History of Quilt 1

In the summer of 2005, the first traveling quilt was born and created in Wisconsin.

Teachers from the 2005 Iditarod Summer Conference created quilt squares which shared their educational journey and messages to students.

The 2006 Teacher on the Trail, Terrie Hanke, sewed the quilt together. For the next school year, the quilt traveled to the schools that were represented by the ‘quilt makers’.

 Click here to download and read about the first quilt. (from the 2006 website)

To read Quilt One’s first journal from the 20o5 – 2006 school year, To read Quilt’s 2005 – 2006 journal, click here.  (PDF DOC.)

From the Iditarod Website, 11/17/2008

One Quilt’s Journey… Arizona to Florida

Traveling Quilt One: From Arizona to Florida….

quilt1.jpg Hello!

Quilt came to us in August. But as most school year beginnings go, ours was a little hectic for everyone getting used to a new grade level (both teacher and students), new schedules, and new people. So, Quilt waited patiently.

Quilt’s visit was planned for September. Regardless of when I thought Quilt would be part of my class – it had to be September. This is why: on September 13, one of the 8th graders at our school took her life. Being a small community familiar with each other, we suffered the grief and shock of it deeply.

So, I lay Quilt out on the table and we spent an entire class period reading the messages and talking about their meanings. I can tell you, the students thought very seriously about messages such as “Don’t let the sun set on your dreams.” and “Hang on to the sled. It’s bound to get better.” These took on a whole new meaning in the aftermath of the loss of our young friend. My desire was for them to see that with perseverance, faith the plan for their lives would unfold and every day is a precious gift.

Also, we were preparing to go off to northern Arizona for a three day 6th grade Outdoor Education camp for team building and self-confidence training. It can be a scary time for some of the kids.

quilt1message.jpg I typed out the messages on Quilt’s squares and had each student draw one from a cup. I asked them to write a paragraph with these guidelines:

  1. Tell what the message means to you.
  2. Tell how this message can apply to your life this year.
  3. Tell how you might be able to apply this to your Outdoor Ed experience.

Student examples:
“Whatever actions you show that’s what people will think of you. So if you act like a leader, people will consider you a leader.”

“That phrase means that when you have reached the end of your journey, it’s what you did to finish your journey that counts.”

“It could help me to dream big and never stop trying. Also by giving me strength to make my work, homework, etc. to the best of my ability. If I get scared or stuck, I will think of it and I will keep trying. I will keep trying and never give up on my dream.”

“You have to set goals and when you make those, set harder ones. If you take life one step at a time, you will do amazing things in life.”

“This means don’t be afraid to show your personality and be who you are. I believe that God has made me the way I am and He didn’t intend for me to be like someone else. Never think that people won’t like you for who you are and always be yourself.”

“It is to accomplish or finish what you start. Keep going at it and don’t give up on what you think you can do. Just because you think it might be too hard don’t stop trying.”

“It means to always look forward and keep your mind on the positive things in life.”

“No matter if you reach your goal or not, you will always find something on the way.”

“Goals are like the finish line. You keep working and pushing till you reach them.”

Quilt came to us with a purpose we didn’t even know of, but which was made plain to us as we read, talked, and wrote. Thanks, Quilt, for helping us through some hard and challenging times.

Like the mushers of the Iditarod – through hard and challenging times.

Wag more, bark less,

Jane Blaile and 6th grade, Arizona

Quilt flew to Florida…..

                               Hello from Florida!

This year our school has integrated a theme of both the Iditarod and Character Education. This October while we had the Traveling Quilt, we focused in on Bullying. There was recent legislation passed in our state called the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up to Bullying Act. We wanted the students to take an active role in this new legislation by actually writing their own student pledge about bullying. Well, they did, and the Traveling Quilt was at the heart of it.

