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Cricket Media, Smithsonian launch 2016 Global Folklorist Challenge

The Challenge invites kids 8-18 from around the globe to explore and share cultural traditions and learn professional folklorist investigation, interview and reporting skills

Cricket Media, a next-generation global learning company, announced the launch of its 3rd Annual Global Folklorist Challenge in partnership with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The challenge, open to kids eight to eighteen worldwide, asks participants to examine a local or regional tradition by interviewing a community tradition bearer and creating a video or slide show to share the story.

Cultural traditions students might explore range from dance, games, and handicrafts to cooking, storytelling, customs, distinctive jobs, and more. Comprehensive supporting materials reinforce real- world folklorist skills by defining terms, providing examples, tips, and organizational tools, and walking students through professional interview and story-shaping processes. Participants also have access to professional folklorists at the Smithsonian.

“The Folklorist Challenge is one of the most exciting programs we offer here at Cricket Media,” says Cricket Media CEO, Stephanie Sharis. “It’s gratifying to engage kids from around the world and encourage them to explore what’s special about their country, their heritage, and their communities. And of course, we are delighted to be working for a sixth year with the team at the Smithsonian to design these and other original and motivating Challenges.”

Accompanying teacher or parent materials include lesson plans, global collaboration opportunities, a standards-alignment chart and scoring rubric. The process reinforces a range of 21st-century skills, including the use of digital technologies, and U.S. and international social studies, language, and interdisciplinary curriculum standards.

“The global folklorist challenge invites children to see their communities in new ways and to actively participate in preserving traditions for later generations,” says Michael Atwood Mason, director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “We know this collaboration extends the reach of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to engage millions of students in cultural heritage around the world.”

The challenge deadline is November 30, 2016, with winners chosen by a panel of Smithsonian and ePals judges. Among the prizes for student winners whose entries best demonstrate the folklorist process of investigation and reporting are digital cameras, box sets from the Smithsonian Folkways collection, a Little Passports World Coin Collection, and more.

Laura Ascione

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