Work by a Grade 3 Class at FACTS, 2008–09


Here are some things to think about:

Who is in your own gallery of valued cultural treasures?

From who have you learned? (And what?)

What do you value and want to pass on?

Where have you taken a stand?







Playing & Learning With Folk Arts

Delicious Fresh Food Ever Ever

Recipe Book
created in 2008


Suzanne Lee, a special education elementary school teacher and Sonia Arora an education consultant, worked together with a small class of 3rd graders over the course of 7 weeks. We learned about oral history and discussed the ways in which cooking and recipes are one of many ways in which the lessons of our elders and community members are passed down to us. These stories and recipes nourish our bodies and replenish our spirits. We learned good interviewing skills and set up times to speak with busy parents. We looked through recipe books to see how they are organized. We discussed why recipes are written and how most good cooks do not often rely on exact measurements. As you read through these interviews and recipes, enjoy the dialogue and imagine 8-year old boys cooking soul, Korean and Chinese food with grandmothers, moms and fathers. As one grandmother interviewed put it, “We don’t believe in fast food. I learned to cook from my mother and so I cook every day. Samir calls my cooking real food.”


Special Thanks

This project was made possible through the funding of the Foreign Language Assistance Program Grant (FLAP). We would like to thank Ellen Somekawa of Asian Americans United, Debora Kodish of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and Deborah Wei, principal of teh Folk Arts – Cultural Treasures Charter School for making this project possible and inviting us to take oral history into the classroom. They provided directioin, insight and feedback throughout the process.

Also, we’d like to thank Janny Wong for managing the budget that helped to create theis boook fro the students. Students made beautiful portraits of family members with the diretion of the school’s art teacher, Eric Joselyn. Finally, we’d like to give a a special thanks to the parents and grandparents who took the time to make oral history come alive for their children.


About the School

The Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures (FACT) Charter School opened its doors three years ago to Philadelphia’s elementary and middle school children. Located in the heart of Chinatown and with a focus on arts and academics, it has attracted students speaking language as diverse as Mandarin, Vietnamese, Indonesian and the local lores of neighborhoods in South, North and West Philly. Teachers in grades K-7 design some projects in their classroom through the lens of folk arts with an emphasis on building a strong foundation of academic skills as well. This recipe book project is one of the many ways at integrating project-based learning with the mission of the school.