Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Color Stories, 4th grade

I absolutely adored teaching this lesson and watching the kids bring it to life. As an artist, color theory is one of the most exciting things to explore, and when I saw these "Color Thesaurus" charts on the "Ingrid's Notes" blog, I knew it was going to make a natural connection to writing for my 4th graders. Aren't these charts amazing?

In the past, we have painted Paul Klee inspired grids to practice our hue values and intensities, which was fun, but I don't think the students connected to the work past the fun of mixing. This was going to be the solution!

So, the how-to's. First we filled in our color wheels that are printed on our portfolios and discussed the color schemes. The kids chose the color they wanted to work with and we drew 12-section charts, similar to the inspirations. We practiced coming up with story themes by choosing 3 words from the charts and brainstorming a title, for example "the peacock stood under the sapphire sky." This was a fun exercise and gave the kids confidence that they could write a story of their own.
Starting with our hue of choice, we made several tints and shades with black and white. We added the complementary color to change the intensity, and finally we added analogous colors to our palettes to create intermediates. The kids worked really hard to create new tones with each new mixture.

The following week, we named the colors and began our creative writing stories. Connecting to Language Arts is my favorite academic integration - don't get me wrong, STEAM is cool and buzzy, but this really floats my boat :). I met with one of the LA teachers, and she said that they were currently working on creative writing - one of the kids even asked if they could turn these in for a writing grade - gonna see if we can make that happen. :)

The final step was to choose an object/character from the story and draw it on the painted grid to be the story's illustration. We kept it simple to let the colors be the star. The kids were really proud of their work, as am I. Love it!
I will be posting the Color Story sheet on my TpT store as a free download if you want to give it a try, art teachers - should have it ready to download by the weekend.


  1. Hi Hope. These look great. Thanks for posting and for sharing your handout.

  2. I love this! Awesome cross curriculum project.

  3. These are FABULOUS!! Thanks for sharing. I'll be sharing this with our 4th grade teachers!!!

  4. Wow! What a great way to use the color thesaurus! Fantastic.


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