Each chapter in this book is preceded by a detailed table of contents and a brief chapter overview.  The book is divided into two sections. Section 1 has five chapters written or compiled by co-editors Diane Howard and Laurie Kay Sommers. It includes background to the project, discussion of the appropriateness of folklife in teaching writing, and background for teachers (including classroom activities) on folklife and fieldwork. Section 2 includes six chapters written by Cook County (Georgia) educators. Each chapter is divided into units titled My Places (students write about their own experience), Their Places (students do an interview and write about traditions of others), and Our Places (students write about shared community traditions and places). The units contain classroom-ready lesson plans organized as follows:  a chapter overview, a “blue box” summary with suggested grade levels, curriculum areas, time required, purpose of lesson, and Georgia Quality Core Curriculum Standards met; background information for teachers; activities; worksheets; performance standards; rubrics for assessment; resources; and notes for teachers.


Each unit is written for the specific level indicated; however, the “Notes for Teachers” section includes extensions and suggestions on how to adapt lessons to other grade levels.


 Standards in the classroom for performance and assessment are addressed in each lesson; rubrics for assessment are in a basic format, allowing teachers to add more specific levels of proficiency. The State of Georgia’s Quality Core Curriculum Standards are most complete and detailed, whereas performance standards developed by the P-16 Initiative, in which Valdosta State University and Cook County Schools are participants, are broader and more focused on the performance tasks and in assessment standards matching the performance standards.  Therefore, the lessons in the book attempt to present both QCCs and performance standards (the P-16 Initiative). Folkwriting uses performance standards for language arts developed in Cook County (Georgia).


 Although Diane Howard was the project director on record, Laurie Sommers shared the leadership role equally, working closely with the humanities content of the lessons. The six teachers from Cook County Schools wrote the original drafts for lesson plans and piloted those lessons.  The lessons that appear in this book reflect considerable editing and revising by Laurie Sommers and Diane Howard; hence, the particular versions printed in this workbook were not necessarily piloted in the classroom prior to publication.