Continuing our school celebration of Black History Month last year, my 1st grade students created Faith Ringgold story quilts. We started off the lesson by watching a Reading Rainbow video of Tar Beach which also showed and explained a real “tar beach” in New York City to help my students better understand. We searched for shapes in the buildings and determined they were mostly made up of rectangles and squares. We noticed how the pages in the book were outlined with quilt squares as well, which we learned are created from fabric that have stories of their own to tell. Our school librarian was getting rid of boxes of colorful book jacket covers, so I cut those into squares for our story quilt border. After creating the border, students made a cityscape collage. Lastly, they imagined themselves flying and soaring on an adventure, then drew themselves to add to their collage. All individual collages were added together to create one large quilt for each class. I love the cape and bumblebee below.
One of my favorite quotes about Tar Beach by a student (after looking curiously at the board games pictured on a table on the roof in the story): “What are those for??”
Me: “Those are games to play for fun when the families hang out up there.”
Student: “What?! How do they get their tv up there?!”
Inspired by this Artsonia project.