Friday, March 12, 2010

2nd Grade Story Quilts

"I want to fly over the Statue of Liberty.  It is very, very cool."

I read Faith Ringgold's Tar Beach to my 2nd grade students.  Tar Beach was a story quilt before it was made into a book.  In the story, Cassie Louise Lightfoot (only eight years old and in the third grade) dreams that she can fly over things to claim them as hers forever.  First, she flies over the George Washington Bridge.  Next, she decides to fly over the Union Building to give it to her father so he won't have to look for work.  Finally, she flies over the ice cream factory to make sure her family can have ice cream every night for dessert.

"I would like to fly over the San Francisco Bridge.  I see a lot of cars and I think it is really cool.  I would like to live there."

After reading and discussing the story and story and story quilts, the students thought of either something they wanted to fly over to claim as their own or something they wanted to see.  I told the students they would be drawing themselves flying over something, the drawing would be colored in with markers and crayons, and 1 inch patterned paper squares would be glued around the edges to create the look of a quilt.  I gave the students 9x12 inch paper and told them to draw in the middle of their paper because if anything important was too close to the edge, it would get covered up with paper in the end.  I tried putting some of the 1 inch squares on the tables for students to check the distance from the edge but this confused a lot of the 2nd graders.  For a couple classes, I found time to measure and mark 1 inch from each side and that worked a lot better.  While the students worked on their drawings, I had them come to my desk one at a time and tell me a sentence describing what they were flying over.  It was good practice  for answering in a complete sentence.  To make the sentences more interesting, I asked them why they wanted to fly over the thing or what they could see.  I typed the sentences with the students' names above, printed and cut into strips.  I got the idea to type the sentences from an Artsonia exhibit.  They were so easy to read and it saved me the time of writing the student' names in sharpie.

"I would fly over the pet shop so it could be mine and I could have some pets."

When I did this project with students during student teaching, I focused more on the pattern.  I had the students come up with several different designs and draw them to create a pattern around the border.  I decided to try collage this time so I ordered a classroom pack of patterned paper and cut the pieces down to 1 inch squares.  I could have purchased paper already cut into 1 inch squares but it was cheaper to cut it myself and didn't take as long as I thought it would.  I found some little foil cups, maybe for large muffins, and used those to hold the small pieces of paper at each table.  After the drawings were finished, the students glued the paper squares around the border and affixed their sentence strips to complete the story quilts.  My rule was that the tip of the glue bottle should not leave the paper.  I tried to get the students to put a zig-zag line of glue one one side at a time instead of gluing one piece at a time.

"I am flying over a whole city.  There are a bunch of lights on."

Check out our Artsonia exhibit!  Feel free to leave encouraging comments for the students!

"I am flying over Heather because I want her to be my sister." (This student already has at least two sisters that I know of and another on the way!)

"I am flying over a motel, a house, and the bank."

"I a flying over the lighthouse.  I see the light on top."

"I want to fly over the candy store so I could eat a lot of candy."

"I wish I could fly over the sun because I want to see how it goes up and down every day." :)


  1. these look great! I love the way you asked them to describe what they were flying over and the typed it and included it in the artwork! Great idea.

  2. sorry - one more thing- I clicked on the "art ed blogger" on the top right of your pg-Very cool to have everyone connected!!

  3. Thanks! And I saw the art ed blogger badge on another blog, thought it was a great idea!