THE ALPHABET ATLAS TEACHER GUIDE
Alphabet Atlas Teacher Guide.pdf
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|This Winslow Press Teacher Guide has been designed to be of use to the
classroom teacher by offering enrichment activities and discussion materials
to complement The Alphabet Atlas. These activities can help students
to better understand and enjoy the story as well as assist teachers in implementing
strategies and experiences that support their district's learning standards
for language arts.
The Guide presents a story synopsis and outlines pre-reading activities. It also presents some concepts related to the story and includes: a brief discussion of related curriculum areas; a list of vocabulary words; class discussion questions; and independent study ideas related to The Alphabet Atlas. The activities are designed to cover a range of language arts skills development that meets the needs of multiple learning styles. The final part of the Guide lists additional resources (books, museums, reference materials, related Internet Web sites) for both teachers and students.
The interdisciplinary activities were developed to support the New York State Learning Standards for English Language Arts. The Standards can be downloaded from the New York State Education Department's Web site at http://www.nysed.gov/rscs/stds/contents.html. If you have questions about specific standards applied to these activities, please call Winslow Press at 800-617-3947.
We hope this Teacher Guide will be a useful and positive part of your teaching experience!
Diane F. Kessenich
Chief Executive Officer and Publisher
|Quilts and quilting can serve as a tool for exploration of topics in the
curriculum and in children's daily lives. Family, history, the visual arts,
studies of symbolism, and even geometry are just some of the areas that
can be approached through this intimate medium.
The quilts by Adrienne Yorinks, which illustrate The Alphabet Atlas, provide a forum for talking about representation and symbolism. This is because Yorinks uses fabrics from a country, combined with fabrics that may depict an animal or plant or color associated with that place, to create a rendering of the country's map.
A quilt can be not only an illustration, but a story in itself. Our personal and collective histories may be reflected in a quilt-many cultures have quilting traditions, and quilts can be viewed as a medium for transmitting messages about family, beliefs, and history from one generation to another. Family quilts are uniquely intimate in that they usually contain fabrics from clothing belonging to family members, and may also have been made in order to commemorate an event, such as a wedding or a birth. To pass along a quilt is, literally, to hand down history. Children appreciate this tangible, material link to an invisible past.
Quilting patterns, apart from being decorative, have grown out of different personal or societal experiences. For example, during the Civil War era, quilters would incorporate particular patterns indicating which side they supported; the "Log Cabin" pattern is believed to have been named in honor of President Lincoln. Some northern quilters made quilts with abolitionist themes and patterns, like "Birds in the Air" and "Jacob's Ladder." These symbolized slaves' fight for freedom. Quilts with patterns like "The North Star" are said to have been used as a special code by people involved in the Underground Railroad—a certain quilt hung a certain way on the porch might indicate that that house was a refuge, for instance.
African-American quilting tradition often incorporates story quilts (biblical/historical events) and with patterns and colors associated with African weaving (strips of cloth, rather than blocks); contemporary quilters in this tradition often use African fabrics, such as kente cloth, in their designs. Artist Faith Ringgold's story quilts, exhibited all over the world, take on topics from African-American history to nineteenth-century French painting.
Quilts can incorporate embroidery, appliqué, and even (as in the case of some "signature" quilts) pen-and-ink writing or drawing. Like the rest of us, very young children, will respond to the familiarity and immediacy of a quilt made from clothing scraps, as well as to its tactile appeal. The bold colors and puzzle-like pieces of many quilts make them visually exciting; identifying shapes, colors, and patterns is one way of looking, with children, at these creations.
Quilts are puzzles, stories, scrapbooks, and signals. They cover us when we dream, and they connect us to our past. As works of art, and as utilitarian objects, they are a rich source of inspiration and metaphor, and a valuable tool for learning.
United States of America
Xianggang (Hong Kong)
1. The following crossword puzzle contains some of the place, climate, product, and other words you will find in The Alphabet Atlas.
2. The Alphabet Atlas will tell you a lot about the geography of the world. Students will enjoy searching the word hunt puzzle below for words that you might find on a map.
The following questions can be used by the teacher in discussing each of Atlas's countries with students.
To help facilitate independent study, we have provided a starting list
of ideas as well as Special Project Planning Sheets to help children get
started. Some areas of interest may include the following:
animals around the world
countries of the world
1. Shapes and Patterns
a.) Your Own Atlas Have students work their way through the alphabet,
seeing how many countries they can name that begin with each letter. Locate
those countries on a globe. As a class, create your own alphabet atlas,
with each student illustrating one of the chosen countries with a "quilt,"
or collage, and writing two or three sentences to accompany it. IRA/NCTE
Standards: 3, 4, 6, 8, 12
3. Heritage Quilts
4. Creative Writing
5. Where Does It Come From?
6. A Local Quilt
8. Plant and Animal Chart
9. Word Games
Extended Learning Opportunities