Getting Started Introduces folklife, explains why folklife is such an
effective teaching tool, describes the project and guide, adapting
this guide, and project partners, demonstrates the guide's
adaptability and flexibility, and explains the link to the Louisiana
Why Folklife? Why
Quick Overview of
Curricular Connections: The South Louisiana Boat, the
Creole State Exhibit Education Guide
Creole State Exhibit Education Guide
The Creole State: An Exhibition of Louisiana Folklife is a virtual exhibit featuring the Creole State Collection which has more than 200 artifacts in seven sections. The education guide provides an overview of each of the seven exhibition sections and a list of the artifacts included in each section. The guide also contains exhibition-based interactive activities as well as URLs and QR codes that provide the viewer with additional information and extension activities. The activities are appropriate for students in grades 3 through 12, families and independent learners.
Hurricane Resources and
Opportunities for K-12 Educators
In the Wake of the Hurricane, 5-12th grade
This unit is an effort by Louisiana Voices to provide 5-12th grade teachers with materials that can assist them and their students in coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The unit involves teaching students to interview each other, community members, and family members about the experiences of this year's hurricanes and their aftermath. The activities are designed to allow teachers great flexibility and easy to use. Art lesson plans and other resources are also provided.
Terms When you research and
document the culture of your communities, you are undertaking
fieldwork. You might do this through interviews, photography,
audiotaping, videotaping, sketching, or research. There are so many
educational advantages to conducting fieldwork with your
students that you won't want to pass this opportunity up! Fieldwork
builds students' communication skills and enhances their analytical
skills. It also builds creativity in students. Additional
discussions are provided in the Louisiana Folklife Program's page,
Lesson 1 What is Folklife?
Students are introduced to the term folklife through a
student essay, discussion, and activities. They learn that
folklife is transmitted through everyday activities. They learn
about variants, motifs, and cultural
processes–folk, popular, elite cultures,
and to connect folklife to everyday
experience. For an alternate way of introducing these basic
concepts using children's games and play, see Unit III Lesson
Lesson 2 Folk Groups
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
Lesson 3 Folk Genres
Students are introduced to different folk genres. They hear
personal narratives of people in Louisiana and identify their
folklife. This lesson brings together the concepts of the unit: folklife, folk groups, and folk genres.
Applications of Fieldwork Basics Students learn to plan fieldwork research
collaboratively and step by step to set goals, choose methodologies
and technology, identify subjects, design research instruments,
develop project schedules and checklists, and the importance of
testing tools and equipment and practicing interviewing.
Overview This essay provides an overview of the issues
involved with students conducting fieldwork.
Lesson 1 Getting Positioned for Fieldwork Students are introduced to interviewing and
fieldwork through a student essay. Other activities will help them
understand the interviewer's task of examining his or her position
in fieldwork through observation and questioning. Students learn
about themselves and cultural stereotyping through observation and
the interview process.
Lesson 2 The Practice Interview Students are introduced to the interview process by
interviewing each other in pairs using a name game.
Lesson 3 Inviting a Community Guest Students conduct an interview from an outsider
Lesson 4 Teams in the Field Students conduct team interviews outside the
classroom, either within the school or beyond, as part of a
Lesson 5 Making Use of Fieldwork Students transcribe, analyze, and archive fieldwork
and create a team project drawn from
III Discovering the Obvious: Our Lives as "The
Folk" Helps students to
discover folklife through their own traditions in everyday life --
their games and play, school, and family.
Lesson 1 The Child: Games and Play Today and Yesterday in
Louisiana This lesson uses
the study of play and games to introduce students to definitions
of folklore, folklife, folk group, to an
awareness of themselves as tradition bearers of folk groups, and
to the idea that everyone has folklife.
Lesson 2 The School--School Culture Across
identify and research school customs and folk groups through
discussion and interviews. They learn that traditional culture
exists within other cultural contexts, such as the academic world
of school, and in combination with popular culture. They
investigate the name, history, and stories of their school and
others' school traditions.
