Toronto District School Board
Winona Drive students learn valuable lessons through freedom quilt project

Winona Drive students learn valuable lessons through freedom quilt project

Friday, March 11, 2016
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Students in Winona Drive Sr PS’s Learning Disabilities class recently learned about the Underground Railroad with a unique and artistic African Heritage Month project. They learned how slaves sang songs to remember escape route information and how freedom quilts were hung outside with the laundry as another way to communicate. They heard how slaves would follow a code in the quilt to find out what to do, where to go, who was a friend, and who was an enemy. 

They also created a class quilt as a project. Students each made two of the quilt’s squares by tracing a design onto fabric, cutting the pieces out, and gluing them onto a template.  Each square had a symbol on it that represented a code for directions to a safe place. For example, the North Star means to follow the North Star. 

Four students organized the squares to create a quilt that told a story of escape from slavery in the Southern USA to freedom in Ontario, Canada. The students added a legend to help others read the quilt.

Teacher DL D’Aguilar said that the project gave students an opportunity to learn about overcoming adversity through hard work, persistence, and creativity. “We discussed the roles individuals played in helping others and the positive changes that came from their actions,” she said. “After making the Freedom quilt and learning about the Underground Railroad, we reflected on current events and connections we could make.”  

Students also learned about community. “We learned that families got separated and would join other families to learn the codes,” said one.

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