I created a plan at the beginning of the summer called Champs Rule! as a way to integrate staff development, character education, and a total Iditarod theme. The words Champs Rule is both an acronym and a reminder to teachers to utilize the CHAMPs philosophy. There will be a greater explanation of this in my application. The letter A stands for acceptance.

Here is a chronology of how the Quilt helped our students and parents come together in the name of acceptance.

The Quilt first appeared on the night of our annual Pasta with the Principal. It was placed on the stage in the cafeteria, and in the candlelight it was really beautiful. I shared with the parents our involvement with the Iditarod and let them know that the students would be learning about teamwork this month and need for acceptance. They learned that on a dog sled team, 16 different personalities all have to work together to bring their musher to Nome.

The Quilt stayed on the stage for two weeks after that. During that time, Journalism students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students met several times in the cafeteria during first hour to work on an anti-bullying student pledge. I facilitated this group of 62 students as they worked together to word and format the pledge. We wanted them to take total ownership of the process, writing, revising, and publishing of the pledge. The Quilt was our reference point throughout the process. The Iditarod came to represent the importance of acceptance if students are to finish the race for their education. The Quilt is the perfect example of acceptance and cooperation among many schools, educators, and students.

                               After the pledge was completed, student representatives brought the pledge to their class to solicit students to sign the pledge. The Quilt traveled to many classrooms. The students were responsible for the displaying of the Quilt, the explaining of the process and its relationship to the Quilt, and the procuring of signatures for the student pledge. I have included a picture of the Quilt in a classroom with the student representatives who are introducing the Quilt to the class and explaining the pledge.

By the time it made its rounds, it was time for the Quilt to move on to its next school, but we hadn’t made the scrapbook page or our Quilt panel. My creativity was put to the test. I asked the students to take as many pictures as possible with the Quilt as they went from class to class. I used those and put together a page for the scrapbook. The Quilt panel was a “no brainer” because we simply recreated our school’s Champs Rule! theme. To that we added a reference to Dogsong, a book that our Literature Circle group is reading, which was “Sing Your Own Song.” We felt this appropriate to honor this year’s current Target Iditarod Teacher on the Trail, Cathy Walters.

So now the Quilt is traveling again; however, its short time in Pompano Beach, FL, has left an indelible mark on the students who helped create our school’s anti-bullying student pledge.


Linda Kal Sander

Reading Coach, Pompano Beach Middle School

View The Pledge

Stay tuned for the next update as Quilt 1 continues to another school in Florida…. and then ….. off to North Carolina.


One Quilt… November in Florida: A Lesson Idea for Your Students

quilt.jpg Quilt continued on to another school in Florida…… Quilt became a part of a literature lesson. Read this summary to learn how to make your own quilt and connect it to a lesson you are teaching.

Hello Friends!

When Quilt came to visit us we were studying about Native Americans and we were inspired to make a quilt of our own.

I read the book ‘Coyote Steals the Blanket: A Ute Tale’, based on the folktale retold and illustrate by Janet Stevens. The story involves coyote’s desert encounters with a hummingbird, a mountain goat, and a bighorn sheep. Unfortunately for coyote, he ignores the hummingbird’s directions and steal beautiful Native American woven blanket. What happens next explains why, to this day, coyotes are always racing around, never sitting still.

After reading the story, we created a quilt for coyote so he can return the one he stole.

To make the quilt, each child will need one 8-inch square of paper and four 4-inch squares. The large square we used was black and each of the smaller squares were yellow, green, orange and blue – colors found in Native American weaving.

Ask each child to place their 4 small squares on their 1 large square. Talk about how all 4 squares cover the large square, so each of the small squares is one-fourth the size of the large square. Tell the children that the 4 squares are congruent to each other. Tell them that the 1 large square is similar to the smaller squares. Reinforce the concept that all squares a similar to all other squares.

Have each child fold and cut their 4 small squares in the following ways: fold one at diagonal corners to produce two triangles, fold one square in 4th to make 4 squares, fold the third square in fourths to produce four rectangles, and the last in fourths to produce 4 triangles.

Guide the class in cutting apart one square at a time and placing them on top of the large black square and then rearranging the pieces to make different designs so that no pieces are hanging over the edge. Then glue and place on a large background.

We are excited about the upcoming Iditarod knowing that we touched a part of its history.

Thanks again for including us!


Warfield Elementary

Indiantown, FL

Quilt ‘flew’ to Indiana for December and January.

Quilt two (or affectionately called, Two Quilt) is in Nebraska for December and January.

Quilt three (Three Quilt) is in Indiana for the month of January.


One Quilt: January

quilt-at-museum-2008.jpg Quilt One arrived in Mt. Pleasant, NC, near Charlotte, in early December where it spent time with the sixth grade Cheetahs Team at Mt. Pleasant Middle School. Arriving just in time for the team’s walking field trip to our local public library and museum, Quilt walked with us and saw the Christmas trees the students decorated with sled dogs and sleds. After Quilt’s field trip, it hung in our display case near the library for the school to enjoy.

quilt-photo-1-2009.jpg [singlepic id=”134″ w=”320″ h=”240″ mode=”” float=”” ] quilt-photo-3-2009.jpg In early January, the students studied word processing skills for three days in the computer lab. Afterwards, students observed Quilt and recorded their observations using an activity sheet provided. Students reflected on their favorite quilt squares, quotes written on Quilt,  analyzed Gary Paulsen’s quote, “Read like a wolf eats”, and described what a quilt square would look like that they designed. After writing a paragraph based on their observations, students returned to the computer lab to format their work, applying their word processing skills learned the previous week. The activity sheet and formatting directions, as well as photographs, are attached.

Just before Quilt left for California, it traveled with me to Kinston, NC in eastern North Carolina to the elementary school where my sister teaches. Quilt and I presented two sessions for the five fifth grade classes there about Iditarod and perseverance. Students there asked many questions about the dogs, the race, and Quilt’s beautiful squares.

Students at both schools felt that “Read like a wolf eats” means to read a lot, to read everything, not just some things, and to read as if you were as hungry as a wolf. Students related perseverance to their own lives, understanding that if sometimes their Reading Counts work or Accelerated Reader or Accelerated Math work is challenging, they can remember to stick with it until they achieve their goal.

Martha Dobson

Sixth Grade, English/Language Arts

Mt. Pleasant Middle School

Mt. Pleasant, NC

Instructions for Formatting the Quilt Paragraph

1.  Set the font size to 14. Left justify your first and last names at the top of the document. Press ENTER once and type your block  number.  Press ENTER once and type today’s date.

2.  Press ENTER once. Center this title:  My Quilt Paragraph. Change the font size to 16 and make it bold.

3.  Press ENTER twice. Change the font size to 14 and turn off the bold button. Set it to left justify. Type the paragraph below. It should be the first paragraph on this document. Indent the paragraph.

Quilt arrived in December at our school. It had been at schools in Florida and Arizona. The Cheetahs Team took Quilt to the museum and the library on our walking field trip. When Quilt finishes visiting Mt. Pleasant Middle School, it will go to a California school.

4.  After you finish entering the paragraph above, start typing the paragraph you  wrote. Continue to use size 14 font and no boldface. Indent your paragraph.

5.  Indent your description of the quilt square you would make if we were making a quilt.

6.  Run spell check and grammar check. The green underlining shows grammar mistakes, and the computer will show you choices to correct it, just like it shows choices to correct spelling.

7. Raise your hand. After I look at your work, save your document. Print one copy of the document.

Quilt Activity

Answer these questions or respond to these statements while we are working with Quilt. You will go in the computer lab to type your information.  I will give you a paper with instructions and helpful hints to help you do this.

1. How many quilt squares are there? ____________________

2. What is on the center square? ______________________________________________________________



3. Look at all the squares. Choose one you really like. Describe it so that someone who hasn’t seen Quilt can identify the square you really like.




4. Why do you like that square so much? ________________________________________________________


5. Quilt has encouraging quotes written on it. Choose one of the sayings that you like. Write it here, copying it carefully.



Turn paper over

6. People often choose sayings because they have a special meaning for them. What does the saying you copied mean to you? __________________________________________________________________



7. Although it is light and difficult to read, there is a quote by Gary Paulsen on Quilt which says, “Read like a wolf eats.”

What two unlike things is Gary comparing in this quote? _____________________________________________


How does a wolf eat? _____________________________________________________________________


How does Gary mean that you should read books? _________________________________________________



8. If our team made a quilt and each square had a saying on it, what would you write on your square?



9. Below, create a miniature quilt square that you’d design for a quilt.


One Quilt in Illinois!

We hung the quilt outside our classroom for the middle school to read.  We designed a quilt square for a future travelling quilt.  The quilt inspired our 7th graders to try one of there own and so during art class they cut quilt pieces and hand sewed them together.  They attached this to a blank quilt piece to decorate with something about the Iditarod.  Once completed the two classes individual quilt pieces were combined to make one large quilt.  As a culmination to our Iditarod unit in March we had a husband and wife come out with sled dogs and equipment to do a presentation to our students.  This is the highlight for the students and they look forward to this all year long.
This was a great activity and I am so pleased we were able to receive the traveling quilt at our school.

River Forest, Il


One Quilt: California and Off to Nome!

feb-class.jpg feb-lesson.jpg heart-of-the-dragon-trophy.jpg Del Sur Senior Elementary, February, 2009, Lancaster, CA

Receiving the quilt was another opportunity for my 7th graders to connect technology to the world around us.  As soon as we opened the box, the students gathered around to discover the clues of Quilt’s past and the inspiring messages it offered. While the students took charge of this activity, another student captured our discussion using the FLIP video camera.

Afterwards, our plan was to develop ideas to share the story of the Iditarod and the traveling quilt with the other classrooms within our K-8 campus.  One group designed several PowerPoint slides to teach about the Iditarod. Another group helped to create a quilt scavenger hunt activity.  Each day the students planned and organized pieces of the interactive lesson.

Our first collaborative lesson was with Mrs. Mekel’s 4/5 combo class. The lesson started with the students tracing both hands on paper and labeling one      hand “What I Know” and the other “What I Learned.”  My class shared facts about the Iditarod within small groups.  The goal of the lesson was to define words related to success, search for synonyms, and brainstorm action words with 3 or more syllables. Students were encouraged to help each other answer the scavenger hunt questions and explore the quilt.

Through our discussions and activities we learned:

“Obstacles are just excuses.”   –Isamar R.

“The Iditarod is spectacular.  During the gloomy weather, the mushers conquer their fears. They struggle on the dangerous path and care for each dog.  The racers see the finish line and sprint as quickly as they can without a panic.”

–Madison S.

“In the Iditarod you have to persevere.”

–Michael H.

Quilt also visited my daughter’s Junior Girl Scout Troop. Several girls said they had read an article about the dog sled race at school.  Once the quilt was spread out, the girls sat around the outside to discuss the meaning of each square.

By the end of the month, Quilt also had a visit from Mrs. Krause’s 3rd grade students and Mrs. Mendes’ 6th grade students.  Mrs. Mendes said her class had read several of Gary Paulsen’s novels, and they were excited to see the author’s signature.

Next, before I sent the quilt off to Nome, my principal Mr. Barker presented me with our school’s Heart of the Dragon Award for using my quilt lessons with Del Sur students.

Thank you Quilt for sharing the spirit of the Iditarod with our classroom.  You have taught us the importance of believing that anything is possible if you just set your mind to it.

Best Wishes,

Mrs. Rickert’s 7th grade class

Click here to view Mrs. Rickert’s lesson plan and information.


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