Quilts In the Classroom. Art Activities Students make their own quilts!

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Quilts In the Classroom.


Art Activities

1. Students make their own quilts!

A. Each child is given a square for the quilt; the individual squares ranged from 8 inches square to 10 inches square.

Students can use muslin for the background and then used paint and marker pens on the fabric, and felt and embroidery thread to represent their themes. The children typically drew their ideas on paper and then we traced them onto the muslin or cut out a pattern to use on the felt. To minimize mistakes on their squares, children can do buttonhole stitching or running stitch on their squares.


  • Students can also draw their images on paper and then transfer their pictures to fabric with fabric





markers. Each student then learned to quilt and quilted their own block. All the blocks were put together in decade order.

After the squares are finished you can put them together with sashing strips between the squares and then quilted the entire quilt by machine.

B. If fabric isn’t an option you can use paper and put them together for display. This will teach them how a quilt is put together. Students can use yarn or string to sew onto the paper. You can use plastic needles for younger students.

Here are some important questions to ask students to think about.



  • What is a quilt?

  • What types of quilts are there?

  • What elements of design are used in quilts?

  • How does a quilt tell a story?

Title - Sequence Story Quilt
By - Renee Goodman
Primary Subject - Language Arts
Secondary Subjects - Art
Grade Level - 2nd-4th

Sequencing Story Quilt

Lesson Objective:

Learners will be able to retell a story using the sequence comprehension skill.

Materials needed:

- 6 small squares of different colored construction paper per learner with holes punched in the middle of each side.
- pieces of yarn or string (2 inch pieces work well)
- crayons or markers

o       o

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  • 1. Before reading the story (I always use the "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" type books, but any book with a clear sequence will work) do a short mini-lesson about sequence or order of events. Tell the students that while they are reading (or listening) to the story, pay very special attention to the order that things happen in the story.

    2. For younger students, it may be necessary to list the events on the board as they happen. After reading, discuss the story, then tell the students that they will be making a quilt that illustrates the events in the story.

    3. Give each student 6 paper squares and some pieces of yarn. The students should then write a sentence with a picture on each square that tells what happened in the story.

    4. The students should put the squares in order as to how the events happened in the story, and then they can tie their quilt squares together

    These make such a fun project and they look so nice. What story does your quilt tell?


Ask students to think of their own story, have them write it down first to help them work out their narrative. You could also give students options of story books.

By asking students to sketch their ideas first on paper, or write them down will help them plan their story ahead of time and teach them the importance of planning and working through their ideas. This is a great opportunity to teach students to represent a scenario visually.

Another option is to give all the students the same story and ask each student to draw a particular event in the story.

2.


http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/teach/les.cfm?keywords=quilts

Creating a Wall Story


Part of the Unit: Every Picture Tells a Story

 




Lesson Overview:


In this lesson, students create a wall story as a means of retelling a story. After hearing a picture book read aloud, students sketch their favorite part of the story. The pictures are shared with and sequenced by the class. Gaps in the storyline are identified and filled by groups of students. The entire story is then posted on a wall, in pictures, for use in a variety of later learning center activities, such as sequencing sentence strips, story mapping, performing reader’s theater and/or creating written retellings of the story.

Length of Lesson:


One to two 45-minute periods

Notes:


This lesson is particulary suitable for grades K-2.

 

Instructional Objectives:


Students will:

  • create illustrations to accompany text.

  • convey elements of a story such as character, setting, and plot through illustration.

  • use techniques and/or symbols to create an illustration in the style of a studied illustrator.

  • sequence the events of a story.
  • critique their own and one another’s illustrations.

  • participate in a variety of independent literacy-building activities.

