Teaching with Folk Sources Curriculum Guide

Journal of Folklore and Education

2023: Volume 10, Issue 2
Alexandra S. Antohin, Guest Editor

About This Volume

This 10th Volume of the Journal of Folklore and Education offers two issues packed with resources and content. Expanding mainstream notions that primary sources are historical documents housed in hard-to-access archives, this volume showcases archival items that expand our vision of community, self, the past, the future, pedagogical opportunities—and, yes, history.

Issue 2 features work by our consortium project Teaching with Folk Sources, funded by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program. Find here frameworks and detailed lesson plans from Local Learning’s TPS consortium project members and their educator partners, organized as a Curriculum Guide.

Looking for more articles, classroom connections, and the book reviews? Find Volume 10, Issue 1 here.


Teaching with Folk Sources Project Introduction

Our participation in the TPS consortium also created opportunities to position folklife materials, what we coin as “folk sources,” as parallel to other primary sources typically used to teach about local history, values, and memory, such as historical documents, maps and photographs.

User Guide to Teaching with Folk Sources

This article includes Classroom Connections
This “walk-through” introduces the instructional model, key concepts, and multiple types of literacy (visual, aural, textual, cultural) that structure the five units of the curriculum guide. A scaffolded activity from the Occupational Folklife Project demonstrates the power of folk sources to create multiple formats for context-building and perspective taking.

Centering Classroom Use for Ethnographic Sources with Folk Sources CMS

Teaching with Folk Sources, Unit 1
Discover Folksources.org, a new online platform that hosts Teaching with Primary Sources ethnographic materials and primary source sets. The authors showcase the “curation process in action” through short videos and text to inspire educators to identify folk sources from their own communities.

Gateways to Folklife and Oral History Sources

Learning Through Listening, Unit 2
Folklife, a type of inquiry that focuses on “ways of life” as its central lens, is constantly changing. Rather than focus on cultural loss or salvaging, folklife inquiry is more powerful when it is positioned to offer insights about human experience through the sharing of personal lived histories in safe and supportive environments.

Thinking Geographically with Museum Collections

Learning Through Observation and Museum Collections, Unit 3
Stories offer opportunities to challenge stereotypes and prejudices, to find common ground, or to step into the life of someone with a completely different lived experience. This article discusses the power of first-person narratives for building empathy and bridges of understanding, particularly in approaching the topic of migration and immigration. Connecting in this way, on a person-to-person level, allows people to find their shared humanity and nurture a sense of community.

All About Us: Me and My Community

Community and Identity, Unit 4
This unit reminds us that younger grade levels can also discover, interpret, and represent new learning through primary sources. Starting with themselves, students will build a toolkit that includes listening, observation, compare/contrast, and representation. As they gain insights into their own cultural identities, they will be more ready to engage with difference and other perspectives.

Using Primary Sources to Foster Difficult Dialogues 

Challenging History, Unit 5   
Oral histories from survivors, primary source photographs and news clippings of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre are effective conduits for framing and facilitating difficult dialogues around history, race, class, and culture in the classroom. This article models educator-specific strategies and learning activities that activate listening and critical-thinking skills and prompt students to evaluate their own thinking and biases before entering challenging conversations.

Key Themes in This Issue

Narrative, Identity, History, Archives, Foodways

The Journal of Folklore and Education (ISSN 2573-2072) is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published annually by Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education. JFE publishes work that uses ethnographic approaches to tap the knowledge and life skills of students, their families, community members, and educators in K-12, college, museum, and community education.