Since this unit begins with the film How to Make An American Quilt, followed by the short story by Alice Walker, “Everyday Use,” both of which have quilt-making as part of their themes, there is a natural activity that binds the entire unit together. Quilt making can be an on-going, integral activity following the film and each story that actually will give students another way to relate to and remember the stories.
Using as a model, the story quilt in the film, How to Make an American Quilt, students will create their own story quilt. The students’ squares will be combined and the quilt displayed in the room as a representation of the class during the unit. Students will then create a story quilt square for the mother in each story throughout the unit. Each student will make one square for each main character in the six stories. These connected squares may serve as a final project at the end of the unit. They can be used to generate a writing activity or an oral presentation, or both.
This art project is another expression of what the students have learned from the film and the literature. In this case, using as a model the story quilt in the film, students will begin with their own lives and then transfer the process to the characters in the stories they read. After watching the film, ask the students to create a story quilt square that represents their lives: past, present and future, or a variation of this. Students can use any medium available including: magic markers, colored pencils, pieces of fabric, construction paper, cut outs from magazines, water colors etc. Squares representing students’ lives should be uniform in size so that when completed they can be combined into a story quilt that can be displayed in the classroom.
Following this activity, after reading each story, ask the students to do a story quilt square that represents the life or characteristics of each of the mothers. Each student can combine his or her own squares as they are completed or wait until all six squares have been completed and then combine them.
Using the squares representing the lives of the mothers, students should be able to tell or write the story of, or compare, any of these characters. The art activity and the writing activity make an effective final exam project.
2. Walker 1140.
Alvarez 4 – 5.