Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Think warm 2011 quilts

Last year when we got back from winter break I decided January would have the theme of, "Think Warm." I was looking to do projects that focused on weaving and quilts. I had what I thought were a ton of great lessons but in the end it was one of the most frustrating months of teaching in my life. Weaving projects have a steep learning curve and old crappy school scissors DO NOT cut fabric. This year I will be slashing some of my projects and trading in different projects with the same concept but hopefully better results.

Kinder and 1st symmetry quilts were high prep on my side but excellent results for the kids. Now that I have all my templates made I think things will go smoothly this year. We talk about slide, mirror and radial symmetry using these three quilt patterns.
shoo fly churn dash pinwheel or double pinwheel
I choose these patterns because they have students cut squares into either triangles or rectangles and allow for easy manipulation to achieve the patterns.

I give the students the squares needed for each part in the correct color and then a "quilt puzzle guide" to glue the shapes onto. they have to cut their shapes and match the color of the shape to the shape and color word on their puzzle guide.

If you are interested in exploring math and art using quilting...or you happen to like to quilt (like I do) I would highly recomend the website www.quilt.com and then going to the "Quilt blocks by block type." This no frills website but has all the quilt blocks you could ever want in 4, 5, 7 and 9 patch. There is enough variety to keep students of all ages working on their math and art skills. They also have really nice quilt coloring sheets and each quilt block gives you step by step directions.

You could really challenge your older students, which I plan to do (4th and 5th grade) with more complex designs that still work off squares cut into triangles and rectangles. I like to use
summer windsJacob's ladder card trick
for the older students I give them square of colors to choose from and a image of the completed quilt square but they must figure out how to cut and arrange their squares to make the design.

Back when I taught 5th grade, in a much nicer school, I had my advanced math group also find the area of the each of the shapes. This was great practice for finding area of squares, rectangles and triangles.

You could, given the time, money, supplies and interest, take these projects into the realm of fabric, even just cutting the shapes out of fabric and gluing them down. However, I find cutting shapes from fabric without a rotary cutter to be pretty frustrating and I will not be going there.

As for the 2nd and 3rd graders, they will be learning about Faith Ringgold and doing a project many of us have done based on her book "Tar Beach."
I will have the students draw, or collage, or a combo of both, a picture of them flying over our neighborhood or city. Around the picture they create students put squares of fabric to create a patchwork quilt border. Last year I tried to have the kids make the squares out of fabric. Our school scissors will not under any circumstances cut fabric. So I tried the paper cutter...that worked a bit better but not good enough for me to cut enough squares for around 200 students. I had seen another teacher do this project and use some wonderful Roylco decorative papers as the "fabric" squares. I think that is a great idea. I happen to have a stack of scrapbook paper from a teacher who gave up her scrapbook hobby so we will use those in place of the Roylco. I hope for better results this year...ones that I could even post~

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you know this, but you don't need fancy fabric scissors to cut fabric. You just need one designated classroom set of Fiskars kids scissors. We bought regular kids scissors and just use them ONLY for fabric. They are tucked away in a clearly labeled envelope. They lose their ability to cut fabric when you use them on paper. Even one time on paper will dull them for fabric and vice-versa. So, just get one set and keep them separate. The Fiskars guy told me that at an art convention once.