School sews up lesson in history
Everybody who visits Sen. Jack Taylor’s office at the Capitol Building learns a little bit about Colorado, compliments of Sunset Elementary School.
They also learn a little about the school.
“We’re known across Colo–rado,” teacher Jim Vorhies said. “Sunset Elementary School is on the map.”
Vorhies was glad to continue a tradition that teacher Lu Garrett started in the 1980s. Each year for the past eight years, his class has designed a quilt that illustrates the best of Colorado. The quilt hangs for a year at the School Administration Building and then for a year in Taylor’s office.
According to Vorhies, Taylor said visitors often comment on the quilt.
The project is the culmination of a lesson on Colorado history. Students choose the thing that stood out to them the most and incorporate it into a drawing.
Wyatt Oberwitte set a lofty goal for himself. He chose to draw the animals, plants and even the rocks of the Rocky Mountains.
“Because I like Colorado, and I know we have most of the Rocky Mountains in the state,” he said.
He actually requested to be placed in Vorhies’ class because of the quilt project.
“I like drawing, and I like drawing with a lot of detail,” he said.
He knew then he would be making a quilt — he didn’t know that his work would be on display for so many to see.
“I thought we were just going to make it,” he said. “I thought just people in the class would see.”
Students choose what they’ll put on their own square, though Vorhies asks for volunteers to do the state flag, state seal and state dinosaur.
The first year Vorhies did the project, the students did the sewing, but increasing assessments have meant they can’t take that time anymore.
Now, volunteers collect the students’ pictures, duplicate them with fabric that the students select and cut them into quilt squares. Then one volunteer takes the finished squares and sews them into a single quilt.
This year’s quilt has 24 squares — 23 created by students and one that is their class picture.
“It’s a huge project and I’ve been very fortunate to have just a huge group of volunteers,” Vorhies said.
Students make copies of their pictures to use for presentations. They research their specific items and write about them, then they read what they’ve written at a school presentation and at the annual quilt exchange at the School Administration Building.
“It’s a wonderful culmination activity, and it’s something the kids and their parents and their grandparents enjoy,” Vorhies said.
Makayla Camilletti chose to draw Columbines because they’re colorful and rare.
“And because there’s a lot of stuff in books about it so it’s easier to research,” she said.
Although the project deals with history and writing, research is a major component.
“I tell kids ‘I don’t necessarily want you to know every state capital, but I do want you to be able to find that information. That, to me, is the more important of the skills,” Vorhies said.
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In another setting, Skiers thrive in cold weather.