Quilting / Textile Lesson Plans

Quilting / Textile Lesson Plans

(Quilting and Textile Related from an Ethnic Perspective)


Adinkra Cloth: Grade level 3 – 12. By Michelle Dressler.

African Crafts: For 3rd and 4th graders – two fiber related lessons are included (scroll down the page to access), one on tie-dying; one on African cloth.

African Painted and Dyed Cloth: Designed as background for a lesson plan.

African Textiles: Lesson plan constructed for a 10th grade World History unit.

Art and Life in Africa Project: This will take you to the Unit Design Database Index where you can view all of the lesson plans. The ones that focus on fiber are: Plan # 003 – High School, Fiber Arts; Plan # 010 – 2nd grade, Symbols in Textiles; Plan # 023 – Grade K-5, Cloth-Wrapped Dolls; Plan # 028 – Grade 4-6, Creating Patterns on Textiles; Plan # 039 – Grade 2, Textiles Convey Meaning Through Pattern and Color; Plan # 040 – Grade K, African Textile Designs are Created by Weaving or Stamping; Plan # 043 – Elementary, Fabric patterns/African Peoples (one look at the similarities and differences among Peoples); Plan # 047 – Primary Grades, African Patterns and Symbols.

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions. Heidi Weber, a teacher grades K-6 in Madeira City School, Goshe, OH has developed a lesson plan to accompany this book by Margaret Musgrove. [Click Here to Order Paperback Click Here to Order Hardcover]

Building a Loom for Weaving Kente Cloth: This is a guide to building a strip-cloth loom as used by Kente weavers in Ghana.

Cotton Spinning: Includes supplies needed and instructions for ginning, finger and spindle spinning.

Crayon Batik : Grades K-12. Art project developed by Barbara Sonek. Scroll down the page.

Fabric Patterns/African Peoples: Elementary. Becky Kobos. Students can begin to understand the commonality found between Peoples by looking at designs in fabric. They can also begin to explore the way that repeated design can form a more complicated pattern.

Kente Cloth. Grades 3-12. Art project developed by Barbara Sonek. Scroll down the page.

Kente Cloth Teacher Activity Sheet: Kindergarten. This lesson plan is designed for use in conjunction with internet access. Includes a full script of text for the teacher and step by step instructions for each aspect of the activity.

Kente Paper Weaving: Grade 2.

Map of Africa: Outline map.

Mbuti Worksheet:: Grades 7-12. Developed by the Berkeley Art Museum. It includes: Background; Mbuti Visual Motifs; Class Activities; Vocabulary Terms; and links to various aspects of the Mbuti exhibit.

Small Loom Weaving : Build small triangular looms, like those used by African children.

Textiles Convey Meaning Through the Use of Pattern and Color: Grade 2. Stephanie Hnesh. Students develop an understanding of the relationship between different colors and patterns, and the messages they convey to a group of people; are exposed to a variety of messages through African textiles; and discuss colors and their meanings both for their own culture, and for the Asante people.

The Weaving Turtle: African Textiles. This was developed by Orlando Mihich of the Joan of Arc Junior High School, Community School District 3, New York City. What his students (all inner city kids) have accomplished is outstanding. LOGO Foundation information is posted.


Abby’s Quilt: An Amalgam of Literature, Culinary Art, Visual and Auditory Art: 1st grade. Extensive. By Sandra L. Devonshire. This curriculum unit has been prepared for use during Black History Month. The population to be targeted is a predominately African American group of first graders with limited background in Black History. The unit is intended to familiarize students with African American traditions and their impact on contemporary life. The curriculum will cover four areas: cooking, quilting, music and storytelling.

Artifacts We Don’t Dig Up: This site is a lesson plan from the Partners in Education website. The objective is for students to describe the physical and social significance of artifacts. A report form is included. Quilts made by African-Americans are used as a focus.

Creating a Mural : This is a site created by the University of Houston that focuses on John Biggers and examines each of the steps that he goes through in creating a mural. At the end, you are carried through each of the steps to create your own mural.

Daughters Come of Age In Women’s Fiction: High School. Dianne Marlowe. Lesson Plan One: The Story Quilt. Also uses "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker. The main objective is to improve students’ ability to respond to, reflect on, and make connections between literature and their own lives. Using fiction written by women, students will explore the character development of daughters who are depicted in the literature. In addition, they will explore ways in which these daughters discover and claim their own identities, in some cases losing innocence, in other cases rebelling, and in other cases emulating their mothers. Fiction written by women will be the lens through which students will explore the roles of these daughters in their families. All of these issues will be focal points for students to examine their own experiences, as daughters or as sons, in the process of coming of age and in the roles they assume in their own families.

"Everyday Use" by Alice Walker: Exceptional – it’s a "Gaphic Organizer for Active Reading"

Hidden in Plain View: History Standard Two and the Underground Railroad Quilt: 8th Grade. Fran O’Malley. In this lesson, students will employ pieces of the code that Williams, Tobin and Dobard present to construct their own Underground Railroad quilt. In the process, teachers are encouraged to lead students into an analysis of the credibility of historical evidence as it relates particularly to the transmission of Ozella McDaniel Williams’ story.
Includes goals, objectives, materials, procedure, assessment, tips and handouts.

