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A Quilt of Many Colors

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 1
Reading: Literature Standard 7


Utah LessonPlans
Grace Wayman


This activity uses the book "The Patchwork Quilt", by Valerie Flournoy to give students the sense of family in the classroom community.


Additional Resources


  • Coat of Many Colors, by Dolly Parton; ISBN 0-590-89935-X
  • Something from Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman; ISBN 0-590-47281-X
  • Under the Quilt of Night, by Deborah Hopkinson; ISBN 0-439-75049-0
  • The Quilt Story, by Tony Johnston; ISBN 0-590-43890-5
  • The Patchwork Quilt, by Valerie Flournoy; ISBN 0590897535

    Background for Teachers

    This activity is called A Quilt of Many Colors. This lesson gives the students an opportunity to feel a part of the classroom community. You (the teacher) will bring a quilt or other item (made by a family member or friend) to class to share with the students and let the students know how special this item is to you. Give the students an opportunity to tell you something that was made for them that is special.

    In the book The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy (illustrated by Jerry Pinkney), a grandmother decides to make a special patchwork quilt from scraps of material in her home. The granddaughter and her mother get involved in the quilt making, too. This story gives the students a sense that we all belong to families at home, school, and in the community. Not every child comes from an ideal home situation. However, it is possible to instill a sense of family in the classroom community. Through the process of making a paper quilt, every child can feel a sense of belonging with his/her school family. It is up to you, the teacher, to provide a safe, caring environment for every student in your class. This unit lends itself to helping each student recognize that he/she is an important part of the school community.

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    3. Demonstrate responsible emotional and cognitive behaviors.
    6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.

    Instructional Procedures

    Invitation to Learn

    The students will sit on the rug as the teacher shares her special quilt/item with the students. Then the teacher will read The Patchwork Quilt with the students. After the story is read use chart paper and draw lines on the paper like tic-tac-toe boxes. In each box, write title, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world (Schema). The students will retell the story, as the teacher writes the words/sentences in the correct boxes.1

    Instructional Procedures

    1. Teach the students The Quilt Song.
    2. Students will sit in seats, get journals out and write, "I wish I could make a quilt for________. It would have_________ ___on it because _________. (e.g., "I wish I could make a quilt for my mother. It would have hearts all over it because I want my mom to know I love her.")
    3. Brainstorm things the students could draw that would remind them of that student. (e.g., likes to read, good artist, plays soccer, likes dinosaurs, loves rainbows, hearts, smiley faces, etc.) Then students will be separated into groups of five. Give each student a Person Outline page. It is an outline of a person laid over a page divided by lines into four equal parts. Ask the students to put hair, eyes, mouth, and clothes on the person so it looks like her. Then each student will pass her paper to a remaining student in the group and she will draw a picture in one of the divided boxes. She should draw something that reminds her of the student whose picture is in the middle of the paper. All four boxes need to have a drawing in it from one of the four other students in the group.
    4. When all the person blacklines are finished, tape them together on butcher paper in the shape of a quilt and display this special classroom quilt on a wall in the school. Have a discussion with the students of how each of the pictures represents something special about them and about the class as a whole.


    • If they would like, have students share what they wrote in their journals with the class.
    • Doing interactive writing using descriptive words about a certain quilt or artifact can be fun.
    • Students may bring a special quilt or artifact from home to share with the class.
    • Sharing books mentioned in the additional resources and then discussing how they are alike or different from The Patchwork Quilt is a great activity.

    Family Connections:

    • A member of a student's family may come to and share a quilt or artifact with the class. The family member can describe what is special about the item or how it was made.

    Assessment Plan

    • Fill out the 1st Grade Writing Assessment Form when looking at each child's written work in her journal.
    • Use an authentic assessment as the children are drawing their pictures about themselves and drawing the smaller pictures about the other children. Questions you should ask about the artwork are: Is the drawing appropriate, colorful, fills the whole space, exhibits kind thoughts through drawings, etc? Make sure that the students put their names on the back of their section of the paper so you can check later if necessary.


    Research Basis

    Bullough, R.V. (2001). Uncertain Lives. Teachers College Press, New York, NY.

    Children desperately need mentors, adults who model appropriate behavior, coach it, and reinforce such behavior in others; and schools are one place where they should meet. Mentors are more than friends. "Research has shown that if children and youth can form a meaningful and caring bond or attachment with at least one family member or significant adult, their chances of a successful, healthy outcome are very high, even in those families that are facing severe challenges, such as poverty, chemical dependency, and abuse or violence." (Miller, D. (1997) Mentoring structures: Building a protective community.)

Created: 06/26/2007
Updated: 02/05/2018