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«Paddy Bowman Betty Carter Alan Govenar Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide Published by Documentary Arts, Inc. Supported in part by National ...»

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Masters of Traditional Arts

Education Guide

Paddy Bowman

Betty Carter

Alan Govenar

Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide

Published by Documentary Arts, Inc.

Supported in part by

National Endowment for the Arts

Pennsylvania Council for the Arts

City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs

Ohio Arts Council

Photographs by Alan Govenar

Education Guide designed by Katy Parker

Copyright © 2011 by Documentary Arts, Inc.



The National Heritage Fellowship Meeting Education Standards Opportunities for Learning Tools for Learning Educators’ Suggested Applications Overarching Student Activities Mini-Lessons Decoding Different Media Studying Photographs Reading Artist Profiles Listening to Audio Viewing Video Comparing Media Creating Multimedia Presentations Unit 1. Sense of Place Cultural Insiders and Outsiders Sensing Place through the Five Senses Finding Clues to Sense of Place Sample Sense-of-Place Chart Unit 2. Sense of Wonder Indigenous Teachers Genres Music and Dance Crafts and Material Culture Unit 3. Sense of Discovery Fieldwork Collecting and Organizing Mapping Culminating Projects Resources Printable Student Handouts Photo Analysis Artist Bio Notes Video Analysis Listening Log ~ Musical Elements Listening Log ~ Audio Profile Artifact Analysis Exploring Sense of Place Vocabulary Fieldwork Rubric Portfolio Rubric Interview Form Release Forms Defining Folklore Folklore in Education Bibliography Folklore in Education Webography Folkstreams Films about Heritage Fellows Suggested Student Readings Preface Teachers across the country face mounting pressure to help students achieve state and national standards. With expectations continually increasing, these teachers are searching for strategies that incorporate new curriculum standards in creative, meaningful and purposeful ways. As I listen to requests from teachers and librarians in my district and throughout the nation, I hear them ask for materials that help accomplish these goals. While the curriculum ― the what ― is set by local, state and national standards, the delivery ― the how ― is left to the classroom teacher. For our educational system to work, it is vital to teach content with a thematic approach that employs authentic material designed to excite and tostimulate the student. The Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide is a dynamic interdisciplinary tool for just such an approach.

This pioneering multimedia guide engages students in active learning in two vital ways. Not only do students meet diverse real people telling their stories, performing their music and demonstrating their richly varied crafts, they also explore the traditions and cultural heritage of their own families and communities through easily adaptable activities and lessons that teach important literacy skills. The most effective learning occurs when students develop an in-depth understanding of knowledge that they can use in school and in life. To develop this kind of understanding, learners must extend and refine the knowledge that they initially acquire in a way that helps them to make new connections, discover or rediscover meanings, gain insights and clarify misconceptions. The Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide lays out the process for such meaningful instruction by offering creative methodologies and multi-layered, authentic content in several media forms.

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Caroline Kienzle Director of Library and Media Services Irving Independent School District, Irving, Texas 2000 ALA National School Library Media Program of the Year The National Heritage Fellowship Masters of Traditional Arts is a journey across America through the lives of people whose creativity is rooted in a deep sense of cultural identity. Each is a recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship, presented annually since 1982 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to recognize the excellence of individual artists and the ongoing ingenuity of different cultural styles.

National Heritage Fellows often owe their diverse talents to the generations of artists who have preceded them. They live in every region of America ― whether in urban neighborhoods or sprawling suburbs or along back country roads ― and are dedicated to creating time-honored art forms, including, but not limited to, music, dance, crafts and spoken word traditions. The folk and traditional arts are cultural expressions and skills that are often learned informally by word-ofmouth and customary example. By definition, they are inevitably both old and new; they may embody the values of the past but are nonetheless innovative in the ways that they adapt to present-day concerns. The folk and traditional arts are constantly evolving through the ways in which they are made and performed.

Many folk and traditional artists are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. While some Heritage Fellows have earned their livelihood from their mastery of traditional art forms, most have not. Often they practice and master their art forms in their free time or, perhaps, they return to art forms they learned as a child but are only able to master as an adult or in retirement.

Overall, their commitment is defined more by the intrinsic meaning of what they make than by the possibilities of financial success. They are people who pursue excellence and understand the deep value of family and community.

Meeting Education Standards Many students complete the primary school years knowing how to read; solve arithmetic problems; and write letters, stories and descriptive paragraphs. As they grow older, these students need to master more complex skills to function effectively in society. In state after state, educational test results for 4th, 8th and 10th graders show that they do not automatically do so.

