FOLKWRITING FINAL REPORT
GEORGIA HUMANITIES COUNCIL GRANT 2000-013G
Original Project Title Connecting Homes, Schools, and Communities: A Collaborative
Teacher Enrichment Project Using Folklife and Writing
Grantee Valdosta State University
Project Director Name Diane W. Howard
Address Valdosta State University
1500 North Patterson Street
Valdosta, Georgia 31698
Approved Budget GHC Grant $12,210.00
“The inclusion of folklife studies in the curriculum is important, not only to help students appreciate the importance of previous societies and cultures, but also to help them recognize the relevance of their culture. Integrating folklife into the curriculum is a perfect opportunity to take a more interdisciplinary approach to education. The students will learn to draw connections, better understand the incredibly diverse nature of society, and gain a better “sense of place.” This “sense of place” seems to be eluding many of the students of today’s generation, and is leading to a lack of identity. The stronger a young person’s identity becomes, the more responsibly that person will function in society” J.M. Chamberlain, Traditions and Treasures: Kentucky Folklife, 1999
This pilot project was a collaboration between the South Georgia Writing Project, the South Georgia Folklife Project (both housed at Valdosta State University), and the Cook County Public School System to enhance writing skills across levels using the humanities discipline of folklife as the subject matter. The project created a teacher-tested, self-contained teaching unit, in workbook format with web-based technology links, which was piloted in Cook County during Fall term 2001. The workbook was developed for elementary, middle school, and high school levels and serves as a model for a multi-genre folklife writing curriculum, especially designed for (rural) Georgia educators, which links the school with community folklife and a sense of place. At the end of the grant period, participating students in Cook County planned and presented a“Celebrating Cook County” event for the community which showcased their work.
If the figure above represents a cumulative total in which one person may be counted several
times, please estimate as accurately as possible the actual number of individuals who attended
the program, and rewrite here. 4,819
September 2001 Adel Kiwanis Club lunch. (19 attendance)
October 2001 Cook County Exchange Club Fair. (200 attendance)
November 2001NCTE Conference Demonstrations. (52 attendance)
November 2001NWP Rural Sites Network Demonstrations. (7 attendance
November 2001 Exhibit Lean-Ox Festival a record crowd of “as many as 5,000 folk.” (5,000 attendance)
January 2002 “Celebrating Cook County” Presentation (500 attendance)
February 2002 Georgia Council of Teachers Conference Presentations. (41 attendance)
SEX EDUCATIONAL LEVEL
Male 40% Elementary 35%
Female 60% High School 50%
AGE College 10%
Under 12 35% Graduate Work 2%
12 – 18 25% Professional/Tech 8%
18 – 25 5%
25 – 35 10% ETHINIC REPRESENTATION
35 –55 20% Causian 55%
55 & up 5% African/Amer. 40%
Most of those who attended the events were adults in Cook County who had children or grandchildren in the schools. Many teachers and administrators attended the events.
The folklorist and the project director were disappointed more teachers did not step forth and pilot the lesson plans that the six teachers wrote in Summer 2001. However, having spent several days a week in the schools September through December, the project director became aware of the workload and difficulties facing the classroom teachers. The September 11 events added to the troubled atmosphere in many of the classrooms.
The local newspaper, The Adel News Tribute, was supportive of the project. The editor, Ann Knight, and the project director have become friends as a result of the project. The Valdosta Daily Times also published several stories. (See attached news articles.)
The project director phoned the offices of the Cook County officials and told them about the project. She was invited to attend two local events where local and state elected officials were honored guests. At this events the project director shared the work and progress of the project with the officials. See attached 10 January 2002 letter to “Friends” also. This letter was mailed to local and state representatives.
Program Events and Sessions:
1st Grade 5
2nd Grade 8
3rd Grade 9
4th Grade 15
5th Grade 5
6th Grade 45
7th Grade 62
8th Grade 90
9th Grade 52
10th Grade 51
11th Grade 48
12th Grade 35
Other Adults 75
Planned events: November 2002—One-day workshop at National Council of Teachers of English
February 2003—two-day workshop at Georgia Council of Teachers of English
AUDIENCES’ EVALUATION OF PROGRAMS
October 2001—Four Cook County Exchange Club Fair exhibits displayed by 1) 37 Elementary School students—first place, 2) 112 Middle School students—third place, 3) 28 High School Students—second place, 4) 2 VSU Faculty Team members were very well received by the members of the community. Local adults were very interested in the project and the students’ writing on display.
November 2001—NCTE Conference Presentations in Baltimore, MD, led by 2 teachers and 2 VSU faculty and attended by 52 teachers. Teachers from throughout the country attended the classroom demonstration and interacted readily with the teacher-presenters. Many teachers asked for copies of the lesson plan book when completed. Several teachers left addresses, etc. for future contacts.
November 2001—NWP Rural Sites Network Demonstrations in Baltimore, MD, led by 2 teachers and 2 VSU faculty and attended by 7 fellow writing project directors and teacher consultants. The low attendance at this session was due to the lateness of the day and conference for National Writing Project. Those who attended were very interested and gave positive evaluations.
November 2001—Exhibit at the Lean-Ox Festival in Lenox, GA, presented by 6 teachers and their students. Adel News Tribune reported the Lean-Ox Festival drew a record crowd of “as many as 5,000 folk.” This event or program was very well attended—much to everyone’s surprise. The parents and members of the community delighted in reading the poems, essays, plays, and memoirs written by the students. The photos in the exhibit were of special interest to a number of adults.
January 2002—Held “Celebrating Cook County” Presentation at Cook Middle School for the grand finale. Eight exhibits with about 250 students writing on display. Presentations or reading given by 15 students with 6 teachers introduces their students. Janice Daugharty spoke and presented a writing award. Presentation (Viewing exhibits and program combined) was attended by 500 students, teachers, administrators, and community members. This program were most successful! Holding our grand finale in conjunction with the Teen Expo and the Folklife Exhibit drew a larger crowd. Many of the people who attended the “Celebrating Cook County” Presentation and visited the exhibits were students and their parents who were not directly part of the lessons and the classes which piloted the lessons. Truly, this final program was a success.
Included in the programs for the project were the following: