Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quilts in the Classroom: Geometry + Collaboration

photo of: Quilts in the Classroom: Art Meets Geometry RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach

QUILTS as Community Collaboration
QUILTS as Learning Vehicles
QUILTS as magic-carpet ride to Geometry
QUILTS as Art: Process + Product = Priceless
e.) All of the Above!!

If you're brand new here under my rainbow banner, let me welcome you with my whole heart and squeal my appreciation to Pinterest for bringing you here. {Yes, I now have over 100K P-followers and I've pinned 23K ideas for you there, so I take P very seriously.} 

If you're popping back through after a hiatus away, let me give you a hearty hug for your return. You're going to be glad you popped back to see this article. 
I just know it! AND... If you're a regular reader here -- I hope that you know how much I adore you. Let me say THANKS once more for your continued support and encouragement.  

This will become my favorite RoundUP of all time. QUILTS! Classroom Quilts!

Fabric Illustrations from my First Picture Book, "You're Wonderful" 

Quick intro for the newbies. I'm a music-lady, morphed into an Author-Illustrator of children's picture books. I make my book illustrations from fabric as small quilts, which we have professionally scanned so that text can be added and hardback books printed. I am a LUV'er of all things geometric: shapes and patterns get my heart pumping. Combine those shapes with lots of color and I'm immersed in heaven-on-earth happiness.

I travel all across the country -- and around the world to share my happy work.
{See the cache of articles from my tour across Europe to our Army bases, or start with my articles specific to Reggio Emilia, ITALY!!!} 
I do my best to document the excellence-in-education that I observe during my Author-Illustrator school visits so that I can share it with you here. 
Inspiration! Joy!! QUILTS!!!

photo of: ABC Kindergarten Quilt of Children's Art via RainbowsWithinReach

Let's get this quilt show started. 
We'll begin in the classroom of my brand new friend, Lizz up in the heart of Door County, Wisconsin where we have our summer hiatus home. Lizz is a spectacular individual who I have lauded here previously on several occasions. Last summer Lizz was gracious to give me a tour through her kinder-kingdom while she was getting her room set up for the new year. Our time together was like a SUPER show and tell. 

For decades. YES. DECADES. Lizz has had her kinder-class make a quilt of their experience together. These first several quilts featured here today are from her collection and are indeed made of fabric. Each square has lovingly been crafted by one of her beloved kindergarten students. Different years, different themes, but each year a finished quilt is created. Each year she finds a volunteer to actually 'quilt' (sew together and finish) the children's artwork. Yes. She also has an affinity for rainbows, as displayed in the first quilt's photo above! How could we not become friends? Enjoy some of the alphabet themed details. 

photo of: Kindergarten ABC Quilt Squares via RainbowsWithinReach

Another year. Another Quilt. 
Lizz Lessons to Last a Whole Year! 

photo of: Our Year in Kindergarten Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach

Here's the enlarged tribute to Mrs. T --
who is larger-than-life in the hearts of her kinders!
What do you like best? 
The drawing? The invented spelling? The adoration?
A treasure forever!
photo of: Kindergarten Quilt Square "School's Really Fun" via RainbowsWithinReach
Kinder Quilt Square: Magic Marker on Fabric 
photo of: Kindergarten Year Highlights via RainbowsWithinReach

Another year. Another quilt! 
Very neutral. Very different.

photo of: Kindergarten Quilt Memories via Quilt RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Kindergarten Quilt Memories via Quilt RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach

Here's the finished result from another year's effort. 
"Under the Sea"
This finished work is obviously back on the 'bright' channel. 

photo of: Kindergarten Under the Sea Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

GEOGRAPHY? Did someone say geography?
Quilts and Geography? 
Keep in mind: 
Gifted + Talented Lizz has a different theme for EVERY year! 

photo of: Kindergarten "Our World" Quilt: Geography Meets Quilting via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Kindergarten "Our World" Quilt: Geography Meets Quilting via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Kindergarten "Our World" Quilt: Geography Meets Quilting via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Kindergarten "Our World" Quilt: Geography Meets Quilting via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Kindergarten "Our World" Quilt: Geography Meets Quilting via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Kindergarten "Our World" Quilt: Geography Meets Quilting via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