History In Quilts: Grades 3 – 5. Quilting continues to be largely a home-based form of art engaged in primarily by women. Heighten your students’ awareness of how quilts have reflected and continue to reflect the lives of the people who create them, and of how quilts record the cultural history of a particular place and time. This theme of History in Quilts contains two separate lessons that can stand alone or be taught in conjunction with one another.

Paint A Quilt: Developed by the Michigan Historical Center. Uses quilts and quilting as a method for teaching about the civil war; math component included.

Quilt Lesson Plans: Several different ones compiled on the website of Deborah Hopkinson, author of Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt.

Quilt Maps Out Route to Freedom: Not an actual lesson plan. This article shares a great idea for creating the quilt in the book, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt and using it to teach about the Underground Railroad.

Quilting in American Culture: Extensive syllabus for a course designed in 1999 by Sarah Dangelas. Although designed to examine quilting in general, there are extensive segments that focus on African and Native Americans.

Quilts: An Integrated Unit for 1st/2nd Grade: This is the link to the Rationale for this most comprehensive unit which draws heavily on the use of quilts and quilting by African-Americans. It was developed by Mary Beth Martin (an Assistant Teacher in the Year Long Project, an innovative student teaching program in the College of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) as an integrated unit for first/second grade. Each component includes: Objectives; Materials; Procedure; Evaluation; Re-Teaching/Extension. I’m not a teacher, but this appears to be exceptional.

  • Overview
  • Unit Goals and Objectives
  • Culminating Activity – Class Quilt
  • Unit Bibliography
  • Story Quilts: This lesson begins the study of Faith Ringgold and is the beginning piece to a project that takes about four or five thirty minute work periods. Tar Beach is read and lesson introduced as a whole group and additional Faith Ringgold books and activities follow.
  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt: This lesson extends from the Faith Ringgold author study which looks at slaves escaping to freedom after reading Ringgold’s Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky and reading and watching Jeanette Winter’s Follow the Drinking Gourd. This lesson is rich in social studies content with the investigations about the lives of slaves and also ties in a function of quilts by African Americans. This look at quilts, having such an important role as a route to freedom, will help the children see the historical connection that we have to quilts outside of the quilting bees and importance in our personal family histories.
  • Quilting and Combinations (Math [Problem Solving] and Language Arts): This lesson will be introduced to the whole class through the reading of Valerie Flournoy’s The Patchwork Quilt. The activity will be carried out during our math problem solving time. During this time the class is broken into three skill level groups. One group will be working with me on this activity, another with my cooperating teacher on a different problem, and the third group will be working independently on an extension activity from a prior lesson. The activity will be carried out over three days in order to meet with all three groups. The activity will also be slightly adapted to meet the skill level of each group.
  • Design Your Own Quilt Pattern (Math [Geometry] and Lanuage Arts)
  • Fiber Books (Science and Language Arts)
  • Fibers From Plants and Animals (Science and Writing)
  • Quilt Patterns with TexTiles (Math & Social Studies)
  • Quilt Pattern Designs (Math & Social Studies)
  • Quilt Sharing (Social Studies, Language Arts and Math)
  • Transmission of Family Histories: The book Tanya’s Reunion by Valerie Flourney is the sequel to The Patchwork Quilt by Flourney, that we read earlier in the unit. The first story was about the experience of a family making a quilt together and how the different patches provide reminders of special occasions and the members of the family. This story branches out into the extended family as they are preparing for a family reunion. The family gathers many important family artifacts that provide different memories and representations of their history. The quilt is one of these artifacts, along with a wide variety of other things. The stories are passed down through the generations and the artifacts provide constant reminders and hold many of the family stories.

The book will be shared to the whole class and as a class we will generate the possible interview questions. Then each student will go to a member of their family to interview about a family artifact or family story.

Quilts of Faith : Fifth Grade by Tenia Boone. : This lesson is used to introduce Faith Ringgold, one of the most instrumental artists whose works portray things that occurred during the New Negro Movement. Students will hear a summary of quilts that this artist created about this movement and compose a classroom quilt about historic events that are happening currently in the world today.

Slave Quilts and the Underground Railroad:Grades 4 – 6. Shari L. Raymond. Students will actively engage in the tactile process of visual arts to design and create an example of a Runaway Slave Quilt through interpretation of knowledge.

Slave Quilts: Stitched From the Soul Lesson Plan: PTA (Picture This America) Lesson Plan based on Stitched From the Soul by Gladys-Marie Fry.

Springtime in Memphis: At Night, 1979. Developed by ArtsEdNEt, site provides clickable images for very closeup views of this quilt by Michael Cummings. Information is give about his biographical background, the cultural context of this work, the medium in which it is rendered, and the themes developed. Discussion questions and activities appropriate for Elementary, Middle School and High School students are provided.

