Family Quilts Keep Us Warm
Celebrate the diversity and unity of families with family pictures, a class family quilt, and finger-plays about loved ones.
- Grades: PreK–K
- Unit Plan:
In this lesson, students learn that families are diverse and describe the similarities and differences between them. They also follow one-and two-step oral directions to identify and describe simple patterns.
- Recite finger-plays about families.
- Draw a picture of their own family.
- Compare different kinds of families.
- Construct a pattern square.
- Assemble a paper quilt together.
- Photo of your family
- Pictures of diverse families or books about families. My favorite is Families by Ann Morris.
- Real quilt (optional)
- A book about quilts (optional). My favorite is The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco.
- Blank word/index cards
- Chart rack with clear pockets
- Geometric Quilt Square with 6" x 6" square
- Family Quilt Square (PDF) with 6" x 6" square
- Crayons, including a brown and orange crayon for each student
- Butcher paper
Set Up and Prepare
- Print one copy of the Family Quilt Square for the teacher.
- Make copies of the Geometric Quilt Square and Family Quilt Square for each child.
- Set out pencils, crayons, and scissors.
- Set up chart pocket holder, black marker and stapler.
- Map out the dimensions of the class quilt. Cut butcher paper to hold everyone's quilt squares. Including the 6" border of squares, the dimensions of the butcher paper backing are 42" X 60". I have 20 children in my class so I made our quilt 5 squares by 8 squares. This gives 20 family pictures quilt squares with 20 geometric quilt squares. (See Day 3, Step 1)
- Separate a brown and orange crayon for each child (or a color of your choice).
Step 1: Gather students for a whole group discussion about families. Ask who is a member of a family and describe how each of us is a family member and that families are diverse. Share a photo of your family and pictures of other families you've collected or from a book, like Families by Ann Morris. Ask students to look for the different kinds of family members in the pictures.
Step 2: Tell the children that a family is made up of lots of different kinds of family members, and we have words to describe them. Ask them to name some of their family members (Mom, Dad, Aunt, etc.) and write the names on the word cards. Add family vocabulary not mentioned by the students.
Step 3: Choose five of the family vocabulary words and teach the children a finger play to the tune of "Where Is Thumpkin?" Use the traditional finger movements and pattern. One version might be:
Where is mom? Where is mom?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you today then?
Very well I thank you.
Run away. Run away.
Repeat the pattern with uncle, sister, step mom, grandpa until the last verse:
Where is the family? Where is the family?
Here we are. Here we are.
How are you today then?
Very well we thank you.
Run Away. Run Away.
Sing various versions to build vocabulary and show how families have different configurations.
Step 1: Gather students and ask if anyone knows what a quilt is. Share a quilt or picture of a quilt and tell students that quilts are a "folk art" and are used for more than warmth — many families use them to tell stories or help them to remember people. Share with them that the class will be making a quilt to show the different kinds of families in the classroom. Although most quilts are made of cloth, theirs will be made of paper. You may also want to read a book about quilts from your library. I like to read The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco because it connects to later lessons on immigration and family ancestry.
Step 2: Tell the students that quilts often have patterns. Show the pattern in your quilt and tell students that you'll be using just a few colors in your class quilt so that the pattern will be easy to see. Distribute the Geometric Quilt Square to each student along with two crayons of different colors. Ask students to name the large shape on their paper and trace it with their finger (square). Then ask them to name the smaller shapes inside the square (triangles). How many are there? Count them together.
Step 3: Ask students to take one crayon and color any two squares. When everyone's finished, ask them to take their other crayon and color the two remaining squares. When finished, they can cut out the square.
Step 4: Gather students and ask them to come up and place their squares with those that are colored in the same manner. Count the number in each group together.
Step 1: Pre-glue the students' colored squares to the quilt in a checkerboard pattern, leaving a space for the family picture quilt squares. Make a few extra geometric quilt squares so that each row will have the same colored pattern. Place a pattern of squares around the edge of the quilt, creating a 6" border. Hang the quilt on the wall so that everyone can see it and so that you can add the family picture quilt squares.
Step 2: Show the children your family picture quilt square, indicating how you drew the people in your family, including yourself. Tell them that for the class quilt, you would like for them to draw a picture of their family. Distribute the family quilt square printable. Ask students to write their name on the paper and in the quilt square where it reads, "The family of ___________." Remind them to include themselves in their pictures. When they finish, ask them to cut out the square.
Step 3: Gather students and ask them to share their picture with the group. As each child shares a picture, glue it in place on the quilt. Ask students to notice the quilt's patterns. When it's finished, take a moment to look at the quilt together in silence. Then ask: How are our families different? How are they the same? How do you feel when you look at this family quilt?
Supporting All Learners
For students who haven't developed fine motor skills, help them to color and cut out their quilt squares. Write students' names on the quilt squares if they can't. Encourage more capable students to label their pictures.
Invite a quilter to visit the classroom and discuss the craft. Share the group quilt with other classes and have your students tell how it shows the diversity of their families.
- Draw a family picture.
- Color a paper quilt square.
- Assemble a class family quilt..
- Did students use family vocabulary?
- Were students able to illustrate their families?
- Was there enough time for all students to be successful?
- Did students have the fine motor skills to work independently?
- Were students engaged and on task the entire time?
- How would you do this lesson differently next time?
Observe children's oral responses, finger coordination during the finger-play, and their illustrations. Assess fine motor skills during drawing and cutting. Check to see which students are using letters or words.