 

Supplies:


  • Drawing supplies

  • A variety of picture books, without text (Teacher selected)

  • A picture book, with text (Teacher selected)

 

Instructional Plan:


While any storybook of your choosing is suitable for this lesson, you may wish to choose the book to introduce or complement an ongoing author study. This will allow students to learn more in depth about the style of a particular author or illustrator, and will also strengthen the arts component of the lesson. An author or illustrator with a distinct style such as Faith Ringgold, Jan Brett, or Walter Dean Myers/Christopher Myers. (Click here to hear Walter Dean Myers reading Harlem online and view Christopher Myers' illustrations) would be particularly well suited, as student-created illustrations could explore techniques such as creating quilt-like illustrations, including borders with clues in their illustrations, or making a collage, respectively. However, any picture book can be used.

Read a storybook of your choosing to students, preferably more than once. Ask students to illustrate their favorite part of the story, using as much detail as possible. Refer back to the previous lesson, Reading Illustrations, in which students discussed important elements of storybook illustrations and how they help us understand more about the characters, setting, and plot of the story. Remind students to include these kinds of elements in their own illustrations and be sure that they illustrate just one event from the story.

When the activity is completed, allow students to share their illustrations one at a time. As each student presents his or her work, the rest of the class should guess the part of the story that is being depicted in the illustration, and comment on one thing the student did particularly well in creating the illustration. Encourage the students to be specific. Rather than saying, "I like the picture," have students point out specific things such as, "I can tell it’s nighttime/winter/raining because of the way he/she drew the trees and the sky," or "He/she did a good job of showing the girl was sad/happy/tired. I can tell by her eyes." You can do this by asking follow up questions and/or modeling more specific kinds of comments. You may also wish to have students share why they chose to illustrate the part of the story that they did.

As each student presents his/her illustration, have him/her position the picture on a chalkboard ledge or post it to the wall/board. As each student adds their picture to the growing storyline, he/she will have to determine, with the assistance of the class, where the depicted event falls within the sequence of events. You can prompt students as needed, helping them to determine first whether the event came closest to the beginning, middle or end of the story, and then, whether it came before or after the other illustrated events from this part of the story. (Several students may select the same part of the story. This can present an interesting challlenge for the class. Have them examine each illustration carefully, looking for small details that help them determine which illustration should come before the other, i.e. the illustration could represent the beginning, middle or end of the event itself. If the pictures are extremely similar, you may simply need to make the call for the students.)

When each student has added his/her picture to the storyline, have students view the story in its entirety. Are the events assembled in the correct sequence? Are there any parts of the story that are missing? Which? Are all of the characters represented? Are important parts of the setting included? Are there any gaps in the storyline or information that would need to be added to make it easier for a reader to understand the wall story? If gaps are identified, assign students or groups of students to fill them in with additional illustrated pages.

Post the wall story in a safe location where students can access it for one or more of the following learning center activities:


  • Create a set of sentence strips by copying the actual text of the story or using student-generated sentences from a class retelling. Have students sequence the sentence strips in the appropriate order, using the wall illustrations as a reference point.

  • Allow students to work in pairs, orally retelling the story to one another. You may wish to have them tape their retelling on a tape recorder and then play it back, listening through headphones while checking their retelling against the wall illustrations.

  • Have students create a Reader’s Theater piece based on the story. Include simple props, costuming or puppets in the center – or have students make their own. Allow students to work in groups to dramatize the story, and if appropriate, to share their performance with the class.

  • Have students practice vocabulary related to the story by tacking flashcards or sentence strips beneath the corresponding pictures in the wall story.

  • Have students write their own retelling of the story, using the wall illustrations as a reference.

  • Have students write the ‘next chapter,’ building on the storyline through either illustration, text, or both.

 

Assessment:


Photocopy several illustrations from a storybook of your choosing, representing the beginning, middle and end of the story. Present to students out of order and ask them to sequence the events of the story. Have them explain their rationale for ordering the pictures the way they did, pointing out specific elements in the illustrations that revealed information. You may also wish to have them write a short story to go along with the illustrations.

Assess students’ understanding based on the following criteria:



  • Does the student appropriately order the illustrations?
  • Can he/she identify elements of the story such as character, setting and plot?


