Thursday, 29 November 2012

Cures for the Common Core Blues: BOOKS, Vol. 6

As the granddaughter, daughter, and daughter-in-law of women who themselves sewed love into quilts that have kept generations of our family warm, I love The Keeping Quilt, and find it one of Patricia Polacco's most memorable books. It's been called her signature piece with good reason, winning the Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries in 1988, when it was first published.

From the dust jacket of the second edition: "When Patricia's Great-Gramma Anna came to America as a child, the only things she brought along from Russia were her dress and the babushka she liked to throw up into the air when she was dancing. Soon enough, though, Anna outgrew the dress and her mother decided to incorporate it and the babushka into a quilt. 'It will be like having the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night,' she said. And so it was. Together with her Uncle Vladimir's shirt, Aunt Havalah's nightdress, and an apron of Aunt Natasha's, Anna's mother made a quilt that would be passed down through their family for almost a century. From one generation to the next, the quilt was used as a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket to welcome each new child into the world." A unique family heirloom, indeed.

Multicultural books like Patricia Polacco's are invaluable tools for broadening our students' worlds, enriching their vocabulary, and giving them a greater understanding and appreciation of people who aren't just like them.

 Read this beautiful book with your kiddos, and then:
  • create an "I Have; Who Has?" game or a card sort for vocabulary
  • sequence the generations of Patricia's family
  • compare and contrast the weddings through the years
  • make a class collage of the varied uses of the quilt (in color, of course, just as in the book!)
  • let them write about a tradition in their own family
And something that was a favorite of my students? A bookmark, with some of Patricia's fabulous artwork, as a reward after completing the book study!
Such a lovely little way to remember a jewel of a book, while letting it help cure those Common Core blues!

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