Lesson 3 The Family: Louisiana Family
Folklore Every family has
unique folklife. Three activities provide points of entry to help
students understand the dynamic nature of folklife and reinforce
how everyone has deeply embedded, often overlooked,
Activity 1 Naming Traditions
Naming is one of many family
traditions to study. Students get to know each other better and
learn more about their family and community history. After the
students have researched their own and their parents' names, they
notice names in literature, history, and other studies and know
more about these names. By starting with themselves, students see
that all families have naming traditions but these traditions
differ and change over time.
Activity 2 Family Pictures
This lesson asks students to look at
their families as an outsider would, to research and share the
stories behind their photos. Then they look at other images of
families from magazines and artwork and apply the analyzing skills
they've learned from studying their own pictures.
Activity 3 Family Treasures
Students identify family treasures
and research their context. They organize artifacts into various
categories and research traditional Louisiana artifacts
IV The State
of Our Lives: Being a Louisiana Neighbor Emphasizes map skills and regionality and covers
Louisiana's major folk cultural regions, sense of place,
environment, and geography while providing a useful framework of
cultural perspectives to help students consider the many elements
that contribute to "sense of place." Technology options include
making spreadsheets and large maps.
Lesson 1 Louisiana's Major Folk Regions Students study the three major folk regions
of the state: North Louisiana, South Louisiana, and New Orleans.
Older students can break these regions down into smaller folk
Lesson 2 Geography, Ecology, and Folklife Students investigate how geography and
ecology influence a region's folklife and consider how an outsider
might view their own region in this lesson. The natural world,
even in urban settings, influences how we view life, what
materials are available for crafts, what occupations we choose,
how our homes look. Eighth graders tackle more sophisticated
investigation, analysis, and mapping.
Lesson 3 Sense of Place After studying the major folk regions of Louisiana
and the relationship between folklife, geography, and ecology,
students give deeper thought to what makes their own community
unique, what their "sense of place" is. Not only are our
communities and neighborhoods unique, so are our perspectives of
where we live. In addition to geographic mapping of their
communities, students develop conceptual maps of their sense of
Traditions: Swapping Stories Covers a wide variety of oral traditions, from local
and historical legends to personal experience narratives, drawing
heavily on Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana, a
publication, video, and website that students will
Lesson 1 Introduction to Traditional Oral
Narratives From nursery
rhymes to advertising jingles, jokes to favorite stories, children
and adults play with words, organize their thoughts and concerns
through speaking. This lesson introduces students to the idea of
traditional oral narrative as divided into genres, or types. They
begin to explore the genres found in Swapping Stories, as
well as the concepts of context, motifs, and variants.
Lesson 2 Language and Dialect This lesson tests students' listening skills as
they study tellers from different parts of the state and asks them
to consider their own regional dialects and insider language of
folk groups they belong to. They learn that language is part of
folklife and that folk groups share special "insider" terms,
phrases, and dialects unique to them. This lesson could dovetail
IV lessons on the folk regions of Louisiana.
Lesson 3 Folk and Family Heroes and Heroines
Students define and learn the
difference between folk heroes, held in collective memory, and
family heroes or a media celebrity. They read about and find
family and folk heroes and heroines in their own lives.
Lesson 4 Tall Tales and Urban Legends Students learn to recognize tall tales,
urban legends, and cyberlore and find them in their own lives.
They practice telling and listening to these tales and explore why
people tell them.
Lesson 5 First Meeting of the Indians and the
Europeans Students hear a
Native American Indian point of view of Europeans' arrival in
Louisiana told in Koasati. They consider how insiders, cultural
perspectives, and native language shape a story, and learn about
the Koasati tribe of Louisiana.
Lesson 6 Historical Legends This lesson explores
local and state historical legends and introduces
students to one of the lesser known Louisiana cultural groups, the
Isleños, who came
from the Canary Islands. Fourth graders research local historical
legends. Eighth graders study the Isleño variation of the Hispanic
historical ballad tradition called the décima.
Lesson 7 Personal Experience Narratives Students identify personal experience
narratives in their own lives through telling stories themselves
and collecting stories from family members or other adults.