  • Can he/she explain how the picture revealed information about the storyline?

If the lesson is conducted as part of a larger author study, you may wish to have students create an illustration “in the style of (illustrator)” to correspond with one of the student’s own stories. Assess students level of mastery based on the following criteria:

  • Does the student choose appropriate materials for the illustration?

  • Does the illustration depict elements of the story such as character, setting and plot?

  • How well is the student able to use techniques taught in the lesson?

  • What symbols or techniques used for the illustration can be readily identified with the studied illustrator?

  • What level of effort was put forth by the student?

 

Authors:


  • ARTSEDGE, Education Department
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    Washington, DC

 

Reading Illustrations


Part of the Unit: Every Picture Tells a Story

 




Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students explore how illustrations contribute to the telling of a story. They will create illustrations to accompany text and then create text to accompany illustrations. Students will explore picture books (without words) and discuss the specific elements of the illustration that "tell" the story. They will learn to "read" illustrations as they look at the ways in which pictures reveal information about the characters, setting, and plot of a story.

Length of Lesson:


Two 45-minute class periods

Notes:


This lesson is particularly suitable for emerging readers in grades K-2.

 

Instructional Objectives:


Students will:

  • create illustrations to accompany text.

  • "read" a variety of illustrations for information.

  • convey elements of a story such as character, setting, and plot through illustration

  • identify techniques and/or symbols used by illustrators to convey information.

  • critique their own illustrations.

  • participate in a variety of independent literacy-building activities.

 

Supplies:


  • Drawing supplies

  • A variety of picture books without text (teacher selected)

  • A large picture book with text (teacher selected)

 

Instructional Plan:

Begin by reading aloud a short excerpt from a storybook of your choosing. Do not share the story’s illustrations, but instead, have students listen carefully, and then create an illustration to go with the text. Allow students to share their illustrations, explaining why they chose to depict what they did, and how the picture correlates with the story they just heard. Explain that pictures, or illustrations, are an important element of storybooks, and they can help us understand the elements of the story, including the characters, setting, and plot. Point out that illustrations can also provide valuable clues when one gets "stuck" on a word one doesn’t understand.

Discuss with students the fact that just as listening to a story creates a picture in our minds, looking at a picture can create a story in our minds. Show students a sample illustration from a large picture book of your choosing, preferably one that is unfamiliar to students. Cover up the text so that the students are focused on the illustration. Discuss with students which elements of the story they can discern simply by looking at the picture. Can they identify who the characters are and what they might be like? What about the setting? Where or when might the story take place? What season is it? Can they describe the action that is taking place? Can they guess what one or more of the characters is feeling and/or thinking? Flip to the next page, again covering up the text.

Based on the second illustration, see which ideas about the storyline seem to be correct. Can students discern something more about the storyline? What elements of the illustrations are most helpful in figuring out information about the story? Discuss specific techniques the illustrator used to “tell” the story. If students are having trouble coming up with specific techniques, point out facial expressions on characters, actions, body language, gestures, or clothing that help reveal information about the characters or action of the story.

Tell students that some books rely entirely on pictures to tell a story. Divide the students into groups of 2-3. Distribute a picture book to each group. Allow them to flip through the picture book to discern the characters, setting, storyline of the book. Allow a reporter from each group to briefly share the plot of the story with classmates, along with one of the illustrations that most helped them to understand the story and why.

Have each student draw a picture, or series of 2-3 pictures that tell a story. Their picture should reveal the characters, setting, and some part of the action of the story. You may wish to have students use ReadWriteThink's interactive Story Map as a graphic organizer for their story elements. Students should then exchange pictures with a partner and have the partner guess the elements of the storyline. Ask students whether their partner guessed correctly. If not, what part of the story did they have a hard time understanding? Discuss what was hardest and easiest about telling a story without words. Allow students five minutes to go back and add to or revise the picture as needed.

