Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"You're My Hero!" Hero Portrait Quilts

This enduring theme was Heroes. I launched this unit with 4th grade to get them to look at character. At the time I taught this unit, our school had a group of students that were bused in from one of the toughest housing developments in the city. I targeted them, but I really wanted all my students to think about what made a "true hero". I wanted them to see that just because someone is famous or rich does not necessarily make them a hero. You know what I am talking about. A beautiful voice or face does not make you a hero, a beautiful soul and a giving heart does. How do you teach that?

Students made a list of people they thought were heroes. Then we came up with a definition of what a hero is, as directed by the students. Then they took another look at the list of people they had made. They were surprised to cross out their favorite celebrities and to add parents, neighbors, teachers, coaches.
Payton Manning
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

We created felt no-sew portraits by layering felt. They brought in or I printed images of the people they wanted to honor. When the quilts were assembled (I don't sew so we used tacky glue.) they hung for Youth Art (March) in the hallway that connects the Tennessee Tower (where our law makers have their offices) with the TN Capitol building (which they walk through every day that time of year). The smaller "quilts" contain coordinating paragraphs that match the portraits explaining who is depicted and why the student considered that person a hero. We were scheduled to take a field trip that March to visit the capitol and see the quilts installed but we were snowed out.

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