Children’s book used:
The Story Quilts of Harriet Powers by Mary E. Lyons
Children will hear an oral reading of the book. The beautiful illustrations of her quilts and pictures depicting the daily lives of African slaves in the south will be looked at with a very close eye accompanied by whole class discussions.
Class quilting project
The children will each design a square of the quilt. The square will tell the story of their own lives. Teacher will demonstrate by creating a square of her or his life and talking about it with the class. After each child has completed his or her square an oral presentation of each square by the children will take place. As each child completes the oral explanation of his or her piece it will be pinned by the child onto a foam core board representing the finished quilt. A border around the quilt will be created by using the handprints of each child using fabric paint and white muslin. The quilt will then be sewed together by the teacher. The completed quilt will hang in the classroom for the rest of the year to remind the children that each individual with his or her special , unique self create, with others, one whole beautiful world.
Basic materials and equipment
1. prewashed cotton fabric
2. permanent fabric paint in several colors: include colorless extender for pastel shades
3. Newspaper, roll of heavy plastic or old vinyl tablecloth, masking tape, old towel
4. rubber gloves, waterproof apron, old clothes
5. styrofoam meat trays for mixing colors
6. spray bottle of water to dilute paints
7. paint brushes
8. permanent marking pens
Wear old clothes
Lay fabric on plastic surface
Tape fabric to plastic to hold it smooth
Use styrofoam meat tray as a palette
Set out small amounts of several colors, and keep water jar close by.
Use soft artist’s brushes and paint as you would on paper. It helps to outline an area with a fine tipped brush, then fill design with a larger brush
Keep the paint fairly thin on the fabric. You can thin paint slightly with a water dipped brush
When you have finished painting allow the fabric to dry and then heat-set
Hint; have children plan out their square on paper before working with the fabric.
Note: This method was adapted from a book entitled:
Flavor Quilts For Kids to Make
Jennifer Amor (See Bibliography for details)
Language Arts/Written Activity
Write A Play
Using the information about the life of Harret Powers as a key into the lives of southern slave women the class will write a play dramatizing the daily activities, feelings, and hardships of being an African slave on a southern cotton plantation during the mid nineteenth century.
The class will work together to write, and then produce their play for the rest of the school. Children will learn the different components of a play for example; character development, setting, plot, problems and solutions, stage cues, scenery and props. They will also learn how to write dialog and scenes or acts to tell a story and develop a feeling.
note: this can become a great activity to involve the parents in the learning process.