Colors, Colors, Everywhere
The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color. – Hans Hofmann
Whether you live in America or Australia, whether you speak English or Arabic, the colors of the world are the same universally. Our cultures may have different meanings associated with various colors, and our languages may associate different words with each color. However, no matter what language we speak or what we believe in as individuals, a banana is always yellow; a strawberry always red; colors are seen the same no matter where you are in the world.
We recently had the pleasure of completing a color unit with the preschoolers. Teaching color is something that we can integrate in everything we do, for the rest of the school year. When we color with crayons and markers or paint with tempera or water colors, we can ask the children what color they are using. When children walk in the door, we can ask them what colors they are wearing. Color is such an amazing subject to work with and teach, especially to ESL students.
I started off our daily message asking the students, “Can you name these colors?”
- One of our morning messages during our “Colors” unit.
Another activity we did was to put a drop of yellow paint and a drop of blue paint into a ziplock bag. We sealed the bag, played music, and had the children pass the bag around as the music played. The children were able to watch as yellow mixed with blue to create the color green. We also mixed blue and red to make purple, as well as red and yellow to make orange. The preschoolers interests seemed to be really peaked during this hands-on learning experience.
Finally, another favorite activity during colors week was to create a class rainbow. We separated crayons by colors into cups. labeled a rainbow with the color words in English, and students took turns coloring each color part of the rainbow.
We hung up our color work on the wall for the children to use as references to color throughout the remainder of the school year (and, of course, it makes for beautiful decoration in our classroom).
We have recently begun learning the ABC’s! This has proven thus far to be a somewhat challenging, yet rewarding, task. As expected with any preschooler, or kindergartener for that matter, the majority of our students have not developed any fine motor (writing) skills – thus the challenging aspect. We are creating alphabet books with the students, where they practice writing each letter as it is learned, and we collect them to eventually bind together into their own personalized alphabet book at the end of the school year. We have been using pencil grips, dry erase boards, shaving cream, chalkboards and several other tactics to help the children learn how to write their letters.
It has been very rewarding to see the progress the students have made in writing their letters, especially since we have only learned the first four (Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd) to date. Something that I found worked well with kindergarteners also seems to help our ENL students – making a class list of words that start with the particular letter of the day.
It’s amazing how the students have already memorized the “ABC” song. We use this to our advantage and sing the song with the children as we use a pointer to point to each letter as it is sung. We are confident that the children are slowly but surely learning their letters, and we cannot wait to continue to watch and experience their learning and growth with the English alphabet.