Arkansas Festivals of the Land Lesson Plan by Sherry J. Tipps, Conway, Arkansas 2001-2002 Butler Fellow Revised 2007-08 School Year Utilizing 2006 Social Studies Frameworks Including 2007 Arkansas History Amendments and 2007 School Library Media Frameworks Practically every community celebrates something. These celebrations often take the form of an annual festival. Often, these community festivals are closely tied to the land and the natural heritage or the history people find important in their areas. In this lesson students will research Arkansas community festivals that are closely tied to the land. They will then create brochures that examine the festival from a geographic/historical prospective and share their information with the class. This lesson can be introduced in one class period. Research, development, and presentation of brochures will take additional class periods. If students request research material from a chamber of commerce or a state agency, such as the Department of Parks and Tourism, allow adequate time for delivery. Grades: 7th – 8th Arkansas Curriculum Frameworks: Arkansas History Student Learning Expectations: G.1.AH.7-8.1 Compare and contrast the six geographical land regions of Arkansas: * Ozark Mountains (plateau) * Ouachita Mountains * Arkansas River Valley * Mississippi Alluvial Plain * Crowley’s Ridge * West Gulf Coastal Plain G.1.AH.7-8.5 Examine the economic effect of Arkansas’ natural resources * diamonds * bauxite * forestry products * oil W.7.AH.7-8.2 Explore the effects of tourism on the economy * Hot Springs * Ozarks * Murfreesboro diamond mines WWP.9.AH.7-8.6 Examine the economic development of Arkansas after World War II School Library Media Student Learning Expectations: A.4.7.1, A.4.8.1 – Use resources and/or technology tools for a predetermined task A.3.7.1, A.3.8.1 – Practice organizational strategies to record and synthesize information Encyclopedia of Arkansas Entries: Arts, Culture, and Entertainment; Hope Watermelon Festival; John Huddleston Day; Timberfest Key Terms Defined: festival: A celebration that commemorates something important in the culture of a people, usually marked by feasting, activities, music, ceremonies, and other observances. natural heritage: The plants, animals, and natural communities that have persisted in an area over a long period of time. culture: The way of life of a group of people. cultural tradition: An activity or behavior that is passed down from generation to generation. Introduction: The teacher will select the appropriate student learning expectations for his or her class, review the key terms, and make copies of selected activities included in the lesson. Collaboration with the school library media specialist for assistance with the utilization of the technology resource tool for Arkansas History is suggested. See above links or visit the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture at http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Materials: • Access to computer lab for researching online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture Optional: “Celebrating Arkansas,” an AETN-produced video on Arkansas festivals, available from AETN (http://www.aetn.org; see http://www.aetn.org/celebratingarkansas/ for more information) A copy of Arkansas Festivals with Connections to the Land for each student (included below) A copy of the Toad Suck Daze Festival (Sample Brochure) for each student (included below) A copy of the Arkansas’ Six Natural Divisions map for each student (included below) One Arkansas State Highway Map (free from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Dept., Map Sales, PO Box 2261, Little Rock, AR 72203-2261 / phone: (501) 569-2444) White copy paper for making brochures Procedure Day One: Class Discussion 1. Ask students if they have ever attended a festival somewhere in Arkansas. Define the word festival and give a local example of a festival with which students may be familiar. (You could even find some pictures of a local festival to show the class.) 2. Ask students what was being celebrated in that particular festival and why did the community choose to celebrate this. Explain that—other than the “fun” aspect of festivals— we can often learn much about the natural heritage, geography, and history of a community or area by what its people choose to celebrate. 3. Optional: Tell students you are going to show the opening segment of the AETN video entitled “Celebrating Arkansas.” Explain that it shows the Toad Suck Daze Festival in Conway. After viewing the video segment, discuss the following questions. Q: What is the relative location of Conway, and in what natural division is it located? Conway is located in western Faulkner County about 30 miles northwest of Little Rock on Interstate 40. It is in the Arkansas River Valley natural division and practically on the Arkansas River. Q: What activities are part of the Toad Suck Daze Festival? A: Toad races on Toad Suck Square in downtown Conway; carnival rides; musical performances; and the selling of food, crafts, and other festival items. Q: What is the history of the Toad Suck Daze Festival, and how is this connected to the land and culture of the area? A: The festival began in the 1980s at Toad Suck Ferry Lock and Dam. It celebrates early Arkansas River culture. In the 1800s taverns operated along the Arkansas River, often near ferries that crossed the river. Thirsty travelers were said to suck up so much liquor at the taverns they swelled like toads. Day Two Activities: Festival Brochures: 1. Tell the class that Arkansas has many festivals that reflect the cultural traditions of the places where they are held. Many festivals in Arkansas can be traced to the land or our natural heritage in some way. 2. Give each student a copy of Arkansas Festivals with Connections to the Land (included below). Tell them they are each going to research an Arkansas festival from this list and then create an informational brochure for their festival based on their research. 