The Quiltmaker’s Gift
In the first part of our two-part December classroom lesson in First and Second Grade, we read The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau and discussed the joys of giving and consequences of greed. This story is so beautiful. I knew it was a hit with the students when a boy in Ms. Hartness and Mrs. Hines’ class said loudly, “That was a great story!” as I finished reading the final page aloud. Later that day, a boy in Mrs. Chapman and Mrs. Haan’s class said, “I really liked that book!” (I checked it out of the library, so if your child wants a chance to look more closely at the amazingly detailed and complicated illustrations, check it out in January!)
In the story, a greedy king wants to buy a quilt from an elderly quiltmaker, but she does not sell her stunning creations. She gives them to the poor and homeless. She instructs the king to give away his thousands of possessions, and when he has emptied his palace, she will present him with a quilt. As the king experiences the joy of giving to those in need, he realizes that it’s not things that make us happy.
To hear the students react to the story has been inspiring. They get it. They know that although it’s fun and lucky to have a lot of “stuff,” most of us have more than we actually need. The children offered personal stories of collecting clothes and toys they’ve outgrown and donating to Goodwill and The Salvation Army. They shared special moments with family members who help them shop for others when the holiday season comes around. “It’s really great when I get lots of toys,” said a First Grade girl, “but what happens is that I can’t play with everything. The things get kind of wasted. I think I could give some away.” We all agreed that it’s ok to accept gifts because of the joy that others feel when we appreciate their thoughtfulness, but it’s not ok to be greedy.
During our follow-up lesson, we will talk about what we would give to others if we could give them anything. I can’t wait to see what our thoughtful little Wildcats will say!