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Michael Kuszczak performing seated high-kick, 1993. Photo: Zenon Kuszczak
Michael Kuszczak performing seated high-kick, 1993. Photo: Zenon Kuszczak, Local Legacies Project

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A Teacher's Guide to Folklife Resources

About This Guide

A Teacher's Guide To Folklife Resources includes a list of materials that will be useful to educators who wish to incorporate folklife projects and programs into their teaching, whether in classrooms, home schools, youth groups, museums, or libraries. This online guide, edited by Carol Moran and Catherine Hiebert Kerst, is based on the print publication, A Teacher's Guide to Folklife Resources for K-12 Classrooms edited by Peter Bartis and Paddy Bowman (Library of Congress, 1994). An abundance of diverse resources is available currently, including books, pamphlets, sound recordings, Web sites, and videos, and multimedia kits. Many of them are listed in this guide.

Thanks to the many people around the country who provided new and updated entries. We are grateful for the advice and "leads" on new materials, and suggestions on how to organize and classify them. We especially want to thank the generous people who donated copies of their work. These materials are shelved in the American Folklife Center's Folklife Reading Room. It is our hope that teachers, folklorists, and anyone interested will stop in and make use of them.

We also invite you to help us to keep this guide current. To submit updates or suggestions for new entries, please use our submission form.

Incorporating Folklife and Community Culture
into the Curriculum

Increasingly, educators are using folklife, folk arts, and oral history--a community's cultural heritage--to enhance education at all levels. For decades, teachers have recognized that oral history and cultural heritage projects that require activities both in and outside the classroom provide stimulating ways to develop writing and communication skills, because they require and encourage active student participation inside and outside the classroom.

Such projects enliven, with real-world examples, the study of history, music, art, social studies, and other topics ranging from integration to immigration. Many items listed in this guide suggest that students and teachers look to their own communities for provocative examples and illustrations of classroom lessons. Some curriculum materials encourage interviews with senior citizens, neighbors, and families; some use local music and crafts to illustrate history and the social sciences; still others, through folk-artists-in-the-schools programs, bring to the classroom living representatives of the cultural traditions and heritage of their respective communities.

A Teacher's Guide to Folklife Resources will assist educators in fostering interdisciplinary learning, cultural awareness, and stimulating the development of original research projects and research topics in the classroom.

To read about using folklife topics and research in the classroom see the "What Heritage Studies Can Do For You" page of the American Folklife Center's Explore Your Community poster. See the links on the menu to the right for the online versions of this and other educational materials provided by the American Folklife Center.


The Online Guide to Folklife Publications for Educators was created through the efforts of many individuals: Carol Moran did the primary research to update and add to the list of materials in the 1994 print edition. Matthew Bachtell created the user-friendly database, in which the citations are housed. Others who contributed to shaping and editing the Teacher's Guide include Catherine Hiebert Kerst, Stephen Wesson, James Hardin, Guha Shankar, Celina Campas, Stephanie Hall, Peter Bartis, Sarah Bradley Leighton, and Margaret Kruesi.

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  February 4, 2008
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