3. Give each student a tri-folded copy of Toad Suck Daze Festival (Sample Brochure) (included below). Go over the inside format that they will use to create their own brochures. Explain that the outsides of their brochures can be filled with fancy lettering, artwork, the date(s) of the festival, and other items of their choosing. 4. Give each student a copy of Arkansas’ Six Natural Divisions (included below). They can use this map and the Arkansas State Highway Map to plot the location of their festival and identify its natural division. 5. Have students research their festivals and prepare their brochures on white copy paper. Possible sources of information are the Internet (see especially the “Calendar of Events” on http://www.arkansas.com, which is searchable and has links to the homepages of many festivals), books (see “Sources” below), chambers of commerce, and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism in Little Rock. Students’ brochures can be either hand- written or computer-printed. 6. After students have finished their brochures, allow them time to share them in class. Their brochures can also be displayed in the classroom. If you wish, the class can also create a festival map on a bulletin board showing the locations of their festivals in Arkansas. Students can plot their festivals on the map as part of their presentations. Evaluation: Festival brochures and presentations will demonstrate what students have learned about festivals connected to the land in Arkansas. Extension: As a class, plan an Arkansas festival that represents the place where you live or that combines several aspects of different regions of Arkansas. This could include inviting craftspeople to demonstrate their work and other activities. Be sure to include music and food! Sources/Suggested Research Materials: Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN). Celebrating Arkansas (video). 2001. Earngey, Bill. Arkansas Roadsides: A Guidebook for the State. Little Rock: East Mountain Press, 1987. Foti, Thomas and Gerald Hanson. Arkansas and the Land. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1992. Smith, Richard M. The Atlas of Arkansas. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1989. These lesson plans are made possible in part through the support of the Arkansas Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, and the Bridge Fund at the Arkansas Community Foundation. The Taylor Foundation (Little Rock, Arkansas) makes Butler Center lesson plans possible. Contact the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System, 100 Rock St., Little Rock, AR, 72201. 501-918-3056 www.butlercenter.org and www.cals.lib.ar.us Arkansas Festivals with Connections to the Land Altus, Wiederkehr Weinfest Bismark, Eagles Et Cetera Weekend Festival Clarksville, Johnson County Peach Festival Dermott, Crawfish Festival Des Arc, Steamboat Festival Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival Gillette, Gillette Coon Supper Gould, Turtle Derby Festival Hazen, Prairie County Rice Festival Heber Springs, Greers Ferry Lake Water Festival Hope, Watermelon Festival Lincoln, Arkansas Apple Festival Malvern, Brickfest Mount Ida, Quartz Crystal Festival Murfreesboro, John Huddleston Day Diamond Festival Paris, Arkansas Championship Grape Stomp and Cowie Wine Fest Parkin, Riverboat Festival Sheridan, Timberfest Smackover, Oil Town Festival Stuttgart, Wings Over the Prairie Festival Tontitown, Grape Festival Trumann: Trumann Wild Duck Festival War Eagle, War Eagle Mill and Crafts Festival Warren, Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival Washington, Jonquil Festival Weiner, Arkansas Rice Festival Yellville, Turkey Trot Festival TOAD SUCK DAZE FESTIVAL (SAMPLE BROCHURE) Festival Geography Festival History Festival Culture City or town: Conway The Toad Suck Daze Festival is a Festival Activities: When you visit the celebration of Arkansas River culture. In Toad Suck Daze Festival you will see County: Faulkner the early years of European settlement in actual toad races at Toad Suck Square in Arkansas—the early 1800s—a network of downtown Conway. The entire downtown Descriptive Location: Conway is located in taverns operated along the Arkansas area is filled with craft booths, carnival western Faulkner County about 30 miles River. Ferries often carried travelers rides, food vendors, and musical northwest of Little Rock on Interstate 40. across the river at these points. It was performances. often said that the travelers visiting these Natural Division: Conway is located in the taverns sucked up so much liquor that Cultural and economic benefit: The beautiful Arkansas River Valley natural they swelled like toads! This is where festival fosters a sense of community and division, which lies between the Ozark Toad Suck Ferry and the festival got their connection to the Arkansas River while Plateau and the Ouachita Mountains names. raising awareness of local culture. Toad natural divisions. The Arkansas River Suck Daze is also a boon to the area’s Valley extends from Little Rock to Fort Toad Suck Daze began in the economy. It brings thousands of people Smith and is about 40 miles wide. It is a 1980s at Toad Suck Ferry Lock and Dam to Conway each year; they spend money fertile farming area and contains on the Arkansas River. Today the festival at the festival and local gas stations, Arkansas’ highest point, Mount Magazine. is held in downtown Conway. restaurants, stores, etc. Craft and food vendors benefit directly from the festival. It also raises money for scholarships to Conway’s three colleges. Arkansas’ Six Natural Divisions Adapted from Foti, Thomas and Gerald T. Hanson. Arkansas and the Land. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1992, p. 36.
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