One final Lizz-Lovely.
An Alphabet-in-RAINBOW splendor. 
How clever is this upper + lower case letter beauty?

photo of: Kindergarten "Our World" Quilt: Geography Meets Quilting via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

Looking through my memory card from last summer, I see these next two random quilt squares and I have to apologize because I apparently didn't get a photo of the quilt to which they belong. There was so much to see and we were talking non-stop, so I obviously lost my train of thought. You'll have to use your imagination as to what these individual pieces look like in a finished quilt. How affirming to use the "I Can" language and capture it in a quilt square! 

photo of: Kindergarten "I Can" Quilt Square Drawings via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

Is this cursory look at Lizz' incredible collection filling you with ideas? I hope so! Perhaps one of your first inquiries from this point, is to see if you can find a willing candidate, capable of finishing student quilt squares into a completed quilt. When you have that talent recruited then you're off to the races!

Here's a little picture-of-a-picture for my professional scrapbook. Me. Kinders. The first quilt I made for my newest picture book. Made in Door County featuring Eagle Harbor -- complete with Wilsons stripped awning on the landmark 100+year old ice cream shop and the two church spires. The landscape that is home for these kinder-kiddos..... captured in my book! 

photo of: Author-Illustrator School Visit: comparing Quilt to Picture book Illustration with Debbie Clement

Before we leave her school complex, let me share two more 'public' quilt projects that adorn their building permanently. The first is a collaborative Artist's Residency Creation. This first one is absolutely enormous and hangs in a prominent stairwell, taking up two stories of exposed wall space. BEHOLD! 

photo of: Artist-Residency Quilt Creation via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Artist-Residency Quilt Creation via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Artist-Residency Quilt Creation via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

One more work, a masterpiece of Quilt Art. This one hangs in the backstage area of the community theater (which is a part of the school complex.... it is where we saw Keb Mo's concert last summer and the Smothers Brothers an earlier season.) 

photo of: Batik Quilt of Animals from Student Art via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Batik Eagle from Student Quilt

From this point of our RoundUP the remainder of our 'quilts' are created with a variety of media, but not necessarily fabric, perhaps not technically 'quilted' (with batting/stuffing.) All of these next projects still have all of the cooperation, collaboration and delayed gratification of the traditional fabric quilts featured from Lizz' room. Before we leave Door County proper, let's take a look at a ceramic quilt that greets you at Southern Door Elementary. 

photo of: Ceramic Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

Now for a variety of 'quilts' created with construction paper, that group together experiences and art from students in the classroom. We're going to be bouncing across the country, to a kaleidoscope of settings that I have visited. First off: Pataskala OH. Friendship quilt bulletin board. 

photo of: Paper Quilt: What Friendship Means to Me -- Quilt RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: "Our Freedom Quilt" via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP
Nashville, TN: Quilt Collaboration on Display in Kirkpatrick Elementary Library

photo of: "Our Family Traditions" Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP
"Our Family Traditions Quilt" Nashville, TN

photo of: "Our Family Traditions" Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP
Family Traditions Quilt: Pataskala, OH 
Take a close-up look at these individually printed quilt squares. The good news: they're beautiful. The bad news: I don't know where you can secure the 'printables' for your use. If you know the answer for 'finding' this product, by all means please leave that info in a comment and I will edit and include the info. What a great project!

photo of: "Our Family Traditions" Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

Speaking of printables that I don't know the source for......... this next one's a beauty that was on display in Hilliard, OH for the 'after-school' bunch. LUV LUV LUV it and it inspires me to want to create something of this nature to add to my digital products. Hmmmm. Give me a year or two! 

photo of: Geometric Quilt Square in Magic Marker at RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

Nashville Art Room Quilt Square
Mrs. Miller's classroom quilt was proudly on display in the hallway in Hilliard as well. Do you LUV how they have used yarn to tie it all together? Just like granny!  

photo of: Mrs. Miller's Classroom Quilt Tied with Yarn via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

Last week during my school visit here in FL where I am for a couple more weeks, I saw this work at South Daytona Beach Elementary in the kindergarten classroom. The kinders were given a simple square template and then they were to choose 16 squares of their choice to complete their quilt square. Simple and glorious! This could be replicated in the Art room or the classroom. Shapes! Geometry! Art! Collaboration!

