FOLKWRITING FINAL REPORT
COUNCIL GRANT 2000-013G
Project Title Connecting
Homes, Schools, and Communities: A Collaborative
Teacher Enrichment Project Using Folklife and Writing
Grantee Valdosta State University
Director Name Diane W. Howard
Address Valdosta State University
1500 North Patterson Street
Valdosta, Georgia 31698
Approved Budget GHC
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
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.
1. Total number in attendance at all session 5,819
the figure above represents a cumulative total in which one person may be
please estimate as accurately as possible the actual number of individuals who
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)
2. Estimate the audience profile with reference to sex,
age, ethic representation and educational level.
40% Elementary 35%
Female 60% High School 50%
25 – 35
10% ETHINIC REPRESENTATION
20% Causian 55%
55 & up
5% African/Amer. 40%
3. Was the audience primarily made up of representatives
of any specialized type of group, such as clubs, civic organizations,
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
4. Briefly evaluate the project’s success in reaching
its target audience. Include your observations concerning reasons for the
success or failure.
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.
- How were the media (newspapers, TV and radio)
involved in the promotion of the program?
If so, how? Which
stations/networks and/or publications were used?
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
- How did you inform your local elected
representatives (federal and state) of your program? Please attach copies of letters sent.
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:
- February 24, 2001—Laurie Sommers, South Georgia
Folklife Director, and Bobbie Warren, South Georgia Writing Project
Co-Director, lead a 6-hour workshop--“What Is Folklife and How Can It Be
the Subject in a Writing Classroom”-- for the Folkwriting Project team of
- February-May—Diane Howard, with the help of
Linda Meadows (local teacher and historian), Bobbie Warren, and Laurie
Sommers, compiled a list of local resources—people, places, and events—for
the teachers in consider in the lesson plans.
Worsham, 1992 Georgia’s
Teacher of the Year. 1992 Milken National Educator Awardee, and 1999 Georgia’s inductee into the
Teacher Hall of Fame, lead a 6-hours workshop for team of 7 teachers and 3
16, 2001—Diane Howard
lead a 6-hour workshop, introducing the format for the lesson plans and
models for lesson plans. Templates
of the lesson plan units were given to the team member—6 teachers and 1
- July 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26,
2001—Advanced Summer Institute was lead by Laurie Sommers and Diane
Howard. Sommers gave demonstrations
for team (6 teachers) to begin fieldwork.
Howard directed the writing of the lesson plans.
- July 27, 30, and 31, 2001—Diane Howard assembled
the first draft of the lesson plan book and worked with the university
print shop to print the books.
8, 2001—Teachers were
given lesson plan books. Teachers
recruited and trained 6 other teachers in their schools to pilot some of
the lesson plans.
- September 2001—Diane Howard was the guest
speaker at the Adel Kiwanis Club lunch with 19 community leaders present.
- September-October, 2001—review of lesson plan
book by three outside sources; revision of lesson plans by teachers.
- 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.
Exhibits viewed by several hundred parents and community members.
- November 2001—NCTE Conference Presentations in Baltimore, MD,
led by 2 teachers and 2 VSU faculty and attended by 52 teachers. (52
- 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. (7 attendance)
- 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.” (5,000 attendance)
- November 2001—Diane Howard taught a writing
lesson for 19 second grade students and a writing lesson for 53 eight
- December 2001—Sponsored Writing Contest for
Friends of Reed Bingham with 39 entries from adults and students.
- January 2002—Diane Howard gave a presentation
for middle school faculty about the Folkwriting Project-- 40 teachers
- January 2002—Held “Celebrating
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.
- February 2002—Georgia Council of Teachers of
English 3 presentations given by 4 of the teachers and Diane Howard. Total teachers attending
presentations: Folkwriting: 11,
Middle School Writing: 7, and High School Writing: 23. (41 attendance)
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.
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
Included in the programs for
the project were the following:
- Sandra Worsham, 1992 Georgia’s Teacher of the Year.
1992 Milken National Educator Awardee, and
inductee into the Teacher Hall of Fame, led a 6-hours workshop.
- Reviewers of lesson plan book
- Helen Bennett, Staff Development Coordinator,
Regional Educational Service Agency (Coastal Plains RESA).
- Alisia Daniels, 1st Grade Teacher at
Elementary School and
Co-Director of Georgia
Southern Writing Project at Georgia Southern University.
- Teresa Hollingsworth, Southern Arts Federation,
- Janice Daughtarty, South Georgia author and
writer-in-residence at Valdosta State University,
presented writing awards to students at the “Celebrating Cook
Presentation. These awarded were for
the writing contest “Memoirs of Reed Bingham State Park.”