will be using.
Background Information for the Teacher
Allegedly children laugh an average of 68 times a day and grown-ups only 12. Yet adults do have fun on the job, at home, and in the community. This lesson asks students to consider how adults in their families and communities play, from Friday night card games to book groups, carpentry to sewing, swapping stories to catching whoppers, cheering the Grambling Tigers or the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Grown-up play may not always look like fun to young people, but adults do indeed still know how to have fun, especially in Louisiana, which offers a mild climate, lots of outdoor activities, and plenty of community celebrations. Some forms of play are specific to Louisiana, for example, the card game bourée or Mardi Gras. Others are part of mainstream American elite, popular, and traditional culture. Think about the relationship of elite culture experiences such as visiting museums, popular culture events such as a pop music concert, or traditional culture pastimes such as squirrel hunting. For example, the Super Bowl is a popular culture event, but the way you and your friends or family gather to watch the game on television together each year is part of your folklife.
Where does play figure into your own working and private lives? What are the jokes on the job, hobbies shared with friends, or annual events celebrated? Think about ways you entertain yourself so you can share them with students. Identify an adult in your school or community to visit with students and share expertise in an area of play, for example hobbies, storytelling, music or dance, ritual or celebration preparation, clubs, collections, games, or sports. Read some of the essays on adult play listed in Technology Connections above. Prepare a form or notebook to create a class Master List of Adult Play. Print any webpages that you'll need. If using Venn diagrams, Venn Diagram shows how to use them for comparisons.
4th Grade Activities
1. Share with your students different ways that you have played and found recreation as an adult. Ask them how they think adults play. Discuss how children's play and adults' play might differ. Start a class Master List of Adult Play, which can be a notebook or a large poster, by brainstorming ways that students think adults play. Students may later compare this list with the Class Master List of Childhood Games from Unit III Lesson 1. Return to this question at the end of the lesson and ask students how their opinions have changed. As homework, ask students to talk to some adults about ways they choose to have fun.
2. Next class period, ask students to report on adults' responses to the assignment. Add new examples that students collected to the class Master List. What are students' thoughts about grown-up play? What do they think they will do as entertainment when they're adults? Students might keep a journal of their observations and hypotheses as well as their questions and thoughts.
3. Conduct "Jigsaw Groups" to find different ways to categorize examples on the class Master List by following the steps below. (This activity is a variation of "Jigsaw of Dakota Dugout" from Using Whole Language Strategies, see Unit VIII Resources.)
4. Ask students to search for artifacts and photos of adult play and recreation in the Creole State Exhibit and the Louisiana Folklife Photo Gallery and print out examples to hang in the classroom or to illustrate computer slide shows or presentations. Some examples include hunting and fishing gear, saddles, needlework, or folk toys.
5. Invite someone who is skillful at some form of play or recreation to visit class for students to interview and perhaps learn something from, for example, a sports fisherman, bowler, collector, card game player, birdwatcher, and so on. Was it hard to learn this practice? Who taught it? Who else does it? Why is it enjoyable? Where is it done? Students should take notes and write summaries of the visit. If desired, have students use the Taking Notes / Making Conclusions activity to take notes but substitute observations students should make about this topic. See Unit II Lesson 3 for guidance on inviting a community guest to your classroom.
6. Divide into two teams to investigate indoor and outdoor adult play and recreation around the state. Outdoor examples include trail rides, boating, fishing, trapping, parades, rodeos, raising dogs, nonprofessional sports, attending high school and college ball games, birdwatching, jogging, outdoor crafts, bocce ball. Indoor examples include card games, Mah Jong, needlework, dollmaking, book groups, museums, concerts and performances, collecting, building models and other hobbies, tying flies, computer games, making regalia or costumes, cooking, dancing, singing, playing instruments, indoor crafts. Add new examples to the class Master List of Adult Play.
7. Each student should choose one activity to research and choose a way to present findings: computer slide show, demonstration, skit, tableau, dance, short essay, poem, drawing, oral presentation, exhibit. Print, duplicate, and distribute the Adult Play Presentation Rubric and review the performance elements and indicators with students. Remind them to refer to the rubric as they do their research and prepare their presentations. Issues to consider, especially for 8th graders, include insider terms, equipment, materials, skills, location, participants, mastery levels, and so on. If students have a hard time identifying a recreational activity to research, they might look at the resources listed in Technology Options above.
4th Grade Explorations and Extensions
1. Make a large class Venn diagram comparing the Master List of Children's Games from Unit III Lesson 1 with the Master List of Adult Play compiled during this lesson. Think of ways to categorize different types of comparisons: same games, male or female, inside or outside, specific to Louisiana, and so on.
