History of Quilt 3

Quilt 3: Birth and Journey Begins

During the 2008 Iditarod Summer Teacher’s Conference, the handkerchief squares were passed out to all the teachers and you could tell they were excited to share special thoughts, pictures, lessons and ideas with classrooms around the nation. Out came the markers, stencils, photo transfers, appliqués and the squares began to take shape. Next it was time to assemble the squares into the quilt cover, insert a batting, select a quilt back, hem the sides and tie the corners of each square. The next thing you know, Quilt was born and ready to travel to all the classrooms of the contributing teachers.

Quilt’s squares are very colorful and mean something special to their creator. One has a picture of Chief from Dream A Dream Dog Farm, another has a picture of Sanka, one of Zuma’s pals. There is a depiction of the Northern Lights on one and others have awesome messages. Artist and friend Jona Van Zyle created the center square that includes Alaska shirt fabric, an abalone shell button, a rabies tag, a Nome Kennel Club Pin, a seafood shoelace and a Forget-Me-Not patch. It’s an incredible work of art!

When Quilt gets to a classroom, it can be used in many ways. Here are a few ideas.

1) Choose a square and discuss or defend why it has the best or most important message.

2) Write a descriptive paragraph about a square on Quilt for readers to identify which description goes with which square.

3) Design your own square or create your own quilt around any subject matter.

4) Write stories or poetry to go with squares on Quilt.

During this school year, Quilt will travel around the nation. After visiting three schools in Wisconsin, it’ll be routed to Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arkansas, Washington and then Alaska. Wow, this is a geography lesson in itself – landforms, climate, landmarks, etc of all the places Quilt will see. By sending an essay and digital pictures to me, everyone will be able to follow this quilt’s journey on line. The documents you send will later be turned into a hardcopy scrapbook.

Special thanks to all the teachers as well as Jona Van Zyle for designing, creating and contributing squares for the quilt. BluJeans, Sammmmmmmy, and KoKo (my cats) were a great help in assembling the quilt. Cats can make a game out of anything and always pick the best places to sleep. The sled dogs, except for Sanka, haven’t seen Quilt yet but will get a quick peek before it begins its journey.

It was great fun to get to know Quilt during the assembly process. I hope Quilt brings exciting learning adventures to your school!

Terrie Hanke, Eau Claire, WI

2006 Teacher on the TrailTM

11/17/2008 Website Article.


This quilt began a journey through several schools in Wisconsin and then traveled to Michigan.

Quilt Visits Wealthy School

It was a little odd to have a visitor that couldn’t walk or talk out loud, but Quilt still was a hit with the Third Graders at Wealthy Elementary School in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. Quilt arrived on a weekend and sat all alone in the box until Monday afternoon. You see, the Third Graders have Art, Music and Gym on Monday mornings and only are in their homeroom for attendance and lunch count.

Once afternoon came, Quilt came out and was welcomed with a Class Meeting. This is when Mrs. Anderson’s class sits in a circle and discusses how school is going and how to solve problems that might be making it hard to learn in or out of the classroom. Well, we talked and talked about the beautiful quilt. Where did it come from? Who made it? What should we do with it?

The class decided first to read each square and discuss its meaning. The children learned all about the Iditarod and about the character traits needed by the mushers and dogs to do it. Guess what? All of the traits are things that can help us succeed in the classroom and in life. With all of its beautiful colors, artwork, and messages, the Quilt was easy to understand even if it didn’t talk out loud. Next, the class decided to vote on which square was the class favorite. The winner was the bottom right hand square about the Aurora Borealis, the beautiful Northern Lights. We agreed that we didn’t know anything about them and we are going to research to find out what they are. Next, the class decided to use Quilt for a review of something we didn’t do so well on earlier this year-area and perimeter. We remembered that area is measured in square units-easy-just count the squares. Perimeter was a little less fresh in our brains. After quite a few mistakes, we finally remembered that we could count each line segment (unit of length) along the outside of Quilt. Quilt felt much better when we finally got its measurements down correctly.

Finally, we decided Quilt was too beautiful to keep to ourselves, so we sent it on a little journey right in Wealthy School. Quilt visited each of the other two Third Grade classes and was welcomed warmly by all of the students. Now, after viewing Quilt, all the Third Graders have learned about the Iditarod and are looking forward to following the race come March. We are sad to say good bye to Quilt, but can’t wait to hear about all of its travels as the year goes on!

11/17/2008 Website Article.

From 11/30/2008 Website Article:

Three Quilt: Wisconsin in October

                               The Traveling Quilt arrived at our school in October so it was a great introduction of the Iditarod to my third grade students.  As the quilt hung in the room, each student was to pick out one square they wanted to write about.  The writing was open ended so I received all different writing from fiction to non-fiction to realistic fiction.  Later in the school year, before the Iditarod began, students did a more in-depth study of the race with each group of students choosing one aspect such as:  Alaska, Race and Rules, Dogs, etc.  For this they put together a multi-media project to share with the class and their parents.

The Traveling Quilt was a great stepping-stone to the Iditarod.  Other classes came in to view it and my students were able to teach them a little about the Last Great Race.

To read a student’s story, click here!

Three Quilt: January

January 13, 2009

Hello to all from Mishawaka, Indiana!

Neither extended holidays, nor fog, nor snow storms, nor ice storms, nor blizzards kept us from spending some time with the Traveling Quilt this year!

 Our third grade buddies at Hums School got to enjoy the quilt first with our experienced “musher”

Mrs. Janet Hoke.  Mrs. Hoke created the Iditaread program at Hums School over ten years ago.  Though now retired, she can’t seem to stay away from all of our Iditarod activities, and we are so glad to have her continue to be part of them!

My sixth grade class had an abbreviated time with the quilt due to school closings and the holiday break, but we have begun creating our own book cover quilt.  It will display the covers of all of our Iditarod books we enjoy each year during the race.  We will be sure to send you a picture of the finished quilt later!

~ Mrs. Nancy Darr

Read more about the students and look at pictures.   Click here!  (PDF DOC)


Quilt 3: In New Jersey

alaska-quilt-best.jpg Quilt arrived in East Windsor, New Jersey, just in time for the start of the Iditarod! Students excitedly “dissected” each quilt square and shared their thoughts on each square’s meaning. Being inquisitive 5thgraders, the students wanted to hear about the “person behind the square” and I happily shared some of my great experiences from Iditarod Summer Camp 2008. The students especially related to my experience of going somewhere far away from home…alone. We had many discussions on how to make new friends, how to learn about a new place, and how to “roll with the punches”, all issues that the students THEMSELVES will have to deal with as they enter middle school in September! Quilt turned into a guidance experience for us! Finally, our highly ,motivated group students then worked on making their own paper quilt squares, representing what our month long study of the Iditarod meant to each of them.

Update:  June 2009:  The Paper Quilt:



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