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Luka's Quilt

Grade Levels: 4-6
Character Focus: Respect
Academic Content Area: English-Language Arts
Lesson Duration: Story and discussion takes between 30-45 minutes, depending on student maturity level. Each extended activity takes approximately the same time, except for art activities and the Lei Day Celebration, which are longer.
Notes: Bring in artifacts from Hawaii, e.g., an Aloha shirt, a ukulele, etc. To add mood to the setting, play Hawaiian music softly in the background.
Book Title and Author: ​Luka’s Quilt by Georgia Guback, Greenwillow Books, ISBN: 0-688-12154-3

Materials Needed: Luka’s Quilt, pencil, paper or notebook, dictionaries, markers or crayons. Optional: materials for lei- and quilt-making, Vocabulary Log, People Profiles, Character Trading Cards Worksheets
Implementation Strategies Used:
  • Academic content-based discussion (e.g., literature-based)
  • Character-related written reflection
  • Cooperative learning

Lesson Summary

The story takes place in Hawaii. Luka and her grandmother, Tutu, have a difference of opinion about the colors of a floral quilt Tutu is making for Luka, who wants various colors. Tutu, however, wants the colors to reflect Hawaiian tradition. Students will learn about respect, differences, and compromise. They will explore positive character traits of the main characters in the story and how to apply the lessons to their own lives.

Academic-Character Objectives

  1. Students will attentively listen to Luka’s Quilt and respect classmates’ opinions, as measured by teacher observation of their behavior.
  2. Students will identify story characters who portray positive behavior, e.g., respect and compromise , as measured by discussion of the story lessons, written reflection, and/ or art work.
  3. Students will ask thoughtful questions and respond to relevant questions with appropriate elaboration in oral settings.

Into (Motivation and setting the standard)

  1. Say, “Today we’re going to hear a story about traditions.” Ask students:
  • What are traditions?
  • What traditions do you have in your family?
  • Which family members participate in your family’s traditions?
  • What are some differences in traditions between cultures that you have observed?

        2.   Explain the meaning of traditions (handing down of beliefs, legends, and customs from generation to
              generation),  and give students brief background information on the story (see Lesson Summary). 
        3.   Introduce vocabulary: basted, fabric, quilt, lei, truce, tatami mat, jug, tradition, sketched . Ask students to listen for the
               words in the story. 
        4.   Ask students to listen attentively to the story to find out about an Hawaiian tradition, and how a grandmother and
              granddaughter have to compromise about their tradition.

Through (Lesson continues)

        5.   Read the story, emphasize any character-related concepts and vocabulary words as you read. Be sure to point out
               the colorful illustrations.
         6.   Discuss the story and its lessons. Use as many questions as time permits.
  • What was the story about?
  • Who narrated the story? (You may have to give children the definition of “narrate.”)
  • Who were the main characters?
  • Where did the story take place? Have you ever visited Hawaii?
  • How did Tutu want to make the quilt? Why? (It is Hawaiian tradition to make a quilt with only two colors.) Why was Luka disappointed when she saw the quilt? (It did not have a variety of colors like the flowers she loved.)
  • Describe how Tutu and Luka compromised. How did they show respect for each other? Do you think this was difficult for Tutu? Why or why not? For Luka? Why or why not?
  • Tell us something about your culture (interest in art, food, music, literature, etc.)
  • What is a tradition in your family that you enjoy doing? Why? What is a tradition in your family that you do not like? Why?
  • Select a situation in the book and explain how you would have done something differently.
  • In what ways are you the same or different as Luka? As Tutu?
  • Why is the character trait of respect important at school? At home?
  • Why is compromise (settlement of differences by mutual concessions) important? (It settles differences and usually gives each person something they want).

Beyond (Application, Extensions, and Assessment)

  • Review the story and the lessons learned before you conduct an extended activity or assessment. Review how compromise usually gives each person something that they want. Check for evidence of student understanding.
  • Use the following activities on different days or provide your class with a selection of activities from which to choose on a given day.
  • Dictionary Use and Vocabulary: Look up vocabulary definitions in the dictionary.
  • Journal Prompts
  • Describe the relationship with Luka and her grandmother before Tutu decided to make a quilt, while Tutu was making the quilt, and after the quilt was finished.
  • What did Luka and her grandmother do so they could both be happy with the quilt?
  • Does your family have any traditions like quilt making? What are they? Why are they important to your family? How do traditions affect you and your family?
  • Character Profiles Worksheet: See People Profiles Worksheet
  • Trading Card Activity: See Character Trading Cards
  • Make a simple quilt
  • Make a lei:
  1. Provide colored construction paper, yarn, and drinking straws (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  2. Pass out colored paper for students to draw and cut out flowers.
  3. Cut a length of yarn and have the children assemble their lei alternating flowers and straw spacers.
  4. Tie the ends together.
  • Make a tissue-paper flower lei:
  1. Provide tissue paper and yarn.
  2. Cut tissue paper into 4x6 inch squares. Students layer two or more colors.
  3. Fold the tissue back and forth as if making a fan.
  4. Tie a piece of yarn tightly around the middle of the fan.
  5. Gently unfold the layers of tissue to reveal a flower.
  6. Using the dangling yarn from the center on each flower, tie the tissue flowers together on a longer piece of yarn, making a lei.
Lei Day Celebration: Plan and conduct a Lei Day celebration inviting all students’ parents and grandparents. The students could make pu-pu (Hawaiian word for snacks) and make leis for guests.
Written by Donna Frey, Katie Kolles, and Brenda Larson

Vocabulary Log

Name______________________________ Date________________ Story _____________________________
Directions: First, list new words from the story. Then, list the page number on which the word appeared. Then write the dictionary definition. Finally, write a sentence using the word.
​Word Page Number​ Define the word and use it in a sentence.​

People Profiles

Name ___________________________ Date ____________________ Story _________________________________
Directions: List characters from the story in the first column. In the second column, choose a trait that best describes the character in the story. In the third column, give an example from the story describing how the character showed this trait.
​Character name from the story Which character trait best describes this person?​ ​Example of positive character






Character Trading Cards

1. Front of card: Draw a colorful picture of the character from the story. Then list the character trait that best describes this
person. Example: respect
2. Back of card: Write an example of how this person portrays the character trait.

A Tip
Cards can be cut up, laminated, organized in binder sleeves and used as trading cards.

Name of Story
Character in Story
Character Trait

Name of Story
Character in Story
Character Trait

Name of Story
Character in Story
Character Trait
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