Promoting American understanding of Russian folklore and traditional Russian life and culture.
Russian Folklore In the American Classsroom
Curriculum Materials Developed for the Russian/American Educators' Exchange
The curriculum materials below are designed for middle-to-high school students. They represent a wide range of subjects, but all include elements drawn from Russian folklore. They were created by American teachers as part of the Russian/American Educators' Exchange and are made available here as part of the AFRF mission to promote American understanding of Russian traditional culture.
The Russian/American Educators' Exchange ended in 2015, but the curriculum materials below are as useful and timely as ever.
All materials are freely available under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Folk And Fairy Tales of Russia: Reflections of Elements that Define a Culture. Lou Kindschi Target audience: 11th and 12th grade. Goal: Consider the role that oral and written traditions play in the definition of Russian culture.
After viewing and reading about folk foods of Western Russia, students identify and discuss folk and foraged foods in their own region, with an eye towards understanding the role of food systems in folk tradition.
Working from a Prezi presentation of narrative and photographs, students describe and consider the significance of various parts of a traditional Russian woman's dress. Addresses flax production, embroidery, plaited-bark shoes, hand-built looms, and the social and economic meanings embedded in traditional costume.
Students will gain an understanding of Cossack history and culture through reading a background text. They then read and compare two stories employing the "Robin Hood" theme -- one a literary version of the traditional English tale, the other a transcription of an oral retelling of a similar Cossack tale.
lesson plan, tale texts, links to animated versions, discussion questions
Student discuss folk tales, compare similar Russian and American tales through reading texts and viewing animations, then write and illustrate their own folk tales. Lesson also includes photos, narrative and study questions about other aspects of Russian traditional lore: costume, greeting guests with bread and salt, and Christmat/New Year's observances.
Target audience: 9th-12th grade World History/Geography/Russian Studies
two 50-minute periods
Multimedia poster, lesson plan, translated texts
Students will interact with a Glog (online multimedia poster) describing folklore and the Russian Trinity (Troitsa) celebration. Students will access a video, two websites, and an audio recording along with viewing photos and two attachments supplying translated song and ritual texts.
The translated song and ritual texts are also available via the links on the right. See Lesson Planfor Glog URL, or click here:
After viewing a PPT presentation about Russian Trinity Day customs for honoring the dead, students will discuss and compare parallel traditions in other cultures, including the Latin American Day of the Dead observances.
Click on the bird above to view or download the PowerPoint.
This folklore project includes a look at cultural heritage generally and burial customs specifically. By viewing and discussing a Russian commemoration ritual, students will gain awareness of the elements of folk culture and how cultural heritage is transmitted. Students will explore their own cultural heritages and bring those heritages to life through the performing or visual arts.
Audience: Grades 3-6 Music, Social Studies, Russian Language classes
Slide show with audio, video and notes for teacher
This slide show with audio and video demonstrates Russian children's clapping games with their accompanying rhymes. Students can learn the Russian games and compare them with games in their home cultures. Texts to the clapping games are provided in Russian alphabet, transliteration and translation.
Students can also view pictures of Russian schools and learn about Russian First Day of School ceremonies.
Click on the bird above to download the slide show as PPTX.
Understanding Kindness Through Folk and Literary Texts
Target audience: 7 grade Language Arts/World Geography/Social Studies
Lesson plan, texts, links to online texts and further information
Learners will examine characters in a Russian folktale and a literary text to analyze what small acts of kindness contribute to both the giver and receiver and determine a path of personal giving through random acts of kindness.
Students will identify various ways people in America honor the memory of a relative or friend who has passed away, compare these practices with Russian traditional customs, and reflect on the connection between remembering the dead and renewing connections to nature and society.
Exploring Russian Folktales from an Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspective
audience: grades 9-12
time frame: 150 minutes
Lesson plan, PPT of NW Coast Native American traditional values and stories with links to video and audio, worksheets, texts of Native American and Russian folktales.
Using stories, literacy strategies, hands-on activities, and 21st century skills (such as cirtical thinking, creativity, cultural awareness, and communication), students will read, discuss, and compare Russian folklore traditoins to Pacifice Northwest Coast Native American folklore.
The Russian/American Educators' Exchange was a program of American Friends of Russian Folklore, funded by the US/Russian Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program, and with travel support from the Russian & East European Institute of Indiana University.
American Friends of Russian Folklore is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation and a 501(c)(3) organization. Tax I.D. No. 26-0294873.