To recommend authors and articles for the Local Learning Archive, please contact Also, remember to visit the Journal of Folklore and Education for other relevant scholarship and articles showcasing best practices.

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Folk Arts in the Classroom

“Folk Arts in the Classroom: Changing the Relationship Between Schools and Communities” launched Local Learning in 1993.

The 24-page Local Learning: A Folk Arts Integration Handbook outlines how to incorporate folk arts and folk artists into arts integration programs.

How to Teach Folk Arts to Young People: The Need for Context” by Graeme Chalmers
In a a speech at New York University, Chalmers challenges the practice of “aesthetic scanning” by providing art teachers with ways to teach students the social context in which art is created.

An Accessible Aesthetic” by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
The folk artist is very much like a curator and the community is a living museum. In unpacking this metaphor, Kirshenblatt-Gimblett explores how the folk artist learns various traditions and then teaches adults and children to develop strong ties to their communities and cultural history.

Negotiating Pitfalls and Possibilities” by Deobra Kodish and William Westerman
Kodish outlines the steps taken toward understanding folk art and locating it within communities. She also explores how students come to understand the history, economics, style, culture and traditions of people through folk arts.

Passing it On” by Rita Zorn Moonsammy
Excerpts from the now classic folk arts-in-education book, Passing It On which explores collaborative programs between classroom teachers and folk artists/community educators. We have excerpted four sections that map the New Jersey Main Road School’s sixth grade residency with auctioneer Andrea Licciardello. Licciardello worked with classroom teacher Glenn Christmann to present a study of auctions within a frame of regional socioeconomics.

Excerpted sections include: “The Context—New Jersey, The Garden State,” “The Artist—Andrea (Henry) Licciardello, Auctioneer”, “The School—Main Road School’s Educational Program,” “The Curriculum,” and “Collection Projects & Artifact Documenation (Ideas & Tips)”

Finding Folk Arts in Teachers’ and Students’ Lives” by Diane E. Sidener
How teachers can identify folk groups and incorporate cultural explorations into the classroom learning experience.

Linking Home, Community & Classroom

Using Folklife Studies in Schools, Museums, Libraries and Community Centers” by Susan Eleuterio
Five suggestions for people interested in developing folklore-related educational programs.

How Community Can be Understood and Studied Through Ethnic Contributions” by Susan Eleuterio, Andrea Graham, Gail Mathews-DeNatale, and Rachelle Saltzman
Four folklorists explain the many different types of community and the ways they are built. They also offer tips for exploring personal heritage and identifying communities inside and outside of the classroom.

Families and Diversity” by Margot Hammond
How the Bank Street Family Center uses family photographs to foster understanding about diversity.

Imagine: “Folk Arts: Arts in Everyday Life”
Tips for parents on the best ways to interest children in art, including helping them explore connections between their own life experiences and the artistic processes of others.

Holidays and Schools: Folklore Theory and Educational Practice, or, ‘Where Do We Put the Christmas Tree?‘” by Lucy Long
How an Ohio parent and folklorist successfully engaged the issue of holiday celebrations in schools by integrating community study, family folklore and social studies curricula.

Mining Values in the Montana Heritage Project” by Renee Rasmussen
Through asking her junior English class to investigate an old building that was once a gym, Rasmussen “discovered the joy of using cultural heritage in the classroom.”

Intergenerational Programs

A Community Celebration Of Place” by Laura Caldwell Anderson
A program brings rural Alabama communities together when students interview community elders and get the stories to music.

A patchwork of our lives: Oral History Quilts in Intercultural Education” by Cynthia Cohen
How oral history can help young people develop intercultural and intergenerational competencies.

Among Folk: Using Folklife To Build Partnerships With Students And Their Families” by Sarah Jordahl Reeve
A folklife curriculum bridges the generational gap between students, parents, and grandparents and aids in student’s quest for their own identity.

Migration and Immigration

Capitalizing On Diversity And Immigration” by Carol Franz
How a Virginia elementary school uses the diversity of their students to enrich their learning experience and multicultural understanding.

A Child’s Salute: Iowa Project Honors Newcomers” by Gail Mathews-DeNatale and Rachelle Saltzman
At an Iowa Folklife Teacher Institute, artists and teachers grapple with the meaning of divergent classroom and home experiences of immigrant students.

The Florida Music Train: Moving to the Sunshine State” by Laurie Kay Sommers
Using traditional music as a window into the increasingly diverse migrant population in the United States.

Sculpting the Face of Immigration” by George Zavala
Using art to tell a story of immigration, George Zavala creates works of art with several different 4th grade classes in Woodside, Queens.

Writing Across the Curriculum

That Zora Sure Could Write” by Akua Duku Anoyke, PhD
Looking at the work of Zora Neal Hurston, Anokye examines how oral discourse can be transferred into writing. He argues that Hurston’s work provides a model teaching tool for preserving oral traditions through writing. Also includes a short biography of Hurston.

Folk Culture Inspires Writing Across The Curriculum” by Susan Eleuterio
Two folklife activities that encourage writing across the curriculum: reading cultural objects and fieldwork about Halloween and Day of the Dead.

Writing the Range” by Trish O’Malley
Reflections on the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada by student participants.

Folklife and Writing Projects: “Stepping In and Stepping Out” by Bonnie Sunstein
Students are used to being told what questions to ask and how to answer them. Sunstein explains how using interviewing can change that.

Engaging Diversity

A Teacher Talks About Folk Arts-Driven Educational Reform” by Susanne Nixsdorf
How a rural Pennsylvanian school district taught about diversity and respect for other cultures through a folklife/folk arts program.

Teacher Training

Teacher’s Self-Discovery” by Susan Eleuterio
Teaching teachers acceptance and respect through training that begins with the teacher examining their own culture and then expanding to the cultures of other people. For a similar approach with students, see Engaging Diversity–”A Teacher Talks about Folk Arts-Driven Educational Reform” by Susanne Nixdorf

A Child’s Salute: Iowa’s Project Honors Newcomers” by Gail Matthews-DeNatale and Rachelle Saltzman
Information on how teachers can identify folk groups and then incorporate the exploration of these groups into the classroom learning experience.

Teacher as Teller

Storytelling at the Crossroads” by Nina Jaffe
Teaching storytelling: the power, importance and influence of the storyteller

Sharing Stories with Children” by Susan Micari
A case study of how particular folktales can be used to help children through troubled times, and the tale that Micari used to reach a lonely eight-year-old.

Evaluation and Assessment

Nations in Neighborhoods was evaluated by Wolf-Brown Associates.  An article based on the project, “Some Things in My House Have a Pulse and a Downbeat” The Role of Folk and Traditional Arts Instruction in Supporting Student Learning, was published in Journal for Learning through the Arts, published by e-Scholarship at the University of California.

AFSDennie Palmer Wolf of WolfBrown presented “More Than Measuring” at the 2013 AFS meeting. When Dennie became evaluator of City Clore’s Nations in Neighborhoods program, it began a relationship that would educate everyone in new points of view and language over the four years of this US Dept of Education AEMDD grant. Notes from the presentation are included here for Local Learning visitors.

Learn more about City Lore’s Nations in Neighborhoods program, including case studies/units of study at: