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Bells’ students create cultural quilt to showcase diversity

A group of students from Bells Elementary School has made a cultural quilt as part of a New Tech initiative.
The group of second-grade elementary students created a Cultural Quilt project to highlight the nation’s diversity.
“After researching their driving question, ‘How can we inform others of cultural contributions made by people from the various regions in the United States?,’ they thought about their problem statement and said, ‘We as historians will create a quilt for display,” said Allison Standiford, second-grade teacher at Bells Elementary School.
Bells Elementary is the first elementary school in the Southeastern United States that is part of the New Tech instructional system. This New Tech system is comprised of about 200 schools that share four principles: Teaching that Engages through project-based learning; Outcomes that Matter; Culture that Empowers; and Technology that Enables.
The New Tech learning model first began in Colleton County at Colleton County High School, where it continues.
In 2018, the Colleton County School District and its board decided to expand the system into an elementary school. Bells Elementary was chosen by both the district and the New Tech leaders because of it being a rural school and its diverse student base.
“At Bells Elementary, teachers teach South Carolina standards, but student-learning is self-paced and project-based, within our community so that positive learning outcomes are meaningful,” said Standiford.
According to Standiford, the quilt showcases how African Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants from all nations have made contributions throughout the United States. The quilt also explains the languages, beliefs, customs, art, and literature of all of these groups, she said.
“Students loved researching the language, beliefs, customs and literature contributed by African-Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants,” she said. “They wanted to make a quilt because several had seen quilts in museums.”
Standiford said the students’ choice to create a quilt taught them more than just the different aspects of each culture. “It taught students to take agency over their learning,” she said, “of the importance of positively contributing to their community.”
She said the quilt project also taught the students how the United States is a melting pot for all societies and cultures.
“My students have an understanding that our nation is great because of all of the great things that have been contributed to our culture by great people from many diverse backgrounds,” she said.
“Quilts were featured in many texts we studied, and they knew not only would they enjoy creating the art, but also would love educating others in the community about what they learned,” said Standiford.
It will be on display for the public to view in the Children’s Literacy Room at the Colleton County Memorial Library.
“They are very proud to contribute to their community in positive ways!” she said.

Heather Walters (1670 Posts)