photo of: Kindergarten Geometric Quilting: via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

On display in the kindergarten pod I found this delightful classroom quilt of photographed smiles. It's all tied together with some delightful ribbon. As you can see, the children are posed in front of a colorful backdrop quilt. I didn't 'find' the backdrop to share, but you can see how happy these kinders are in their project.

photo of: Kinder Friends Smile Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

This next example of a ceramic quilt is part of the permanent hallway display in Friendswood, Texas. I'm guessing that it was probably the ambitious Art teacher that pulled this one together. I suppose there could have been an Artist residency? 

photo of: Community School Ceramic Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

photo of: Fabric Man Kinder Creation via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP
Too Cute for Words: Gift for Teacher from Grandma's Fabric Scraps

photo of: Earth Day Quilt via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

Next up is a bulletin board I saw in Cincinnati earlier this fall on our sojourn south. It looks like a quilt that's come to life to me. I just adore the two dimensional quilt morphing into 3D, right before your eyes!! 

photo of: Quilted Bulletin Board via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

This winter scene has to be one of my all-time favorite collaborative bulletin boards. It was on display earlier this winter in Columbus, OH at my 'alma-mater' the Childhood League Center. I am wild about the 'quilted' trees that were made by preschool children with special needs. The volunteer helped direct the painting of the backdrop canvas.

photo of: Winter Quilt Collaboration via RainbowsWithinReach Quilt RoundUP

The bulletin board above yearns to be turned into a permanent quilt in my mind. It is a paper bulletin board that I saw in Milwaukee. The close-up of the ceramic bulletin board below was also part of the public Art on display at St. Marcus School. Another truly one-of-a-kind setting. 

The quilts above and below are part of the backdrop in our Sister Bay, WI public library. They seem fitting to include in this comprehensive RoundUP. The colors quilt is in the children's department. The book readers are right above the circulation desk. 

The "First Grade Friendship Quilt" was a creation I say last year in Worthington, OH. I'm guessing that this classroom teacher has a penchant for quilting. The students have been directed in both writing and Art designs in their quilt piece contributions. I featured it back in real time, but it deserves another chance in the spotlight!
photo of: First Grade Friendship Quilt: Drawing and Writing combined
First Grade Paper Friendship Quilt with Writing Samples

photo of: First Grade Mural of Writing integrated with Artwork

This HUMONGOUS quilt, under protective glass is right here in Vero Beach at the Community Church preschool in their big-big-big hallway. I just saw it for the first time last week and knew that I wanted to include it with all of its peers for this over-view. 

Now it's time to shift gears a bit and I want this section of  RoundUP effort to highlight the projects that have been created directly in response to 'my work.' The upcoming images are quilts that have been designed in response to my books. Many are on display in time for my arrival as "Artist-in-the-School" for my Author-Illustrator school visits. First up. MAJOR collaboration to greet me in Pennsylvania. 

Let's get started with some young children in the metro Cleveland area who welcomed me to their Head Start program building with these amazing collages, quilted together in time for my arrival. LUV the color! LUV the shapes! LUV seeing the collaboration! 

Both the image above and the one below were two of the classroom door decorations that greeted me in Clyde, OH at the old Vine Street Elementary (a building that is there no more.) I remembered I had these images in an o-l-d power-point presentation. I wonder how long ago these were created? Maybe about eight years? This was one of my VERY first author-illustrator school visits. "You're Wonderful" is now about 8.5 years old. I checked the copyright date to be sure. Principal Peggy is now retired and we kick up our heels together here on the FL beach! Small world. 

St. Paul Elementary in Westerville, OH is another 'favorite haunt' of mine and we orchestrate an 'end-of-the-year' visit every spring. The kinder-teachers are pretty famous for directing their students in response to my book's work. Here a bulletin board from last spring. Yes. To me it looks like a gigantic quilt! 

photo of: Kindergarten Bulletin Board Group Collaboration in Preparation of Author-Illustrator School Visit with Debbie Clement

Here's the response from a way-back year, from that same ancient power-point. Each student is photographed 'performing' their favorite sign-language-sign from my song-turned-book. They are then directed to create their own quilted border to surround the photo. These individual pieces were then quilted into a major bulletin board. These are the only photos that I have of this installation. It was fantastic! 

