I wanted to do something different with my second grade students for African American history month. I turned to Pinterest for some freedom quilt ideas, and found this fantastic blog post on a middle school African American history quilt project. While I knew my second graders would not create what the middle school students did, I also knew I could add my own twist to it.
Once my students were halfway through our black history studies, I introduced the project. I found some beautiful crafting paper at Target, and gave a 1′ by 1′ square to each child. My students could pick any person from African American history that inspired them, and create a quilt square about that person. Students also had the option of choosing a theme from African American history such as peace, or the abolitionist or civil rights movement.
Through our studies in class, we had already studied Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For more on how I teach my African American history unit, click here. I reminded students that there were many more heroes from African American history. We discussed a few examples of other people they could research, and directions were sent home detailing the project, along with a rubric for parents to follow. I told parents that they could use their own paper or fabric in place of mine, as long as it held true to the 1′ by 1′ dimensions. Here is the link to a free black history freedom quilt I created. It includes the full directions, parent letter, and grading rubric I used with my second graders.
The quilt squares came back to school last week, and they are beautiful! I found some red fabric at my grandmother’s house and stapled it to my bulletin board so that it hung like a true quilt. Then I stapled the quilt squares directly onto the fabric. I am so happy with the way it turned out. I think this will be a new tradition in my classroom.