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The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

February 10, 2021 | Becca Brasser

As part of the Freedom Explorers study in first grade, the children have been studying notable Americans who bravely traveled from slavery to freedom on the Underground Railroad. They have discussed the various tools and codes that people would use to travel north to free soil. Besides songs and the stars, quilt designs played an important part in the journey from the plantations of the South to freedom in the North–even all the way to Canada.

Students reflected on the various “coded messages” embedded in quilts by reading books like The Patchwork Path by Betty Stroud.



Afterward, they used drawing and pattern blocks to design their own quilt squares. Each design contained a coded reminder to a person escaping from slavery to freedom.


Becca Brasser

Teacher, Grade 1

Becca Brasser has been teaching first grade at Mustard Seed School since 2002. She’s passionate about teaching children to read, write, experiment, and take risks as they explore the world around them. Her own studies (including a Master of Arts degree from New Jersey City University) have given her expertise and experience in the area of literacy education.

Ms. Brasser especially enjoys taking her students on field trips all over the New York Metropolitan area, traveling on foot, subway, bus, commuter train, and ferry. Some favorite trips: the Hudson Hike, the New York Transit Museum, and the Central Park Zoo to study penguins.

Although she lives in the city, Ms. Brasser loves escaping to nature and finding it in her everyday life as well. She loves to explore rivers and lakes, woods and mountains with her husband Matt, their daughter, Annika, and son, Theo.

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