Resources

For Teachers, Folklorists, Academics, and Beyond

Folk arts contribute not only to students’ understanding of cultural traditions but also to their ability to think critically, gather and analyze evidence, and express their ideas and interpretations through personal creativity. Folklife and the tools of the folklorist can support learning in all subjects, including the arts. Folk arts are uniquely suited to explore the ways in which traditional art forms reflect the history, culture, geography, and values of different cultures and communities.

Everyone has folk traditions — expressive customs practiced within a group and passed along by word of mouth, imitation, and observation. Calling on the work of folklorists and the field of folklore in the classroom educates, motivates, engages, and fosters the creative expression of students and powerfully links them to their communities. Integrating the study of folk arts into existing curricula awakens self-awareness in students of their own roles as tradition bearers, their families as repositories of traditional culture and history, and their communities as unique resources.

(Text above adapted from: Local Learning: A Folk Arts Integration Handbook)

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Learning Activity and Lesson Plans

Documentation as Remembrance

This activity uses a primary set source from the Library of Congress to model how documentation of the Covid-19 pandemic can amplify students’ voices.

Folk Song Remix

This activity offers a creative way to interact with favorite folk songs. Follow these directions to tap into familiar folk songs and give them your own, unique spin by remixing them!

Exploring Portraits, Dress, and Identity in Asian Art

What can art objects from distant times and places express about the identity of the people and the cultures depicted in them?

Exploring Dress, Culture, and Identity in American Indian Objects and Dress

How would you feel if someone (outside your identity group) used your identity design references in a clothing line? What might change how you feel about this use?

Tradition, Innovation, and Hawai'ian Cultural Identity in Lau Hala Papale

How is the weaving and wearing of lau hala papale (hats) connected to Hawai’ian history, identity, natural resources, and culture?