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300 CHAPTER 9 Suggestions for Activities and Projects The best part of learning about folklore is getting involved in a project and discovering firsthand what folklore is and how it works. The following suggested activities cover introductions to topics, methods, library research, and fieldwork and can easily be built into longer, in-depth writing and research projects. There are five categories of activities here: Group and Classroom Activities Personal Reflection Library Research Fieldwork Projects Integrated Projects (these combine reflection, library research, and fieldwork) Some of the activities within the different categories are similar to each other, but they are presented with different approaches or goals in mind. For instance, in the“Group and Classroom Activities”category, we suggest you write about a familiar object in order to practice detailed observation and description skills. In the“Personal Reflection”category, we again ask you to write about an object, but this time in a more reflective essay, in order to interpret how the object conveys group identity. You might do some of the activities as separate, discrete assignments, use them as launching pads for longer projects, or do some brainstorming at the beginning of the course and determine a direction for an extended, integrated project that you work on throughout the term. In any case, we hope these suggestions get you thinking about the countless possibilities for folklore study. 301 Suggestions for Activities and Projects Group and Classroom Activities The following suggested activities are designed to help you start experiencing and thinking about folklore with your peers and fellow students. These activities will work within the classroom with groups of fellow students or can be done on your own outside the class with friends or family members. They easily lend themselves to in-class discussion and presentation of your observations. 1. Get together with friends, family members, or classmates and share some contemporary legends you have heard. While the group talks, jot down a few notes about the topics and types of stories those present tell. For example, you might think about whether tellers and/or listeners express belief in the events of the stories or note how people begin and end the narratives. Share your observations with others in your class. You might also write a short report on what you heard and learned. If others in the group have been doing the same activity, share how your observations and notes differ from and are similar to theirs. Note: You might also share belief behaviors (superstitions), family holiday traditions, and so forth, rather than contemporary legends. 2. With at least one other classmate or friend, go to a public place like a coffee shop, mall, or park. Sit or stand a few yards from each other. For about fifteen minutes, note everything going on around you. When you have finished, get together with your friends or classmates and share your observations. How are they similar and different ? What might account for the similarities and differences? 3. Tape a conversation between yourself and one or two other people; you may also tape a performance such as a series of songs or stories , including audience reactions. The tape should be about a half hour long. Later, transcribe the entire tape, taking care to identify speakers and to note any sounds or other interferences that could affect a reader’s understanding of the transcribed event. Share your transcript with fellow students and talk about your taping and transcribing experiences. What did you learn that will be helpful when doing fieldwork in the future? 4. Write a detailed description of a familiar object or artifact. Provide a physical description and tell as much as you know about the creation ,use,and/or significance of the object—but do not reveal what LIVING FOLKLORE 302 the object is. Share your description with others. Can they discover what the object is? Can they sketch it? Can you identify the objects others describe? Another activity might be to have one person in your group, or perhaps your instructor, bring an unusual or unfamiliar object to class. Each person would then write a description and talk about possible contexts in which this object might have been created and/or used. 5. Locate an article that surprises you in a folklore journal—that is, it is about a topic you might not have imagined being in a folklore journal, or being folklore at all. Read the article, then take a copy to class with you and talk about what surprised...


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