Brainchild of English Teacher Turns Learning Inside Out
Sep 26, 2008 Classroom Materials 4907 Views
Sydney, Australia, April 30, 2006
An English teacher at Starr's Mill High is turning learning inside out by asking the students to create a quilt block protraying either analysis of characters, explaining themes or the author's message, ideas, beliefs or style.
The students are asked to work in groups to produce the quilt block. They have to create the design, explore available sources and styles of fabric and materials. The blocks are then put together by the teacher, Gwen Thibadeau.
"Fortunately, most of the students took home economics in middle school and learned how to sew there. I gave them a quick refresher course on sewing and using the sewing machines, they ran with it," says Thibadeau.
Two of the books which have been represented by quilts so far this year are "Fahrenheit 451" and "To Kill A Mockingbird". Another quilt being worked on at the moment is based on the book "Romeo and Juliet".
The students love creating the quilts and actually beg to start another one.
There are several spin-offs to this type of learning. Generally English is a subject where the high achieving, analytical students who are good at reading and writing excel. This type of project, with a hands-on style, allow students who are kinescetically inclined to "shine".
The brilliance of Gwen Thibadeau is that she has combined the reading, writing and kinescetic nature of learning.
Gwen came up with the idea of the quilting project while in the bath tub - pondering ways to get a grant through the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance grant.
Another spin off is that the quilts will be sold at a silent auction. There will be approx. 10 quilts raising in the order or $3000 - $4000. The students have nominated several charities who they believe are deserving of the money raised.
Gwen Thibadeau is truly a brilliant teacher. She has combined the learning skills of academically bright students and the artistically inclined students. She has incorporated the encouragement of community spirit and the giving to the less fortunate. She has also promoted the utilization of idle resources.
Maybe other teachers may incorporate these skills into their curriculum be it Science, Maths, History or Geography. The ideas are boundless. If you would like more information on creating professional looking, beautiful quilts please visit www.myspecialcraft.com