 

Assessment:


Use the Assessment Rubric to evaluate student's learning.

You may also wish to conduct brief, individual assessments in which students are presented with an illustration and are asked to tell about the story.

Assess students' understanding based on the following criteria:


  • Can the student identify elements of the story such as character, setting and plot?

  • Can the student explain how the picture helps tp reveal information about the characters, setting and/or plot of the story?

 

Extensions:


Create a class picture book. Have students gather on the rug or other suitable sitting area. Post three to five pieces of blank chart paper along a wall or chalkboard. Develop an original storyline as a class. As you are telling the story, have student volunteers come up at various points in the story to add detail the corresponding illustration.

Though the storyline is being told chronologically, there may be points in the story where you will wish to go back and add something to the previous illustrations to ensure that the story "makes sense."

This will require some critical thinking on the part of the students, so encourage them to think about ways in which the illustrations might be enhanced to better tell the story. Post the resulting illustrations on a wall for later 'reading' or use as a learning center activity (e.g., students might write a story retelling or practice vocabulary words associated with the wall story).

 

Authors:


  • ARTSEDGE, Education Department
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    Washington, DC

 

Class Discussions, WritingExercises, and Activities



Language Arts

  • Write the Story of Your Quilt Block

    After students have created their individual blocks, have them write a story about the event they have depicted. These could be quite detailed and then compiled into a classroom book. When the quilt is displayed on the wall, have the students tell their story to the class, or invite parents for a special evening.



The Quilt Story





 




Length of Lesson:


Three 45-minute periods

Notes:


This lesson is particularly suitable for ESL students in grades 3-4.

 

Instructional Objectives:


Students will:

  • listen to Story.

  • discuss the story using new vocabulary.

  • Discuss the characters and plot.

  • act out scenes from the story.

  • compare their lives and favorite items with the lives and favorite items of the characters in the story.

 

Supplies:


  • Props from The Story for classroom display

  • Paper for artwork

  • Markers

  • Chart paper



 

Instructional Plan:

Teacher Preparation

Prior to the lesson, display props from The Story around the classroom (placing the associated Vocabulary Cards alongside the items. You may also wish to display books about quilts and quilt images around the room. Invite the students to view these items before the start of class.

Using the accompanying Cue Cards handout, prepare a set of Cue Cards prior to the class by printing, copying and cutting out the cards as needed. These cue cards will list acting prompts related to the events in The Quilt Story.

Warm Up

Read your chosen book aloud. Ask them to predict the story's content from the "prop" clues positioned around the classroom. Introduce the story with a picture walk, eliciting vocabulary from the students.

(Note: A picture walk is a discussion strategy to activate prior knowledge before reading, build a framework for constructing meaning, and help set vocabulary. Quickly walk the students through the book using the pictures and illustrations to tell what the story is or what they will learn. Incorporate key vocabulary into what is said. Encourage students to make predictions. You may record vocabulary and predictions for later use.)



Read the story aloud. Have the students retell the story. Write key words on the board or chart paper, including: quilt, stitch, falling stars, wrapped, peaceful, tea-party, fun, pretend, gown, exciting, pretty, caring, helpful, kind, hide-and-seek, silly, comfort, safe, secure, protected, familiar, secure, cozy, and warm. These word—cues will help guide the students as they act out the story.
Acting out the Scenes

Introduce the Cue Cards (with the acting prompts) while students are still seated at their desks. Read the cards and display them. Explain to the class that they will use the cues and props to act out the story. Model for students how they might act out one of the cues. Be sure to add dialogue and portray the character's feelings as you act out the cue. Have students push their desks back and stand in a circle. As a group, the students will first act out the cues and add their own dialogue and feelings. Then they will individually pick cues and take turns acting out the first scenes of the story, using the appropriate props. The cue cards include the following prompts (more may be added if desired):

  • Act out a mother stitching a quilt.
  • Wrap the quilt around you and watch a falling star.


