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Folklore and Education Resources

The Folklore Wiki > Resources for Folklorists > Resources for Teachers: Folklore and Education Resources


Alabama Folklife Association provides audio excerpts of children’s songs recorded in 1947 in the online Bullfrog Jumped Children’s Folksongs Learning Guide for pre-K to grade 3.

Alaska Native Knowledge Network offers culturally responsive education standards for schools, teachers, students, and communities and many lessons.

American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress houses thousands of photographs, recordings, and documents in multimedia collections and the Teacher’s Guide to Folklife Resources.

CARTS: Cultural Arts Resources for Teachers and Students The Web site of Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education links to national and regional resources and provides lessons, articles, and online folk artist residencies.

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures supports the Network for Teachers of Local Culture and projects that deeply engage teachers and students in exploring culture. See the Dane County Cultural Tour and Hmong Cultural Tour, which includes free downloadable versions of the award-winning, practical Teacher’s Guide to Local Culture and the Kids’ Field Guide to Local Culture.

Discovering Community is a project of the Vermont Folklife Center that provides methods and resources to create locally designed curricula that support and meet the pressing need for cultural conservation and civic participation.

Folkstreams is a national reserve of American folk culture documentaries and offers users extensive background materials for each film. See the Educator’s Portal and the film Home Across the Water about Gullah culture and struggle for land ownership.

Folkvine gives users video, audio, and text options to explore folk artists of Florida, including bobble head dolls who represent real-life scholars of the state’s traditional culture and three online board games for students.

Iowa Folklife: Our People, Communities, and Traditions is an award-winning online lifelong multimedia learning guide for all ages.

Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education is a network of hundreds of people interested in engaging young people with their own traditional culture and with the local culture and folklore of their families, regions, and the larger world.

Louisiana Voices: An Educator’s Guide to Exploring Our Communities and Traditions  This comprehensive interdisciplinary Web-based guide with many lessons, essays, photos, video, and audio is public domain and adaptable for any region. Units VII and VIII are in French as well as English.

McKissick Museum offers several education guides in Digital Traditions such as Jubilation! African American Celebrations and Row Upon Row: Sea Grass Basketry.

Oregon Folklife Network has many online resources for educators and students, from magazines to the exhibit Masters of Ceremony, the videography guide Portraits of Oregon to folk artist residencies.

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has online curriculum guides and links to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings offerings. The downloadable Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide is one of the most popular resources on the site; other kits are available with downloadable guides and online video resources.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings offers well over 100 lesson plans, most designed by music educators, as well as interactive features and a wealth of other tools for teachers.  

South Georgia Folklife Collection includes Folkwriting, a folk arts education guide by Laurie Sommers and Diane Howard of the South Georgia Writing Project.

Wisconsin Folks teaches students about folk art and artists of the state and provides examples of many art genres and artists, from fish decoys to dance.


Bowman, Paddy. "Oh, that’s just folklore”: Valuing the Ordinary as an Extraordinary Teaching Tool. Language Arts, 81(5), pp. 385-395, 2004.

Bowman, Paddy, with Betty Carter and Alan Govenar. Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide. On the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowships 1987-2002 DVD-Rom, produced by Documentary Arts, 2007, featuring many hours of audio and video as well as bios and slideshows of 327 artists.

Bowman, Paddy. "Standing at the Crossroads of Folklore and Education,” Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 119, no. 471, pp. 66-79, Winter 2006.

Gillis, Candida. The Community as Classroom.

Congdon, Kristin. Community Art in Action. Davis, 2005.

Congdon, Kristin and Kitty Kitson Petterson, illustrator. Uncle Monday and Other Florida Tales. University of Mississippi Press, 2001.

Campbell, Patricia Shehan. Songs in Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children's Lives. Oxford University Press, 1998.

Govenar, Alan. Extraordinary Ordinary People: Five American Masters of Traditional Arts. Candlewick Press, 2006.

Jones, Bessie and Bess Lomax Hawes. Step It Down: Games, Plays, Songs, and Stories from the Afro-American Heritage. University of Georgia Press, 1987.

Knapp, Mary and Herbert. One Potato, Two Potato: The Secret Education of American Children. Norton, 1976.

Lornell, Kip. Introducing American Folk Music. Brown and Benchmark, 1993.

Pryor, Anne, Ruth Olson, and Mark Wagler. Teacher’s Guide to Local Culture and Kids’ Field Guide to Local Culture. Madison Children’s Museum and Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Culture.

Pryor, Anne. Deep Ethnography: Culture at the Core of Curriculum. In Language Arts, 81(5), pp. 396-405, 2004.

Pryor, Anne, and Nancy B. Blake. Quilting Circles ~ Learning Communities: Arts, Community, and Curriculum Guide, University of Wisconsin School of Education and Wisconsin Arts Board, 2007.

Simons, Elizabeth Radin. Student Worlds, Student Words: Teaching Writing Through Folklore. Heinemann, 1990.

Sunstein, Bonnie and Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater. FieldWorking: Reading and Writing Research. 3rd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007.

Umphrey, Michael. The Power of Community-Centered Education: Teaching as a Craft of Place. Rowland and Littlefield Publishing, 2007.

Zeitlin, Steve., et al. A Celebration of American Family Folklore. Pantheon Books, 1982.

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