Students study personal experience narratives in Swapping
Stories and compare vernacular, or everyday, language in these
stories with literary versions of folktales. They compare personal
experience narratives with oral histories, and 8th graders read a
personal experience narrative of the of the North Louisiana folk
artist Sarah Albritton, whose paintings tell of her life
Musical Landscape Explores
Louisiana music and folk dance; addresses listening skills; and
relates music to social studies, economics, language arts, musical
legends, and visual arts as well as school-based music
Lesson 1 Music Around the State: Sound and Place
This lesson introduces students to
the styles and elements of
music in the three major folk regions of Louisiana within specific
traditional music genres. Students hear
the diversity of music in the state and to identify the major
genres of traditional music by how they sound and where they most
often occur. This lesson will also give students a context within which
to consider their own musical landscapes. They look for and listen
to different versions of traditional songs.
Lesson 2 Listening Logs Students hone their listening skills, develop tools
for approaching research into their own musical traditions and
those of community and state, and learn different ways of
Lesson 3 Generational Music Communities This lesson focuses on age-related
generations so that students consider how traditional music is
transmitted from one generation to another and how music functions
for people within a generation, including their own.
Lesson 4 Moving to Music This lesson helps students understand how they
themselves use movement and dance and the many ways that people
move and dance in different contexts. Close observation and
imitation of folk movement and dance improves decoding skills and
kinesthetic abilities. They also learn about the importance of
folk dance to cultural groups and that they must understand the
folk group to be able to understand the folk dance.
Lesson 5 Music Is Business This lesson stresses the importance of music to the
economy of Louisiana, jobs and skills needed in the state's music
industry, music industry career opportunities for students, and
personal contact with people in the music industry. Students also
build critical-inquiry skills by reviewing musical performances
Lesson 6 Louisiana's Legendary Musicians This lesson introduces students to
legendary traditional musicians of Louisiana, allowing them to
hear new genres of traditional music; consider what it means to be
a legendary artist; and read, write, and create projects about
these extraordinary figures.
Culture--The Stuff of Life [L'Unité 7 est
accessible en Français] This unit introduces the concept of material culture
and provides ways of looking at artifacts, art, teaching, and
learning. Students examine the aesthetics of everyday life such as
vernacular architecture, gardens and yards, needlework, crafts,
hairstyles, foodways, body ornamentation, clothing and costumes.
Students consider questions of use and beauty and the importance of
context to artifacts.
Lesson 1 Reading Artifacts Students begin the study of material
culture by looking carefully at vernacular, or
everyday objects from several perspectives, considering the context, or story, of
objects, and categorizing objects. They improve their fieldwork
research skills by looking at artifacts as cultural outsiders would.
Learning to "read culture," students hone decoding skills that
improve reading and writing.
Lesson 2 Teaching and Learning Through Objects
This lesson asks students to consider
the function, form, and meaning of objects and how we learn skills
and make things that we learn traditionally, by observation and
imitation, in everyday life from "indigenous teachers" around
Lesson 3 Introducing Louisiana Foodways This lesson introduces Louisiana foodways
by continuing to give students "insider" and "outsider"
perspectives. Its main aim is to lay groundwork for studying
Louisiana foodways more deeply. In this lesson and Lessons 4 and
5, students develop interdisciplinary activities based on many
aspects of Louisiana food and find resources on foodways of all
Louisiana's Many Food
Traditions -- adapted by Eileen Engel
Lesson 4 Family Foodways Students discover, document, and share what they
know of family foodways related to special occasions. They explore
the context in which food traditions are created and adapted in
their families and communities. Studying foodways increases
students' understanding of and respect for the commonalities and
differences among themselves and their peers.
Lesson 5 Louisiana Regional Foodways Students improve research techniques in
locating, selecting, and synthesizing information from a variety
of texts, media, references, and Internet resources to acquire
knowledge of regional foodways traditions throughout Louisiana
from the past and present. They learn that geography and regional
culture influence foodways and they extend the exploration of
context and foodways.