  • Have tea on the quilt with your dolls.

  • Pretend the quilt is a gown and ride your horse.

  • Play hide-and-seek with your sister.

  • Pretend to be sick and sneeze under the quilt.
Empathizing with the Characters

Ask students how they felt about the quilt and the story. List students' responses on chart paper, organizing the words into groups of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Lead a discussion on the story by asking the following questions:

  • What did the mother make for Abigail? Why was it so special? Has your parent or guardian ever made you some thing special?

  • How did the quilt make the little girl feel safe? How did you feel when you pretended to wrap the quilt around you?

  • Did the quilt make the little girl feel safe? What makes you feel safe?

  • Do you have a special item similar to Abigail's quilt? What is it? What do you like to do with it?

  • Was Abigail happy with the quilt?

  • What did she do with the quilt? Did you have fun pretending you had the quilt?

  • Where does Abigail play? Does she feel safe?

  • Where do you play? How do you feel there?

  • What was on the quilt? Were the symbols on the quilt happy symbols? Why?

  • What was the story about?

  • Was the story about peace? What is peace?

  • When do you feel peaceful? Where do you feel peaceful? With whom do you feel peaceful?

Instruct students to complete the Venn diagram handout to compare Abigail's quilt with a favorite item that makes them feel safe. This project can start as a class activity or the students can work in small groups.

 

Assessment:

Assess student work based on their level of participation in the acting activities, and on their oral responses to questions. See the accompanying Assessment Rubric.

Responses to the Venn diagram may also be assessed. (Check for understanding of the story, proper grammar, etc.)

 

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Sources:


Print:

  • Anderson, Alex. Kids Start Quilting. Layfaette, CA: C and T Publishing, 2002.

  • Burger, Carol. Flower Children Quilt. Birmingham, Alabama: Oxmoor House, 2000.

  • Johnston Tony, and Tomie dePaola. The Quilt Story. New York: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1985.

  • Polacco, Patrica. The Keeping Quilt. New York: Aladdin Paperworks, 1988.

 

Authors:


  • Susan M. Toerge, ESOL Specialist
    Langley Park-McCormick Elementary
    Hyattsville, MD

Here are some other links with projects that other teachers have done.

http://www.pbs.org/americaquilts/classroom/elementary.html

Class Discussions and Writing Exercises


Stories in Quilts

Introduction


Quilts and other cloth-based narrative art are part of many cultures. Made by hand -- often collaboratively -- using familiar materials such as scraps of clothing, quilts are both personal and communal objects. Quilting continues to be largely a home-based form of women's artistic expression.

Quilts can be works of art as well as stories through pictures. They also tell a story about their creators and about the historical and cultural context of their creation (quilting bees, historical and personal events) through the choices made in design, material, and content. Heighten your students' awareness of how quilts tell stories that reflect the lives of the people who create them, and that record the cultural history of a particular place and time.


Learning Objectives


After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to:
  • Explain what a quilt is and what a story quilt is.


  • Identify elements in quilts, such as colors, shapes, patterns, and symbols.

  • Realize that quilts can be objects of both everyday use and art.

  • Understand how stories are related through art objects such as quilts.

  • Understand how quilts and other cloth-based art forms are used to preserve family and community traditions.

  • Recognize that people of different countries and cultures use cloth-based art forms to pass down their traditions and history.

Guiding Question:


What is a quilt? What is a quilt made of? What is a story quilt? How are quilts used to tell stories? What kinds of stories can be told through quilts? How are art and history connected through quilts that tell stories? How have story quilts been used as part of our identities, families, and cultures?

Preparing to Teach this Lesson


  • Review each lesson and select archival materials you'd like to use in class. If possible, bookmark these materials, along with other useful websites; download and print out selected documents and duplicate copies as necessary for student viewing. Prepare any necessary templates.