Across the nation, these older students perform below expected norms when asked to read and understand expository material, categorize information, organize material in non-narrative formats such as charts and graphs and comprehend implied content. Students will become proficient at these tasks when two circumstances occur. First, they must have access to materials strongly grounded in contemporary society or the natural world that challenge them to think about and question themselves and their surroundings. Second, through these materials, teachers must introduce appropriate processes that help students make meaning from the information that they encounter.

The wealth of information and variety of media employed in the Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide and DVD-ROM give students opportunities to interact with real people telling their own stories in their own voices. Some come from cultures similar to the students’ own;

others live in circumstances never even imagined by readers. Some masters of traditional arts engage in activities, such as pottery or instrument production, already of great interest to young people. Others introduce students to new ways of expressing themselves, from weaving to creating extravagant costumes, which can open up a myriad of possibilities for self-expression.

The artists’ lives and work have built part of the society in which students live and thus provide the stimuli that challenge students to examine and question both themselves and their world. This guide gives educators suggestions for introducing appropriate activities that will help students as they work toward a rich understanding of these materials and practice the kinds of skills that lead to sophisticated ways of thinking and problem solving.

The Masters of Traditional Arts DVD-ROM that accompanies the Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide provides written artist bios of each of the National Heritage Fellows; formal and informal photographs; audio profiles; interview excerpts; and music samples and video segments.

Many audio profiles were originally edited as radio features and broadcast on radio stations across the country. Many video segments were edited from the documentation of the National Heritage Fellowship Concerts held annually in Washington, D.C., while others were edited from fulllength documentaries. Overall, the various media give students opportunities not only to discover fascinating individuals but also to engage in the kinds of decoding, reading and informationseeking behavior that they will encounter outside the classroom.

The Masters of Traditional Arts DVD-ROM offers primary source material, and students, in turn, must evaluate what they see and hear, frequently without an intermediary to offer a secondary source summation. At a time when information is proliferating at an exponential rate, learning cannot be confined to a single source. Students must sift through facts, evaluate those facts, bring some kind of order to disparate pieces of information and, finally, create their own meaning. The more complex the stimulus materials, the more varied the educational objectives can be and the greater the number of content areas that can be addressed.

This guide includes a wide variety of suggestions adaptable for 4th through 12th grade students and across academic disciplines. Opportunities for Learning charts content and skills that the guide addresses in six discipline areas. Tools for Learning shares overarching activities and minilessons that teachers and librarians designed to reinforce higher-order reading and thinking skills and provide ways to use these rich multimedia resources more extensively in any educational setting. This section also includes exercises on decoding different media as a means of improving literacy. Three units ― Sense of Place, Sense of Wonder and Sense of Discovery ― offer ways to use the materials in the guide as separate curriculum components or integrated lessons.

Resources include printable student handouts, annotated bibliographies of folklore in education publications and web sites and related student readings, both fiction and nonfiction.

Norma Miller Opportunities for Learning   By getting to know a diverse array of traditional artists and art forms in the Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide, young people and adults alike can think more about themselves and their own traditions. In addition to introducing important and vital music, crafts, stories and people from all over the United States and the world, this guide deliberately asks, “What do you know about your sense of place? Who are masters of tradition in your community? How can you discover more about your traditions as well as those of other cultural groups in your community?” Folklorists find that by first examining our own cultural heritage, we can lessen bias as we recognize that, although another cultural group may appear exotic or hard to understand, all cultural groups share common ways of life that call for ritual, celebration, custom, music, crafts, dance, food, stories and special language—in other words, folklore.

The content and varied formats of the Masters of Traditional Arts Education Guide and its companion interactive DVD-ROM provide a written artist profile; audio profile, interview or music sample; a video segment; and formal and informal photographs for each of 26 National Heritage Fellows listed below. These 26 artists represent the scope and diversity of the 377artists and art forms that students can discover in the Masters of Traditional Arts DVD-ROM. The many interdisciplinary curriculum suggestions in this guide are adaptable for any of the other artists.

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Teachers and librarians may use these materials as a stand-alone curriculum or in conjunction with specific subject areas to teach and reinforce a variety of skills and concepts. A sample of the scope available to educators is listed below.


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Whenever people are very good at something, they seem to do it effortlessly. Masters of a traditional art form may have a particular talent, but they have also practiced long and hard. They spend countless hours observing and learning from someone in their family or community, then practicing repeatedly on their own. Not only do they replicate skills or products, they also create.

Each time they tell a story, play a tune or make a basket, they have an opportunity to change, add or delete an element. Traditions are not frozen in time but are alive and part of an ongoing process. To be a master is to be creative.

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