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Teaching Generosity: The Quiltmaker’s Gift

quiltmaker's gift

by Jeff Brumbeau

Grades: 1-4

CASEL Standard: Relationship Skills: The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups.

Character Education Lesson Objective: To understand what generosity is and the benefits of being generous


Part 1: 

  • Have you ever had an extra cookie or piece of candy that you gave to a friend or sibling?  How did that person react?
  • When you shared something that you had with someone else you were being generous.  Being generous means being willing to give or to share what you have and not being selfish.
  • Do you think it is important to be generous?  Why or why not?
  • I am going to give you a worksheet that has three short stories on it.  After each story, think about how the character in the story could be generous.  Write your thoughts down.
  • Then, we will talk about how you thought the characters could be generous.
  • After the students complete the worksheet, talk about each story with them.  Encourage the students to share their varying ideas and point out the different ways that the students identified that the characters could be generous.

Part 2: 

  • We are going to be reading a book called, The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau.
  • Read the book.
  • What did the quiltmaker teach the king?
  • Why do you think the quiltmaker would only give her quilts away and not sell them?
  • How did the quiltmaker look in each of the pictures while she was making things to give away?
  • The quiltmaker made a pillow for the bear and purple coats for the sparrows with her own clothes.  Why do you think the quiltmaker used her own clothes to make things for the bear and sparrows?
  • How did the king feel after he gave the little boy the marble?  Why do you think he started giving more of his things away?
  • Why did the quiltmaker tell the king that every time he gave something away, she would put a piece in the quilt?
  • How did the king respond when the quiltmaker said, “As I promised you long ago when the day came that you, yourself, were poor, only then would I give you a quilt”?
  • Why do you think the king gave away the quiltmaker’s quilts for her?
  • The king learned about being generous and how good it makes him feel to give things to other people. 

Part 3: 

  • The quiltmaker made a beautiful quilt for the king.  It had all of the things that he had given away to other people on it. 
  • You are going to be creating a quilt, just like the quiltmaker did.  You are going to fill in quilt squares with things that you would feel good giving away or things that you think other people would like to receive.  You will draw a picture of the items. 
  • After you are done with your quilt, you will write a few sentences about how giving things away would make you feel.
  • You will have a chance to share your generosity quilt when you are done.

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Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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