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt: Geography – Economics Lessons. Grade Level 5. This is an extensive lesson plan developed by Patricia King Robeson for the Montgomery County Public Schools. It includes: Duration; Economic concepts; Geography Themes; MSPAP Economic and Geography Outcomes and Indicators; Vocabulary; Materials; Teacher Background; Lesson Development (Review/Motivation – Webring Activity – Story Discussion – Conclusion/Closure – Thoughtful Applications of Knowledge).

The African-American Experirence: A Research Quilt: Grades 6 – 8 and 9 – 12. Kimberly Emanuel. This activity introduces students to the research process as they investigate the contributions of African American leaders of the 1900s. Each student constructs a quilt square highlighting the achievements of an individual. The class shares the finished quilt with the community.

The Art of the Quilt: 4th Grade – developed by Sylvia Sheretz of the Yale-New Have Teachers Institute. This curriculum unit on "The Art of the Quilt" designed for a 4th grade elementary art class has broad potential for teaching many things: history, math, culture, organizational structures of art (elements of art, principles of design and how they effect the overall beauty of the quilt) and community (how quilts were traditionally put together by a whole group of people helping each other). Students will have the opportunity to make three different types of fabric made in West Africa while learning of the historical and cultural connections these designs have to African American quilts. They will also learn about and make examples of many different kinds of quilts: traditional pattern quilts, story quilts and crazy quilts. We will look at the effect quilts have had on other arts as well.

The Web of Life: The Art of John Biggers: Developed by the ArtsEDNet, this site provides extensive resources for Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE). Each lesson provides suggested activities and approaches adaptable for upper elementary through secondary. An Interactive Symbol Search is also included.


An Integrated Unit on Hmong Story Cloth: Middle School level. This was developed by Teresita A. Bartolome. Includes: Background; Goal; Time Required; Materials Needed; Linking Past to Present and Present to Past; Procedures; Extension Activities; Extensions Quilting Activities; Bibliography.

Chiang Xiong: Story Cloth. by Ann Cappetta and Donna Fitzgerald. Art Education; v42 n4 p35-36 Jul 1989. [Best bet for finding this one is through the archives or the microfiche section of your local library]. It describes a lesson plan that introduces students in grades 10-12 to the decorative arts as a vehicle for exploring the cultural framework as a means of communicating various aspects of the human experience. Students design a story cloth based on a visual symbol they have developed to represent a human issue such as famine or war.

The Hmong and the Storycloth: How Traditions and Cultures are Transmitted through Folklore and Art. Developed by the Asia Society, it includes: Materials; Lesson Objectives; Procedures for 1) exploration of tradition and culture through the medium of art; exploration of how traditions are being changed and developed through the succession of a new generation; and 3) exploration of preserving traditions through the mediums of art in our own and other cultures. A Handout on "Brief History of the Hmong and the Storycloth Traditions" is included.


Lesson Plan: 4th Grade. Goal is for students to develop a paper quilt biography block. Uses Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Debora Hopkins and The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco. Includes Subject Area; Curriculum Links; Objectives; Materials; Time; Scope & Sequence; Evaluation.

Quilt Blocks: Geometry with a Cultural Warmth: This was developed by Patty Winkler at the Michael E. Debakey High School for Health Professions and spans geometry, social sciences, clothing and textiles, art. Included are: Overview; Objectives; Materials Needed; Procedures; Evaluation; Resource Materials. Hawaiian quilting, Early American/European patchwork quilting and African-American quilting are highlighted.


Button Blankets: Life in an Eskimo Village: Life in an Eskimo Village: This lesson plan for grades 1-3 was developed by Elizabeth Bash of the Rex Bell Elementary School in Las Vegas, NV. This lesson explores life in a Northwest Coast Indian village. Students will be able to explore customs of Alaskan natives through listening to a story, by locating Alaska and the Northwest Coast on a map, and by designing and creating a token button blanket. Includes: Standards; Time; Materials; Objectives; Procedures; Resources. NOTE: The original site is no longer accessible, but a lot of the info was cached by Google.

Native Quilts Curriculum from the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI): An exciting and informative curriculum has been developed by the museum’s Education Department to support the exhibit To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditions. Four distinct lesson plans correspond with the exhibition sections: Origins, Honoring, Design and Community. Structured for independent classroom use throughout the school year, the curriculum utilizes contemporary objects such as quilts to present a Native perspective on historical events and contemporary issues. The materials may be adapted to all learning levels. Instructions on how to receive a free copy are posted.

Quilting in American Culture: Extensive syllabus for a course designed in 1999 by Sarah Dangelas. Although designed to examine quilting in general, there are extensive segments that focus on African and Native Americans.

Weaving as a Way of Life: Developed by ArtsEdNet, this curriculum introduces students to Navajo culture and its art world through weaving. Students will analyze the ways that design elements repeat to create patterns in Navajo weaving and will make compositions based on the repetition of design elements.