All the Colors of the Rainbow, Plus Some

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SWBAT to read and identify common color words. Student Objective: I can read and match colors to color words.

Big Idea

Learning to read color words helps kindergarten students do their every day work.


10 minutes

Color words are some of the most commonly used words by kindergarten students.  Once they can identify color words in directions, the children get a new sense of independence.  I like to provide my students with stories and activities that expose them as many times as we can to these color words. Repetition breeds memory.  Earlier in the month, we talked about the colors in a rainbow.  Making a connection between what they learned in science with what the children are learning in language arts strengthens their understanding.

Children, come join me here on the rug for a story.  Today, I am going to begin with the story because I think it will remind us what we have already learned about rainbows and about colors. Who remembers the names of the colors of the rainbow?  Let's say them together: red, orange , yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.  What is the name we usually use for violet?  Who remembers what color indigo is most like? 

Who can tell me the name of our Author of the Month? Eric Carle, is right.  In this book today,Let's Paint a Rainbow, the author does not follow this pattern.  See if you notice what is different compared to real rainbows.  When you know what the answer is, store it in your brain until the end of my reading. This will give other children the time to think for themselves.

Let's read our story.


30 minutes

When I read a story for the first time, I do not like to stop and ask questions to the children. I like for them to hear the story's language without interruption.  If the story is short, like this book is, then I will read through and point out features that I want the children to focus on. This is a great time to let the kids ask questions and make comments.

What did you notice about the colors in the book compared to the real colors of the rainbow?  Do we usually see brown or pink?  Do rainbows end up in the sky because someone has painted them?  What did we see at the end of the story? We saw a cat with a rainbow tail.

Today we are going to do a special project with a rainbow, but first we have to do a little work. On this paper, I have printed a rainbow.  You are going to select six colors and write the words on the stripes of the rainbow six times with the crayons.  Let's say that you have picked orange.  Then on only one stripe you will write orange, orange, orange, orange, orange, orange. On the next stripe, you might choose pink, so you would write pink, pink, pink, pink, pink, pink. Each stripe will be like this until you have chosen six different colors.

I think the children really understand better with repetition. Children do not learn new words by being exposed to them only once. Repetition is key to sight word acquisition. Young readers should be given opportunities to read and write a new sight word multiple times. When a child writes and says the word at least five times in a row, she is more likely to commit it to memory. I chose the number six because it was easy to remember, ie. six stripes, six colors, six times, and there is the space to write the words six times. 

While you are working on the writing part, I will be getting some paint ready.  You will use the water color paints to paint over your words.  The key is to paint over the words with the same color that you wrote the words.  When you do this the colors will look like they are popping off the page. This is called relief painting and it looks really cool. It is important that you finish what you are writing before you get started on the painting or the relief part will not work. 

When you have shown me your completed writing, I will give you a paintbrush and a cup of water to begin. We have used watercolor paints before, and we talked about what happens if you use too much water.  The paint runs into the other colors and it drips.  There will be paper towels at your table to dab your brush to get some of the extra water off before you put in the paint.


10 minutes

While the children are painting, I walk around to see if they are making the connection of color word and paint, and also, I ask the children to read their color words to me.  This gives me a better understanding if the children were able to follow the directions.  Later in the day, I will be asking children to identify color words in our other work, so I can see if they are making that connection. Once a week, each child reads their sight words to me.  Some of the basic colors are on that list and I can check for understanding at that point as well.