Lesson 6 Louisiana Crafts and Domestic Arts The term material culture refers to a vast
array of objects and activities that people make and do
traditionally. Diverse crafts and decorative arts are made and
practiced indoors and outdoors throughout the seasonal round all
across the state. Students learn about traditional Louisiana
crafts and decorative arts of the past and the present through
research, and they identify crafts and decorative arts in their
Worlds of Work and Play [L'Unité 8
est accessible en Français] Encourages students' interaction with adults in the
community through documenting traditional occupations. Students also
investigate ways that adults enjoy life and share community through
recreation, hobbies, celebrations, oral narrative, and other
Lesson 1 On the Job Students are introduced to the concept of
occupational folklife and learn about occupations in their
community and the state. They collect examples of occupational
folklife such as special terms, equipment, or gestures, as well as
stories, jokes, and customs. They differentiate between the skills
learned in a setting such as school or formal job training and
skills learned traditionally on the job, through word of mouth and
Lesson 2 Home Work By examining domestic work, skills, and crafts,
students find arenas of traditional learning in their own homes
and daily lives. They identify experts at home and in the region
whose skills contribute to building family life and community.
Domestic crafts vary from home to home and regionally, and
students study domestic crafts around the state. They examine how
gender and age relate to domestic work and analyze where they
themselves fit in the scheme of work around the home.
Lesson 3 Grown-ups at Play
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.
Seasonal Round and The Cycle of Life Encourages students' interaction with adults
and covers seasonal round customs, beliefs, traditions,
celebrations, and holidays.
Part 1 The Seasonal Round Designed
for younger students, but older students can use activities in
Lessons 2 and 3 to acquaint themselves with the concept of the
"seasonal round" and to identify traditions important to them
throughout the year.
Lesson 1 Birthday Calendars
Students are introduced to the
concept of the seasonal round and how folklife traditions vary
from season to season. They begin charting dates of personal
interest on seasonal round calendars by starting with birthdays.
They research birthday traditions in their own communities and
around the world.
Lesson 2 Constructing Personal Calendars Students identify important dates in the
life of the school and the community through research and
interviewing. Next they identify important dates in the state and
nation and research various holidays and special occasions. They
design personal calendars to compare with calendars of other
students, community members, and cultural groups around the state
and the world.
Researching and Celebrating the Seasons
Lesson 3 Folklife Around the Year and
Around the State Students
research how seasonal changes in Louisiana affect their own lives
and the folklife of their communities and the
2 The Cycle of Life Students in grades 8 and higher
may use activities in Part 2 to research rites of passage, the role
of older people in society, beliefs about health, burial traditions,
and local cemeteries.
1 Birth and Early
Childhood Students begin
their study of the cycle of life by researching creation myths of
various cultures, collecting birth stories and beliefs, and
surveying milestones in early childhood. Students learn that all
cultures share stories about the beginning of life and traditions
that welcome a child into the world. Students collect beliefs from
family and community members about pregnancy, birth, and
prediction of a baby's gender. They also decide what milestones
are important to a young child in their community.
Lesson 2 Rites of Passage
In this lesson students search for
rites of passage in their own lives and study rites of other
cultural groups in Louisiana and around the world. They recognize
moments of importance in people's lives and find meaning in the
stages of their own and others' lives. They learn that all
cultures have rites of passage for similar stages in the cycle of
Lesson 3 Elders' Ways Students study folk beliefs about illness
and healing, research Louisiana graveyards and burial traditions,
and talk about the cycle of life with older people in their
communities. In turn, students share some of their own stories and
traditions with older people.
Strategies Ideas for making difficult reading materials
available to your students.
Looking for Something Specific? Guidance for finding a particular interest, topic, or activity.
Links Lists key websites used in the Louisiana Voices
lessons and workshops.
Glossary For teachers to adapt for their
Acknowledgements and Credits Meet the team
who conceived and continue to work with Louisiana Voices.
Us Meet the workshop presenters.
Opportunities for Professional
Development Workshops and more.
the Community Join our Email Group and communicate with
others using Louisiana Voices.