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Character Education

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Digital Learning

Small Moment Stories

March 7, 2020 was the last time I went out for a meal with friends.Yeah, I know about outdoor dining, igloos, and tents, socially distanced tables, etc. I just have been afraid to try any of it. Not judging those who have made it work for them. Just not for me. Yesterday though, hubby and I met an old friend in sunny Orlando, and sat at a very distanced picnic table at an absolutely adorable little breakfast/lunch spot called Eola General. It was delicious in every way - a delicious lunch and an afternoon filled with delicious gifts of the soul. 

My mind is filled with the precious moments of today, precious moments of the past, and the promise of more precious moments to come once enough of us get vaccinated. As I dozed on and off in the car on the way home (Hubby driving, not me!), my teacher brain traveled back to that time when I convinced my sweet students that every lesson that we shared together and the time we spent learning it was like opening a precious gift. Yes! They bought it! Of course they did, because I believed in it so much myself, and they could tell. You know yourself that's how anything that you teach works. If you're really feelin' it yourself, it's easier to bring your learners along with you. We had a song to describe what we were feeling from the creative mind and studio of Lessia Bonn. Here's a little video about it that we collaborated on: Gift in This Present 

Moving from the simple thoughts of just spending an afternoon with a friend, and how precious these small moments in time are, my teacher brain circled back to teaching kids to write personal narratives by capturing and writing stories about those small moments. As "March is Reading Month" is upon us, along with "Women's History Month", and following "Black History Month", along with the uproar over newly discovered issues with Dr. Seuss, I am thinking this: How about a Faith Ringgold author study?

Faith Ringgold, artist, author, teacher, and woman of color, wrote twelve children's picture books, about small moments that stayed close to the heart and small, to small moments that became monumental ones. My favorite way to study and take mentorship from Faith Ringgold is through the Quilt Story. Ms. Ringgold combined her love of art, storytelling, and fabric design in her quilt stories. Tar Beach is a perfect place to start. It's a quilt story based on a small moment from Ringgold's childhood. The story takes place on a rooftop summer night in New York, when, as a child, Faith dreamed that she could fly. A delicious memory!

Faith Ringgold holds a special place in my heart because, in her promotion of her soon to be published (at that time) My Dream of Martin Luther King, she visited a library not too far from our school. My students were invited to present their small moment quilt stories that they had created to her. She celebrated and treated them like real authors along with the parents and teachers who attended. 

If you have ever browsed in Rainbow City Learning, you may have noticed a quilt activity or two (or twelve). It's an activity for individual or group participation that my students have loved over the years. Class created quilts make awesome displays in the classroom or hallway. I am currently working on a clickable online version as well. Stay tuned! (Join my mailing list for an upcoming free sample!) Translating a quilt activity to a story quilt is an easy leap to make. Here is a quick teacher created tutorial that you can show to your students: Small Moment Story Quilt. A story quilt basically has two elements: a central image showing a small moment and the story told in words around the border. Second and third graders should be able to write a few sentences around the border; I expect a few paragraphs from fourth and fifth graders. An alternate way to create the quilt square is to place the text in the center square and then pictures around the border. 

Here's a quick link to some of Faith Ringgold's books (not an affiliate). I was surprised to see just now that the winter of 1998 was the time that my students met Faith Ringgold. We had been creating those story quilts since school started in the fall of 1997! The years have slipped by in an instant! Yet another reason to collect as many precious moments as you can! Some of the teaching days and weeks are long, but the years just slip through your fingers! 

A few more resources that I found to bring the magic of quilt stories to your students:

Anchor Books for Small Moment Writing

Mentor Texts for Teaching Small Moments Writing

Whitney Houston: One Moment in Time

Big Love, Small Moments (I thought this one was PERFECT!)

Faith Ringgold reading Tar Beach

Learning Art Through Faith Ringgold's History

Getting to Know Faith Ringgold

A related blog post about using the "Gift in This Present" theme can be found here: The Gift of Time

Happy March, everyone, however you choose to celebrate it! 

For more teaching inspiration for February/March, check out the amazing Teacher Talk blogs below. If you would also like to be a part of Teacher Talk, we are a group of teacher bloggers who share posts that are heavy on the ideas with just a little selling of our educational materials at  For more information about joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative, go to  Feel free to email me at if you have any questions. 

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  1. As always I love reading your posts. Hopefully soon, we'll be able to see our friends and family. It certainly has been a long few months.

  2. I love Faith Ringgold, and I have used her books in my classes often. I have also made many class story quilts (with paper), so I am interested in your clickable online version. Same wavelength, we two!