Educational CyberPlayGround

Indigenous Folksong Reading Curriculum


The Indigenous Folksong Reading Curriculum and Interdisciplinary Thematic Unit, teach reading and vocabulary development using right brain strategies.

* right brain teaching strategies
* teach reading using right brain
* right brain strategies for teaching reading and vocabulary developement

Listen and find the music of the text (speech)

Through the music find the rhythm

Through the rhythm you will understand the meaning of the words . . .



The Educational CyberPlayGround created this site to provide all the hard science that proves why this simple successful approach works.

Original Research 1977


2010 Research Confirmed Original Findings

"The Roman Rule: The one who says it cannot be done
should never interrupt the one who is doing it."

METHOD: National Children's Folksong Repository NCFR

The Indigenous Folksong Reading Curriculum and Interdisciplinary Thematic Unit, teach reading and vocabulary development using right brain strategies. Integrate, Literacy Music and Technology into the classroom. Use the technology to collect Children's poety, nursery rhymes, clap pattern chants and songs, playground game songs then have the kids add them to the NCFR database. Use this content in a reading curriculum that will raise students grade level by years in just a few months

Indigenous Folksong Reading Curriculum builds a bridge from the Dialect to the Standard
The teacher collects the children's playground game chants and songs and uses this material for reading, writing and spelling.

50% of all children are Right Brain dominant.
Teach to their strength!!

* Right Brain READING / Spelling

(Train your child's photographic memory capability while teaching spelling at the same time!! End of year spelling scores are dramatically increased.)

  • Use your child's eyes, hands, hands and music to access his visual hemisphere
  • No workbook practice necessary

* Right Brain READING / Phonics (great for "word guessers")
This method of teaching reading builds a student's word bank faster than any other method, leading to 2 years gain in reading level for almost all students). For children who can remember the phonemes, but can't sound out a long word. Or, for the child who can't remember the sounds of the letters, to start sounding out words.

1) Learn About the Oral Tradition and using Technology in the classroom.

2) The Oral Tradition and the New CyberPlayground ©1997 PDF
Kennedy Center of Performing Arts 1ST online conference on Music and Technology in the Classroom.

Teachers can facilitate learning environments and learning events that lead to the eventual use of higher order thinking and the very very important assimilation and ability to transfer those skills out of the initial learning environment, but knowledge must precede application which precedes all important higher level thinking skills. Learn about About Folklife




This is a Quick Test to determine whether you are a L-Brain Dominant or R-Brain Dominant learner.

How It Works:
If you see her spin clockwise then you are suing your right brain, if you see her spin counter clockwise then you are using your left brain, however if you see both then you are considered really smart and have a high I.Q [song Buffolo Soldier Bob Marley]


Test Your Brain is a show about how the brain works.
Filmed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison featuring Dutch professor Bas Rokers who's working on motion perception and depth perception. Up to 20% of all people have problems with properly perceiving 3D images.



Who are Dialect Speakers and what is this about?

What difficulties are unique to Dialect Speakers?

Literacy Statistics

Writing Local: One Outcome of Ethnography in Theorizing Literacy By Miriam Camita, Ph.D.Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

The concept of the 'local' has long been important to education theory and practice; for example, in multicultural and bilingual education, and in ethnographic interventionist studies that seek to apply ethnographic research to answer questions about minority students' school failure. In these instances, local is contrasted with dominant or institutional; its official incorporation into pedagogy and curriculum as a valid source of knowledge is considered democratic, and is also thought to facilitate accessibility to mainstream or dominant knowledge and expertise.
Lately, the term 'local' figures prominently in the New Literacy Studies, a field that is theoretically obligated to the notion that the meaning of literacy is situated, or contextualized, and therefore varies according to its context. To reach this conclusion, the NLS builds on older Literacy Studies research utilizing ethnography to describe the specific iteration of literacy in various cultural contexts. Herein lies a basic connection between the methods and theories of folklore with education via Literacy Studies.
Ethnographic theory and method restructured education research at the Graduate School of Education at Penn, thanks to Dell Hymes, who, as dean of that school in the 1980s, helped make ethnography part of the school's culture. Building upon Hymes' work of the two prior decades, John Szwed contended that efforts to teach reading and writing in schools often fail because those who teach and develop curriculum have little idea what reading and writing really mean to people in their everyday lives. At the time, Szwed, as well as Keith Basso, joined the emerging field of Literacy Studies in recommending ethnography in researching the everyday use of writing, suggesting that understanding its value, use, and function would improve educational outcomes.
Their interest in the everyday uses of reading and writing and in the field of education signaled a change in the theoretical underpinnings of Folklore as well as Literacy Studies. At the time, folklorists were only beginning to question the concept of orality (inspired by Ruth Finnegan's Oral Poetry). Rhetoricians, at the other end, were tied to the static notion of essayist literacy. Standing between these two poles, Literacy Studies shifted the site of research from the classroom to what has been generally known as the community, and redefined literacy as a contextually contingent phenomenon, most aptly described by qualitative research and ethnography in particular.
Through ethnographic studies of literacy in specific contexts, Literacy Studies provided the evidence that literacy is defined by its context, and therefore varies according to that context. The very use of ethnography in studying literacy provided the data to theorize the nature of literacy.
Like many folklorists working in the field of education, I have used the methods of ethnography -- interviewing, observation, and documentation -- in community history and service projects in middle and high school, but I have found it most useful in the topic that most interests me in the field of education -- the study of writing.
My interest dates to Szwed's foundational article, “The Ethnography of Literacy.” Working with an anthropologist and sociolinguist, who were conducting an ethnographic literacy study at the high school where I then taught English, I observed that students in my classes were doing much of what has been described as writing under the desk. It surprised me to learn that apathetic and unmotivated students were writing letters, poems, songs and raps, prayers, novels and plays, satires, constructing popular opinion surveys, creating flyers advertising events and comic books, and using writing to document and collect traditional jokes and rhymes. These days we could add texting, IM-ing, blogging, and fanfic to the repertoire of written practices and genres that I noticed. It surprised me even more when I realized that their self-sponsored writing was the kind of cultural behavior and expression that folklorists study. This idea informed my dissertation research and has been the core premise of the class I have taught for over twenty years at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
The NLS and my own work rub up against the usual biases against words like local or community. Knowledge in the public domain is considered to be non-expert, provincial, and lacking in essential standards. Yet there is a compelling body of research that suggests alternative pedagogies for the teaching of writing, pedagogies located in the context of community use. I am thinking here of Judy Kalman's study of scribal training in Mexico City, Jonathan Willinsky's history of dame schools in 19th century England, and Shirley Brice Heath's ethnohistory of 19th century American writing. The pedagogies described in these works closely resemble those that Rita Moonsammy wrote about and that I documented in interviews with folk artists about how they learned their craft. In each of these instances, whether the practices are writing or paper cutting, observation, imitation, practice, and innovation are some of the key components of a folk pedagogy and one that I suggest adopting in writing curricula.
Educators define a composing process in which editing and revising are often at the end of the process and involve the author and her text. When I observed and interviewed students about composing, it was clear that revising and editing occurred during and not at the end of the writing process and often in the context of oral performance. In this sense, I describe revising in performance rather than composing in performance. Richard Bauman in describing the way storytellers vary their stories according to audience input, provides evidence for the notion of revising instead of composing in performance.
The how to in the class is accomplished through scaffolded ethnographic exercises culminating in a final paper in which students are asked to describe and analyze a writing practice using the Hymes' SPEAKING paradigm and suggesting potential applications of their findings to classroom practice. Over the years, students have written about lists, letters, emails, texts, daybooks, notational systems, autograph and yearbooks, and memory jars. For me the most valuable part of the exercise are their insights into their personal writing practices and composing processes. This is not unlike the exercises described in which teachers are asked to identify their own cultures and backgrounds as a way of sensitizing them to the reality of their students' cultures.
In the field of education, the application of local iterations of a writing process to classroom pedagogy that links processes to specific genres like the essay could radically change the way writing is taught. As I suggest through our reading of Hymes, ethnography could be the key to identifying and understanding the kinds of innovations that could improve educational outcomes, especially writing instruction.


Anyway you approach it, the learner almost always develops both a knowledge base of skills and/or concepts along with the ability to make critical and/or creative decisions about the uses of those skills/concepts when the learning is student-centered and constructivist based.

Introduction to and Definition of Cross Curricular Thematic Reading Instruction.
Lean why this kind of reading instruction works with all students and especially dialect speakers.

Motivation and Dialect Speakers PDF

How To Build a Thematic Reading Unit PDF





Do you speak standard english? Do you speak Spanish? Do you also speak a dialect? Can you define dialect, pidgin, creole, patwa, aave, ebonics?

Learn from Linguistics Expert Dr. John Rickford


by Karen Ellis

Book & Cassette

Cross Curricular, Interdisciplinary, Multi-Cultural Resource
60 Traditional Children's Songs, Proverbs, and Culture From the American Virgin Islands
45 minute Live Sound Field Recording
A books can be produced after completing the reading module.

Help children develop the use of technology as a tool for learning and for use in all sorts of career related ways in the real world, by teaching "skills" with a learner-centered constructivist approach.

Skills are important, and you ARE helping your students develop them if you are providing learner-centered / constructivist events, and hands-on (experiential), facilitated discovery.

Notice the use of syllables, rhythm, cadence chanting (poetry read outloud) "The Cat in the Hat" become a central character in the American literary mythology. It came at a time when children's literature was largely dominated by Aesop's fables and other stories with explicit morals -- lessons that the cat flouts with zeal. The particular endurance of Cat, many critics say, is owed partly to its origins in an emerging philosophy of phonetic learning. Most of the 236 individual words in the book were taken from a list of beginner words for new readers, and only a few are more than one syllable. The "anapestic" meter -- two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable -- marks out a cadence that is easy for young readers to grasp. "When you're reading aloud, you can just feel what's supposed to come next," says Joyce Herbeck, an education professor at Montana State University. "It makes them feel like readers right away."

Teaching folklore when we are not teaching folklore

Linda Deafenbaugh
Univ of Pittsburgh
My presentation on Teaching folklore when we are not teaching folklore focuses upon comparing the two types of audiences of educators that I instruct and discussing the types of courses that I teach to meet their very different needs.

My presentation is organized into four quadrants with the big blue F dividing them. The top row contains the two types of educators taking my courses, the bottom row contains selected courses I teach to either the left or right side's audience. You can either manually advance through the slides or set it to automatically forward. You always have the option of manually zooming in on any section of the presentation by clicking directly on the presentation. Let us begin.

I teach two very different types of courses based upon the very different needs of two groups of educators. One group of educators (upper left quadrant) consists of graduate students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees in a variety of subfields within the School of Education (SOE) at the University of Pittsburgh. Graduate students in all the SOE departments need to understand culture and how it works as well as its many interrelationships with education. Culture impacts schools, teaching, learning and learners. Cultural issues and dynamics impact the research these students will undertake as part of their degree programs. Culture will be a force to contend with in their future work in schools and communities. Since many of these students are already working in schools, they tend to bring rich experiences to their learning in these courses.

The other group of educators (upper right quadrant) consists of in-service teachers who are taking courses through Pennsylvania's intermediate unit system to renew or keep their teaching certificates current. Classroom teachers' needs focus on their teaching practice. They need to enhance their understanding of instructional methods to reach and engage each student in ways that have meaning. Teachers also want to understand the subject content better so they can better design ways to increase the cultural knowledge of their students. Teachers teach in culture rich environments and could seize any number of naturally occurring cultural situations in their schools and communities to use as content for instruction. But this is challenging. If teachers do not feel expert enough in understanding cultural processes, they will not have the comfort level needed to capitalize on the teachable moments surrounding them.

Let us look at specific courses I teach for each group. First are two courses I teach for education graduate students. Anthropology of Education (lower left quadrant) is a basic area of education course that concentrates on learning and culture. Units in this course are recognizable folklore topics, and I utilize a great deal of educational technology to teach the course. I use experiential teaching methods to engage the students in exploring culture in their own lives and in educational settings. Folklore's conceptualization about folk-popular-elite cultural processes has proven to be an effective framework to situate the cultural content we cover in the units. The screen captures shown are pages from the course's wiki on school culture that the students created based upon field observations of these cultural processes in the schools they work at or their children attend. Besides collecting and representing cultural information on a particular school as a case study through linked wiki pages, the students also did comparative analysis. They analyzed the cultural practices of two or more schools in light of the concepts of culture and learning covered in the course and used these analysis pages (not pictured since just pages of text) to knit together the case studies in the wiki.

The second course I highlight here is a research methodology class call Field Methods that taught qualitative and ethnographic research methods. Students investigated educational environments they participated in, and they grappled with the inherent challenges in this research method. We looked at the many ways to approach the study of culture, and each student selected one to study. The wiki was a repository for their data. The analysis served as a way to keep each individual's learning visible to the entire class so together students learned more about the methods than the limits of time would allow any individual to experience.

Though I have taught many face-to-face courses on folklore topics for in-service teachers, here I am going to highlight just one course (lower right hand quadrant) Teaching Culture: What's the Big Idea? This is a hybrid course I have recently designed that contains both on-line and face-to-face instruction. The content of the course is structured around selected big ideas of culture. Using the big ideas of a discipline is a concept teachers commonly work with to structure their teaching and align lessons for meaning and depth. The teaching method I use for this course is called the learning cycle -- a method of experiential learning that is used in science education. The learning cycle mirrors, and so teaches, the research process used by researchers in the study of culture just as it does for scientists in other science content areas. In the course, teachers experience the process of engaging and exploring cultural dynamics that are related to each big idea. They then generate their own explanations before canonical explanations of the field are introduced. This experiential method of meaning-making honors those studying and the data they are studying in ways that allow for the multiple perspectives of lay and expert knowledge to be explored together.

Children's Poetry / Playground Chants, and Songs
are little visual /visceral / aural / oral stories. ~ Karen Ellis

From Folklife Specialist to Workshop Coordinator By Gregory Hansen


Second, folklorists are becoming more interested in vernacular theory. Feedback interviews, as practiced by folklorists like Henry Glassie, and the “oral literary criticism” of Alan Dundes, involve ways to discover and articulate how the folk artists, themselves, think about their traditional activities. We can further take this approach by using what Elaine Lawless terms “reciprocal ethnography” to focus on specific elements relevant to teaching and learning so that we are bringing the voice of the folk artists and performers, themselves, into the discourse.

I've found in working with Folklife in Education Programs that the artists do have interesting ideas about education. One of the most eloquent of the musicians and storytellers was Richard Seaman. When I asked him about how he thought of his role as a fiddler and storyteller in the classroom, he explained that children catch on to new ideas quickly, especially if given vivid word picture. He gives his view of education in a chapter on folklore and education in A Florida Fiddler: The Life and Times of Richard Seaman, where he emphasizes the importance of vivid descriptions and storytelling in teaching.

If a child is paying attention to what it's all about, he can't help but wonder. It comes to the mind of a lot of them. If you can tell a child something clear enough that he has a picture of it, then he's got it.

To explore fully his perspectives on teaching, and the centrality of storytelling, would again be beyond the scope of this session. But what Mr. Seaman is describing is exactly in line with systems and theories of rhetoric, and this example was central to the 18th century rhetorician George Campbell's theory of vividness within his discourse on language. As folklorists, we have argued for the importance of listening to the vernacular, but I think we also need to share what we are hearing within a wider discourse of education. The storytellers, themselves, should be seen as contributors to educational theory, and folklorists are well positioned to bring their perspectives into pedagogy.