One year at NAEYC, I was stopped in the conference hall by an enthusiastic Canadian Kindergarten teacher who had met me the year before. She went on to tell me how I had inspired a HUGE quilt project that she spent a year to bring to fruition. The best news? She remembered to send me some documentation. This next collage is the evidence of the outcome of all of their effort. Each of her students created THEIR OWN fabric quilt! With the help of many volunteers, the kinder-students actually used sewing machines and were involved in piecing their pieces together! Oh, Wow!

She told me of the GREAT REVEAL, where all of the kinders had their completed quilts for graduation night and FINALLY showed them off to their parents, followed by a grand presentation of my "You're Wonderful" song, sung in sign language. Sniff-Sniff.

There have been some amazing author-greetings as you can see. Nothing prepared me for this spectacular colossal, collaborative, community quilt created by 330 kindergarten kiddos under the direction of their Art teacher. Imagine my response upon walking into their gym to see this! 

Here's another view of the same oh-so-WONDERFUL display! 
The brilliant Tina Smith, in charge of the school's library has begun emailing about a return visit! 

photo of: Early Education Emporium: Resources Under One Umbrella via PreK+K Sharing

From the work of kinder-kids above to the sophisticated design images of third graders below. Look what these thank you's look like when quilted together. I haven't mentioned in this article that I have a brief two year stint as an elementary school Art teacher. These are the sort of projects that make me catch my breath in appreciation! 

Here's a "thank you" kinder-quilt that I recently received after my author visit in Colorado to the school of our WonderPeppers out there in the foothills of the Littleton Rockies. Seeing the individual hand drawn impressions of each of the kinders makes me smile from ear-to-ear. Do I have the best job, or what? 

photo of: Quilted Thank You for Author Visit via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: "Tall Giraffe" Drawing on Thank You Quilt via RainbowsWIthinReach
Kindergarten Quilt Square Depicting, "Tall Giraffe" Adoration
Now we're going to jump to my most recent picture book, "Red, White and Blue" and a few of the quilted responses that have transpired in response to the quilted illustrations that I created for this most recent NATIONALLY AWARD WINNING effort of mine. (Did you notice that I raised my voice just a tad?) 

This first example is very near and dear to my heart. It was created in New York City in time for my arrival in their midst. My song and ultimately the picture book version of my song's lyrics, are my response to 9-11. So to have the opportunity to share my work in the big apple was a professional high-light. (Thanks to Nili the Ohio transplant for making all of those arrangements.) 

Here's a patriotic quilt collaboration  welcome at Clyde's Main Street Elementary to greet me during my most recent return to those teachers, now in a building across town. My two days in their midst was a gift orchestrated in honor of Principal Peggy's retirement and our previous fun together. 

Here are some construction paper quilts created for my school visit on September 11th that launched this year of school visits. These were quilted in construction paper by first graders at Southern Door Elementary. Simple. Graphic. Geometric. Patriotic. Collaborations. 
photo of: Red, White and Blue: Construction Paper Quilts in Honor of 9-11 (in response to "Red, White and Blue" picture book)
Construction Paper 'Quilting for "Red, White and Blue"

Final Two Page Spread for "Red, White and Blue" 

My picture book concludes with an extravaganza of FIREWORKS.... so its a joy to see how fireworks are conveyed and then quilted together by students. Here's a community quilt at St. Paul Elementary a while back. Marble painted quilt squares surround student photographs. We're posing one very special student to capture the enthusiasm. You're allowed to be teacher's pet -- when you're the daughter! 

From central Ohio to another COLOSSAL COLLABORATION this one created in central Illinois. Another INCREDIBLE Kinder Quilt. This one crafted by creating construction paper 'fabric' with marble painting, and then quilting the stars and stripes together. 

As you can see, I have been truly blessed by teachers who have been the 'mid-wives' of my work. Many teachers have gone beyond excellence and have given birth to amazing responses, by directing their students to create one-of-a-kind glories. 