2. Design a postcard showing local recreation opportunities. Pretend you are a tourist and write a note about local hobbies, games, or recreation.
Background for 8th Grade Teachers
In addition to a long history of gaming, from card games on 19th century riverboats to modern-day casinos, the topic of adult play may involve a discussion of gambling, alcohol use, or adult language and humor. Think about what you find an appropriate discussion level for your classroom and talk with students about being mindful of what is appropriate. For example, many joke cycles distributed by email make fun of men, women, or occupational groups such as engineers or lawyers. Such samples might inspire useful conversation about stereotyping, or they might be hurtful. A climate of trust in the classroom would be essential to indepth discussion and analysis of stereotypes.
8th Grade Activities
1. Follow Steps 1 and 2 of 4th Grade Activities.
2. Adults play with words at work and in their private lives through stories, jokes, and puns. And, like students, they exchange urban legends and cyberlore such as email chain letters, jokes, or Internet chat room etiquette. Ask students to collect some stories, jokes, or cyberlore from adults by taking notes, audio recording, or printing out email. Discuss what language is appropriate for your class. Discuss how humor is relevant; what is funny to some folk groups is not funny to others. Decide with students how to present findings: retelling or publishing, for example.
3. Ask students to consult a local tourism board or the Louisiana Office of Tourism to identify how outsiders would entertain themselves in your region or another region of the state. Also see the tourism industry's site, louisianatravel.com. Do you and other insiders in your community participate in these events or visit these tourism sites? Differentiate between the popular culture of tourism or media events and the traditional culture ways of interacting with them. For example, do cultural insiders have terms for tourists? How do students think community folklife and tourists' experiences differ?
4. Assign students to read one of the essays listed in Technology Connections above as well as on the Culture and Play Checklist. In class, discuss what aspects of some forms of adult play relate to folk culture, as opposed to elite or popular culture. For example, playing a computer game is participating in popular culture, but interacting with others in a computer game or environment such as a listserv community is participating in a folk group. Attending a family reunion is a traditional culture activity, while attending a circus or popular music concert is a popular culture activity. Yet knowing appropriate audience behavior at an event is traditionally learned by observation and imitation. Ask students to use the Culture and Play Checklist to research various forms of adult play or to analyze the traditional, popular, and elite culture influences in different forms adult play from the online essays or their interviews with adults.
5. Students can research adult recreation in other eras or places and compare findings with their investigation of current Louisiana practices. Use the Library of Congress virtual exhibits listed on the Culture and Play Checklist to get started with research online.
6. In previous times, quilts were a necessity; today they are a nicety. Identify quilters in your community and interview them about the pleasure they find in quilting. Do they belong to a group? Do they like giving quilts away? Selling them? Choosing patterns, materials, and colors? What's their favorite aspect? Least favorite? How did they learn? Have they taught anyone? Or, you might document the steps in quilting. Use Documenting Quiltmaking to design a local quilt survey or fieldwork with an individual quilter. Look at Quilts and Quiltmaking in America 1978-1996 and compare information there with what you learned in your community. Each student or group should choose a way to present findings: computer slide show, oral presentation, exhibit, or a visit by a quilter. Print, duplicate, and distribute the Quilting Research Rubric. Review the performance elements and indicators with students and remind them to refer to the rubric as they do their research and prepare their presentations. Issues to consider, especially for 8th graders, include insider terms, equipment, materials, skills, location, participants, mastery levels, and so on. (Also see Unit VII Lesson 6 for a related activity under 4th Grade Explorations and Extensions and Unit IX Part 2 Lesson 2.)
8th Grade Explorations and Extensions
1. Hobby shops offer some materials for traditional crafts but usually specialize in popular culture crafts such as kits for stenciling objects or making model planes. Traditional crafts are learned by observation, imitation, and practice from a traditional practitioner, often in an informal way. Thus, people might study basketmaking in a fine arts class at a university (elite culture), from a video advertised in a craft magazine (popular culture), or by working with traditional basketmakers from their family or other folk group who have handed the practice down (folk culture). Talk with adults in your community to learn what their hobbies are. Start a class Master List of Adult Hobbies in your community and add to it throughout the year. Add hobbies from literature you study. Investigate students' hobbies and create a Master List of Student Hobbies as well. Compare the two lists on Venn diagrams that you print out or draw. Try to categorize elite, popular, and traditional culture elements in some of the hobbies. The Culture and Play Checklist will help in this analysis.
2. Explore how some Louisianians have apprenticed themselves to master traditional craftspeople to learn such traditions as making Mardi Gras Indian regalia or playing music in the online booklet, Keeping It Alive. Teachers, if these 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.