The following letter was sent to elementary
school principals and 4th grade teachers to announce the Dane County Cultural
Tour undertaken by Mark Wagler's class of 4th and 5th graders.
Dear Elementary School Principal,
My 4/5 class in Madison is taking a four-day Dane County
Cultural Tour this March. We want to connect with other classes who are
studying local and Wisconsin history, geography, and culture. Please forward
to, or make hard copies for, all fourth grade teachers in your building.
Dear Fourth Grade Teacher,
From March 4 to 7, my multiage class of 4th and 5th graders
will take a cultural tour of Dane County. Traveling by school bus through
rural areas, villages, and small cities, we will seek out and document
traditional artistic expressions, folklife, occupations, and recreations.
Before and after our big trip, we will take smaller one-day trips in Madison.
We invite your class to join us in any of the following
- visit the web site where we will be posting our photos and written
on "Dane County Cultural Tour;"
- receive occasional email from our class, alerting you that new web
pages have been put up, or telling you of our progress on our tour;
- give us a few suggestions of places we could visit or people we
might interview in your community;
- publish on our web site a page or more of what your class has learned
about your part of Dane County;
- invite us to your community and go with us on a fieldtrip to document
some local tradition.
Details about our trip, and our possible collaboration,
are given below. Feel free to contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or call me at school (608.204.3300) or home (608.258.8833).
We'll be delighted to hear from you!
Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher
Randall Elementary School
DANE COUNTY CULTURAL TOUR
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY?
What should we know about your part of Dane County? When
we take our trip, who and what should we see in your community?
WHAT OUR CLASS IS LOOKING FOR
We are looking for different forms of local, community-based
culture, especially things passed on in families and among neighbors,
and especially things that are still actively practiced today!
- Do you know people in your town who still know traditional arts
or crafts (any good quilters, wood carvers, rug weavers, storytellers,
cooks, etc.)? Does anyone play music or sing songs that they learned
from family or other community members?
- What are the important occupations in your area? Of those, which
are the ones that may have been passed down in the family or learned
in part from other community members (farming, cheesemaking, butchering,
auctioneering)? Which occupations are part of the tradition and history
of your community (railroad, tobacco, mining)?
- Do you have traditional recreations that are special to your town,
activities related to your natural resources (hunting, fishing, skiing),
or games associated with ethnic groups or local interest (Sheepshead,
euchre, duckpin bowling, tractor pulls)? Do you have any homemade
toys or parlor games?
- Are there special celebrations in your town (school or church festivals,
hunting dinners, fishing contests)? Special places that your community
or family has stories about? Are there certain foods that are important
in your area?
TENTATIVE ITINERARY FOR OUR MARCH TOUR
We are currently developing our itinerary. Your suggestions
might bring us to your town!
- Monday, March 4, NW Dane County, from Mazomanie to De Forest where
we'll spend the night;
- Tuesday, March 5, NE Dane County, villages and cities such as Sun
Prairie, Marshall, Cottage Grove, and Deerfield where we'll spend
- Wednesday, March 6, SE Dane County, villages and cities such as
Rockdale, Stoughton, Brooklyn, Paoli, and Belleville;
- Thursday, March 7, SW Dane County, with Mt. Horeb, Blue Mounds,
and Black Earth.
MADISON ONE-DAY TRIPS & CLASSROOM GUESTS
- We have already taken a weekend trip with our parents to neighboring
Iowa County where we visited a dairy farm and danced at Folklore Village;
- We documented vendors at the Wednesday Dane County Farmers' Market;
- We observed and heard about Hmong foodways, needlework, music, and
traditional healing practices and ceremonies at the Bayview Community
- We intend to take a few more trips to document diverse Madison cultures--and
invite guests from throughout the county to be interviewed in our
VIEWING OUR WEB SITE
Within a few days, our first web pages will be up--a short
description of our project, and photos and descriptions of potholders
made by each student in our class using visual symbols to represent our
Keep coming back to see additional pages as they become
ready: the Farmers' Market, Hmong traditions at Bayview Community Center,
and of course the pages we create on our 4-day trip. Send us your email
address and we'll let you know each time a new section is put up on the
Learn more about Wisconsin folk artists at the "Wisconsin
Folks" website (go to www.arts.state.wi.us and click on the "Wisconsin
Folks" icon). Some of the musicians and crafts people on this site
live in Dane County. The project director of "Wisconsin Folks",
Anne Pryor, Folk Arts Education Specialist at the Wisconsin Arts Board,
is also a consultant for our Dane County Cultural Tour.
MAKING WEB PAGES TO POST ON OUR SITE
Does your class want to write a few pages or take some photos
about culture in your local community? Would you enjoy seeing this work
up on the web? Ruth Olson, Associate Director of the Center for the Study
of Upper Midwestern Cultures, is coordinating our web site which is posted
on their server. If you want the Center to put your work up with ours--you
don't have to design your web pages!--follow these basic guidelines:
- Focus on local, community-based culture, especially things passed
on in families and among neighbors, and especially things that are
still actively practiced today;
- Write to Ruth (email@example.com),
or call her at 262-8180, about your project;
- Have a parent or other volunteer keyboard the student writing and
submit the digitized materials to Ruth on a disk or as an email attachment;
- You may either send in digitized images (jpegs), or photo prints,
or slides--the Center can scan your images for you if you don't have
access to a scanner;
- Ask Ruth for release forms that need to be signed by students and
also by adults who are interviewed (this allows us to put things on
the web for educational purposes). The Center is sensitive to privacy
concerns; students will be identified by first name only, or if you
prefer, not at all.
Market (Madison, Wisconsin)
Bayview Apartments (Madison, Wisconsin)
Folklore Village (Dodgeville, Wisconsin)
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