  • Establish an anticipatory set when beginning each lesson on quilts. Read aloud any of the books recommended below, display an actual quilt, or invite a local quilter to demonstrate. Encourage students who own quilts to share them with the class. However, because quilts can be valuable family heirlooms, exercise care in allowing students to touch and work with quilts brought from home. Sharing quilts offers a good opportunity for parents to come to class to share family stories and to help monitor appropriate handling of quilts.
  • If possible, obtain the book The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort 1750-1950, by Roderick Kiracofe, Mary Elizabeth Johnson (contributor), and Sharon Reisendorph (photographer) (Clarkson Potter, 1993; ISBN 0517575353), which contains many large photos of quilts of every kind. Another book to use for background information a pictures of story quilts is Dancing at the Louvre : Faith Ringgold's French Collection and Other Story Quilts, by Faith Ringgold (Editor), New Museum of Contemporary Art, Dan Cameron (Editor).


  • Review background material on Faith Ringgold from the Guggenheim Museum, located on the Artcyclopedia through the EDSITEment-reviewed website, Internet Public Library:

    • "Ringgold's vehicle is the story quilt-a traditional American craft associated with women's communal work that also has roots in African culture. She originally collaborated on the quilt motif with her mother, a dressmaker and fashion designer in Harlem. That Ringgold's great-great-great-grandmother was a Southern slave who made quilts for plantation owners suggests a further, perhaps deeper, connection between her art and her family history."

    • "Tar Beach, the first quilt in Ringgold's colorful and lighthearted series entitled Women on a Bridge, depicts the fantasies of its spirited heroine and narrator Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who, on a summer night in Harlem, flies over the George Washington Bridge. 'Sleeping on Tar Beach was magical . . .' explains Cassie in the text on the quilt, 'only eight years old and in the third grade and I can fly. That means I am free to go wherever I want to for the rest of my life.'"




  • For background on other forms of cloth-based narrative art, review the following resources:

    • Hmong Storycloths: The Hmong and the Storycloth: How Traditions and Cultures Are Transmitted Through Folklore and Art, available from the EDSITEment resource AskAsia::
      • "The Hmong did not have any previous written language until thirty-five years ago when Christian missionaries standardized and romanized the Hmong language. Previously, all of their communication was oral and/or pictorial. Many of the oral history traditions have been transcribed pictorially on a storycloth known as pa'ndau. The pa'ndau, composed of applique, cross-stitches, batik, and embroidery, incorporates Hmong personal family history, village life, the death and disturbance of war and emigration, and life in a new land. Pa'ndau, as an art form, reflects how the medium of an old tradition is also used to tell a more modern story of Hmong history and culture" (from "Brief History of Hmong and the Storycloth Tradition," available through the EDSITEment-reviewed website AskAsia).





  • African Kente cloth: the lesson plans: Fabric patterns/African Peoples and Textiles convey meaning through the use of pattern and color, both available from the EDSITEment resource Art and Life in Africa. Information on the history and meanings of Kente cloth is located on the Index on Africa: Ghana website at History and Significance of Ghana's Kente Cloth, available through the EDSITEment-reviewed website African Studies WWW.

  • Latin American arpilleras (wall hangings made of cloth pictures that tell a story): Arpilleras have also been used to chronicle political injustices in various Latin American countries. Two books with pictures and descriptions of arpilleras are available at LILAS Outreach K-12 and Community Resource Library (Chile - Children's Literature and Holidays and Celebrations - Children's Literature), found through the EDSITEment-reviewed website Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC):

    • Festivals of the World: Chile by Gareth Stevens Publishing, Milwaukee, Wisc., 1998. 32 pp. (Grades 1-4) This book introduces Chile, its festival calendar, and its specific festival rituals. It includes craft projects to make an arpillera.

    • Tonight Is Carnaval by Arthur Dorros. Puffin Unicorn Books, Penguin Books, USA Inc., New York, 1991. (Grades 1-4) This is a story illustrated with photographs of arpilleras created by the Club de Madres Virgen del Carmen of Lima, Peru.



