Bush Second-Graders Learn Through Literacy Quilts

Colorful ”quilts” line the hallways at Bush Elementary School. All second graders completed the paper quilts as part of their westward expansion English language arts module with teachers Kathryn Nelson, Stephanie Johnson and Laurel Schwartz.

During the module, students learned about the 1800s westward expansion, and the hardships and tragedies that Native Americans endured. Students also discovered the important innovations created during this time period, including transportation and communication, all while developing important English language arts skills such as: identifying the main topic of the books read during the module, writing simple sentences to represent details or information from the books, making personal connections (orally or in writing) to events or experiences in a read-aloud and/or make connections among several read-alouds, interpreting information presented, drawing pictures to represent details or information from the book, The Buffalo Hunters, and identifying what they know and have learned about buffalo and the Lakota Sioux.

As one part of the module, students created quilt squares by recalling important details from books. In each corner of the square, students wrote an important word from the story. On the back, students chose one word from the front and used it in a sentence. In the center of the quilt square, students drew a picture about the story that representing the main topic of the read aloud (bisons). Finally, students shared their drawing and writing with a partner.

”Creating the quilts was a great way to keep students engaged,” said Bush Elementary School teacher Mrs. Nelson. ”While listening to the story, they were thinking about the words they would use and what they would draw. This activity reinforced vocabulary as well because students tried to incorporate the words from each lesson. When the quilts were finished, students were able to review each story by looking at their squares. I was surprised at how many key words students were able to remember about each story. Students were very proud of the quilts they made and displayed. It was a chance for them to reflect on the unit as well as their hard work.”