I teach all Health and FCS classes in our small 7-12 school so it is very likely a student has had me before, sometimes in the same day. To keep things interesting for them (and, let’s be honest, myself) I like to switch up our first-day introduction activities.
One of the highlights of FCS 8 is sewing, so a quilt block seems like an appropriate introduction. I bring in a t-shirt quilt that I made in high school and talk about how quilts can tell a story. Then I share that they will be making a quilt block to tell a story about themselves.
I show students where the supplies are around the room and instruct them to cut their manilla poster paper into a square. Beware, this could take longer than you think. Let them struggle a bit before helping. Using a ruler to get a straight edge is an important sewing skill.
Then I talk the students through the activity. Remind them they will have a chance to explain their block so there is not really a right or wrong way to do it.
- Make a vertical line for each person in your family. They may define “family” however they want. Students like to get very technical here but are probably probing to be heard. Hear and acknowledge, then tell them to include who they want.
- “Miscarriage is hard. Include who you want.”
- “Wow! That sounds like a full house! Include who you want.”
- “Love makes a family. Include who you want.”
- Make a horizontal line for each pet. Some kids don’t have pets, some want a line for every pet they have ever had, and another wants to include their whole dairy herd.
- Make a diagonal line for each school activity that you are in or want to be in this year.
- Color the different squares.
- “Quilt” the quilt. Talk about different techniques. I show students “stitch in the ditch” by drawing a dashed line over the pencil lines.
- “Embroider” or “Applique” your name somewhere on the quilt.
Students introduce themselves by sharing a fact about themselves for each color used to decorate their quilt block. The blocks make a great bold decoration for the classroom.