Needlepoint and the Middle School Mind at Briarcliff 

To the casual observer, it may look like simple stitching, but Todd Related Arts Teacher Diane Guida always strategically schedules a needlepoint lesson for the first few days of school. 

She explained, “The curriculum includes decision making and practical skills mastery such as cleaning up, taking responsibility, organization, time management, and utilizing resources wisely.”  

The lesson starts with a large group discussion at the board. Students are then asked to access the necessary worksheets and designs posted online and to collect the tools needed to complete the project neatly and quickly.  

“Once the girls and boys get started, I can see fine motor skills and ability to follow directions. And based on the interactions between students, I have the opportunity to reinforce the idea of respecting each other’s work,” said Guida. 

The needlepoint project re-emerges throughout the year when there is downtime or when a return to the basics is necessary.  

“No matter how far off track a needlepoint project gets, you can always bring it back to life. This is a safe place to take chances and make mistakes, and it is great practice before we start cutting and cooking,” she explained. 

BMS Related Arts Teacher Diane Guida explains the needlepoint assignment to her sixth-grade students during the first few days of class.


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About the Author: Evelyn Mertens