Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wall of Remembrance Quilt

One of my (and I think my students’) favorite culminating activities when we learn about the Holocaust is our Holocaust Remembrance Quilt. This is a collage of the kids’ artwork reflecting on what they have learned. Unavoidably, this is a tough, heavy and depressing topic for 8th graders. It’s nice to have something at the end that allows them to get their feelings out and be positive, if they want to. I give them all a handout with the directions, and a 4”x4” square drawn on it. In the square they simply have to draw, and write, if they wish, something that symbolizes the Holocaust to them. I give them the following guidelines:

  • Choose something that stuck with you during your study of the Holocaust.
  • It can be a design which commemorates an event or person.
  • It can be a hopeful design, looking toward the future.
  • It does not have to be sad. However, it should be reverent. It should in no way mock or make light of the Holocaust.
  • Please put some thought into it and make it personal to you.
  • You may draw or use a collage technique. However, it should not simply be a printout of a picture from the internet or clip art.
  • You will not be graded on how well you draw. Instead, you will be graded on the thoughtfulness and insight you put into the square.
  • This will be a culmination of the unit, so it should reflect your learning in the 3 weeks of study.
  • It may be in color or black and white, whatever you feel appropriate.
  • It may contain words as well as pictures, or be just a picture.
After they turn them in, I cut them all out. It’s important that they are as close to the exact same size as possible. Then I figure out how big to make the quilt. If I need more squares, I will put some of my favorite Holocaust quotes in. I also include a square with the year on it.

To assemble, I try to space them out so there is a good mix of color and black and white. I tape them on the back with Scotch tape to form the horizontal sections. Then I tape the horizontal sections together to form the quilt. I have found that it’s best to back it with construction paper. It holds up much better! Finally, I have it laminated and hang it in my room.

The kids find this very satisfying – to put what they learn and feel into a picture. The pictures run the gambit from amazingly detailed to simple. As with anything, there are kids who don’t do a stellar job, but when put together, they all look nice. I have all of the previous year’s hanging in my room, so the kids see the project all year and look forward to it. They also feel a sense of pride and legacy knowing I will keep theirs up for years to come as well.

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