Here's what mature second graders made in anticipation of my arrival to their classroom. I made this visit AFTER this article went to press. Zoom into the future to see the details of this visit in Indiana.

photo of: "Red, White and Blue" Bulletin Board by Second Graders at RainbowsWithinReach

Further into the future I had the incredible opportunity of having a mini artist-residency. I got to work with first graders in South Carolina as they constructed construction paper quilt squares to be assembled into a collaborative finished quilt. Follow this link to see more of that fun as it unfolds.

Author-Illustrator School Visit: Artist Residency "Red, White and Blue" Patriotic Response

Only once in the time that I have been an author-illustrator have I been gifted with a physical, fabric quilt. See what the Head Start children created for me to keep as my very own, FOREVER! The children voted on their favorite quilt and created their own to present to me during my rainbow visit in their midst. 

*****Note from the future. My school visit to Dixon, IL included over a dozen of K+1st quilts. 

Click the picture to hop over to those ideas! 

To conclude today's encyclopedia of Quilts-in-Education, I've asked my fellow bloggers for examples that they have created fron their blog hoppers. So enjoy these diverse experience from a variety of my peers. Let's start off with some examples from Deborah Stewart of "Teach Preschool." Here's the link to her explanation of integrating paper quilting with her young students. You'll want to go to her article to see the children exploring a 'real' quilt and their exercise in putting these together. 

Here's another of Deborah's brilliant projects just getting underway. You really will want to follow this link to see how the project unfolds from this point and looks upon completion. I'm not going to give away the big reveal. It's fun to see how she gets things underway. Providing the grid as pictured below is a brilliant way to get your project's foundation established. 

Over at "Creative Connections for Kids" author Kristi shares the inspiration that she has received from the picture book "The Quiltmaker's Gift." Here's one possibility of responding to the book -- by making 'fabric' like designs on construction paper shapes. Go over to her blog to see her other thoughts and project ideas.

Now take a look at the first couple of steps needed over at "Toddler Approved" outlined by author Kristina, having been by Kristi above to create their own 'Read for the Record' project. You'll have to pop over to Toddler Approved to see how this project gets 'finished.' 

Here's another "Toddler Approved" blog article that is filled with all sorts of interesting insight on 'problem solving' as it relates to quilting. Head over to learn the 'rules' that evolved in relation to creating quilts. Kristi has additional insight where it comes to quilts and math. That idea is conveyed with tally marks here, that involved counting-the-elements within a quilt. 

One final idea from Kristi at "Toddler Approved" is to make your own family quilt. 
She is brilliant at outlining every step to create a truly wonderful and meaningful project.
This would make a brilliant keepsake for those long-distance family members....
follow this link to see EXACTLY how a truly novel heirloom can be created by your children --
whatever their age.  

If your children -- or students are a little older, I know you will definitely want to see what Lora's wonders are doing over at "Kid's Creative Chaos." Her children are responding to the work of Faith Ringold. Classic. Favorite. LUV. 

Homeschool Folk Art Lesson Easy Paper Craft Quilt Squares Jakes Journey

I hope that I'm introducing you to some new blogs and bloggers. 
You're going to be delighted to see how Jennifer directs, QUILT TWISTER, from her blog, 
"The Good Long Road." How much fun. Come see which book she pairs this gross motor fun for her curlie tops. 

If you're looking for COMPLETE instructions for making your first sewn quilt. 
Look no further. Tammy at "Housing a Forest" has done all the homework. 

We're nearing the conclusion for now. 
One last entry from the blog, "JDaniel4'sMom" as they investigate a picture book together.

Math Game

***I'm still adding to this MEGA MEGA MEGA RoundUP. Will you do me a favor and pin your favorite (or two, or three) so that this effort has a chance to see the light-of-day? I'm forever grateful for your pins! 

-- Debbie -- 
Pin It Tuesdays



  1. Love this idea!!

    1. Thanks so much!!! As you guessed, I LUV LUV LUV it too!!


  2. As a quilter and former geometry teacher, LOVE this post!! The quilts are beautiful!!

    1. I am so appreciative of your taking the time to introduce yourself, Carrie. As you can imagine this post was time-intensive: LOL. A labor-of-love for sure. I'm glad that you appreciate it!

      Send it on to your quilter-geometry friends!


  3. Wow! Sharing this. What visuals!

    1. Thanks so much, Susan. I really appreciate your sending it out further into the big world. I'm so grateful for your continued support.



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Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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