  • If possible, obtain some selected volumes of the Festivals of the World (Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens Publishing) series, which you can use to introduce students to the festivals and traditions of different countries and to the concept of family, community, and national cultural traditions.


  • For Lesson 4, review background information on Harriet Powers located at American Studies @ The University of Virginia, a link from the EDSITEment-reviewed website Center for the Liberal Arts. If possible, obtain Mary Lyons's book Stitching Stars: The Story Quilts of Harriet Powers (New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1997) to read to the class.

Suggested Activities


Lesson 1: What Is a Story Quilt?

Extending the Lesson

Lesson 1 What Is a Story Quilt?

If possible, introduce this lesson with one or more authentic quilts in the classroom, to give students the opportunity to see how a quilt is constructed and what the elements of a quilt are. How might a quilt serve both practical and aesthetic purposes? How is a quilt different from a blanket? A quilt is made up of scraps of material that are sewn together. Quilts have two layers of material with padding in between. The stitching that keeps the padding in place creates a pattern that invites further decoration. This decoration can employ elements such as color, pattern, and symbols. The designs on quilts can tell a story.

If it proves impractical to bring a quilt into class, use the image Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles from the Bayly Art Museum at the University of Virginia, available through Artcyclopedia, located on the EDSITEment-reviewed website Internet Public Library, or images from one of the recommended books.

You may want to introduce the following vocabulary terms to the class before or while discussing story quilts and their elements and uses: quilt, story quilt, pattern, symbol, stitching, padding, patchwork, community, tradition, festival.

Ask the class if anyone has a quilt at home. Encourage some discussion about those quilts. How are they used? How many students use a quilt as a blanket? Take out the quilt(s) or quilt image(s) students will observe. Allow the students to observe the quilts as closely as practical. Ask students questions such as: How many different kinds of cloth do you see on the quilt? Do you see some of the same cloth in different places in the picture? What colors do you see? Do you see objects on the quilt -- people, animals, flowers, baskets, etc.? How are objects arranged? What pictures can you see in the quilt? Is this quilt telling a story, and if so, what is the story about?

Ask students to identify and describe the following elements in several quilts or quilt images:


  • Colors

  • Shapes

  • Patterns

  • Symbols

In addition to quilts, other cloth-based types of narrative art can be displayed, such as Hmong Storycloths (The Hmong and the Storycloth: How Traditions and Cultures Are Transmitted Through Folklore and Art, available from the EDSITEment resource AskAsia; Kente cloth in Africa (example lessons available at Fabric patterns/African Peoples and Textiles convey meaning through the use of pattern and color, both available from the EDSITEment resource Art and Life in Africa; and Latin American arpilleras (books with pictures and descriptions of arpilleras available at LILAS Outreach K-12 and Community Resource Library, Chile - Children's Literature and Holidays and Celebrations - Children's Literature, found through the EDSITEment-reviewed website Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC).

The EDSITEment-reviewed resource Odyssey Online includes a special exhibit, Wrapped In Pride: Ghanaian Kente and African-American Identity, which "traces the roots of kente in Asante and Ewe cultures, in what is now central and eastern Ghana and parts of Togo, and its widespread use in Africa as garment and ceremonial cloth; then it explores kente as a meaningful document of dress, art, and identity in American cultures, specifically within African American communities in the United States." The website for this exhibit explains the role Kente cloth plays in the history and cultural identity of both Africa and African-American communities within the U.S.


Ask students to compare the different forms of cloth-based artwork and discuss the elements in each. Have students describe what they see, and write down their responses on a chart. The chart could contain the following information: What colors do you see in the quilt or other fabric art? What patterns do you see? What is being represented? What kinds of people, animals, or objects do you see? Whom do you think these characters or animals represent? Where do you think the story is taking place? What are the events taking place in the story? What do you think the story is about? What types of objects and stories would you portray in a story quilt?




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