Hmong Culture Project Wins Dorothy Howard Prize !

Child in Green Bay tries on a woman's headdress. Photo by MacKenzie

The Madison Children’s Museum, the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, the Wisconsin Arts Board and Randall Elementary School were jointly awarded the Dorothy Howard Folklore and Education Prize from the Folklore and Education Section of the American Folklore Society for their collaborative work, the Hmong Culture Project.

The Folklore and Education Section of the American Folklore Society awards the annual prize during the annual Folklore and Education section meeting during the American Folklore Society conference each October. This year, the conference was held in Salt Lake City, Utah from October 13-16, 2004.

The prize competition is open to all individuals and organizations whose work effectively encourages K-12 educators or students to use or study folklore and folkloristic approaches in all educational environments. Such works include but are not limited to curriculum materials, publications, audio and video recordings, multimedia publications, and exhibits. Work produced in the two calendar years prior to the annual AFS meeting is eligible for consideration.

Submissions are evaluated on the basis of the following criteria questions:
Does the product add significantly to the body of folklore and education literature or resources?
Is the material appropriate for intended age groups and subject focus?
Do the materials have the potential to engage their intended audience fully?

Past winners are:
2003 The Florida Music Train by Laurie Sommers and produced by the Florida Folklife Program’s Bureau of historic Preservation and the Florida Folklore Society.
Honorable Mention to Wisconsin Folks website by the Wisconsin Arts Board, Anne Pryor project director.
And Honorable Mention to the Masters of Traditional Arts DVD by Alan B. Govenar, Andrew Dean, and Daniel Dunnam, and Masters of Traditional Arts Teachers’ Guide by Paddy Bowman.
2002 Discovering Our Delta, by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Jan Rosenberg, project leader. The teacher and student guides are available online.
And Uncle Monday and Other Florida Tales, written by Kristin Congdon with illustrations by Kitty Kitson Petterson.
2001 Traditional Arts of the Oregon Country (1999) by Laura Marcus, and five instructional units posted on the Support for Teachers in Art section of the Oregon Public Education Network website (2000), compiled by Leila Childs.

Thai Vang playing the qeej at an open house held at Kaj Siab House. Photo by Ruth Olson

2000 Louisiana Voices: An Educator's Guide to Exploring our Communities and Traditions, by Paddy Bowman, Sylvia Bienvenu, and Maida Owens.
1999 Brown Girl in the Ring: An Anthology of Song Games from the Eastern Caribbean, by Alan Lomax, J.D. Elder & Bess Lomax Hawes.
1998 CARTS (Cultural Arts Resources for Teachers and Students) website and newsletter, by Amanda Dargan, Gail Matthews-DeNatale & Paddy Bowman.
1997 Standards for Folklife Education: Integrating Language Arts, Social Studies, Arts and Science through Student Traditions and Cultures, Diane Sidener Young, editor.

The prize is named for Dorothy Howard (1902-1996). Howard grew up in the Progressive Era, receiving a teaching degree from the North Texas Normal College (now the University of North Texas) in 1923. During her career as a teacher and principal in Texas, New York, and New Jersey, Howard integrated folklore into her curriculum by having students collect and study playground chants and jingles as a way of introducing them to poetry; research their names and their meanings to study spelling; and write about such traditions as ravioli making to develop their writing skills. Howard's interest in children's folklore and education enabled her to bridge a gap between the Victorian "armchair" study of children's culture with the field based studies we conduct today. In 1938 she received her doctorate in education with a study of games that combined these two styles of study. Her pioneering work shows us that folklore can be used in the curriculum in a way that is rich and meaningful. The Dorothy Howard Prize honors both Howard and those who have followed her lead in folklore and education.

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