Visual Arts: Quilting the Past and Present
|Grade span:||2 to 8|
|Duration:||Three 45-minute sessions|
Description:This lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Involving Families and Communities. In this activity, students interview older people in their family or community, draw symbols that represent the past and present, and work together to create a paper quilt that represents the past and present.
- Learn about the cultural history of quilting
- Use interviews to research the past
- Develop an appreciation for a community and its history
- A copy of The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy
- Pictures or examples of various types of quilts (see Resources for suggested Web sites)
- Paper and drawing materials (pencils, crayons, markers)
- Community Interview (PDF)
- Index cards and tape
- Read The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy.
- Research the history of quilting (optional; see Teaching Tips for suggested resources).
- Make copies of the Community Interview (PDF) handout (one for each student).
What to Do:
- Read aloud The Patchwork Quilt. Show students pictures and examples of various quilts. Discuss how quilts can chronicle events, people, and places through images and symbols.
- Pass out the paper and drawing materials.
- Ask students to quickly draw images and symbols (whatever comes to mind) in response to the prompts below. Give students a separate piece of paper for each image, and allow about three to five minutes for each drawing. Save students' papers for Session 3.
- Distribute the Community Interview (PDF) handout. Ask students to interview various older family members or neighbors to find out what life was like for them growing up. Students should take notes during their interviews to use in the next session.
- Discuss what students learned in their interviews. Explore the similarities and differences between students and their elders. Note any themes that surface.
- Repeat the quick-draw activity from Session 1. This time, ask students to draw whatever comes to mind about the past in each category, keeping in mind what they learned in their interviews and the discussion. Keep students' papers for Session 3.
- Return quick-draw papers from Sessions 1 and 2. Divide students into small groups of three to four. Ask students to discuss and share their quick-draw images from the past and present.
- Ask each small group to come up with one image or symbol that best represents the past and one that best represents the present for each category (16 in all). Groups should draw/color each symbol on its own index card. Each group should also create one title index card with the word "present" and one with the word "past."
- Allow groups to arrange their "present" cards into three rows of three cards each (eight symbols plus one title card). Tape the cards together to form a quilt. Repeat with the nine "past" cards.
- Hang the "past" and "present" quilts on a wall for everyone to see.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- Interviews that reflect an understanding of the past
- Symbols and quilts that represent an understanding of the past and present
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.