Give early learners a solid foundation for school by introducing colors in this lesson. Learning the names of primary colors, and applying color knowledge to familiar objects is a great way to start building communication readiness skills.
After this lesson and reinforcing follow-up, the children will be able to identify and name objects by way of their color name.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Gather your students into a large circle. In the center, put objects with single, bold primary colors. Great examples include blocks, play food, and toys.
- Lead the class in a "settle down" technique to help calm your students down. Stretching, chanting, or singing a song are great strategies for this. An option for a chant is this verse about hands: "Open, shut them, squeeze them oh-so-tight, clap up, clap down, fingers tap-tap-tap, now rest them in your lap."
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Once the class has settled down, call attention to the objects in the center of the circle.
- Discuss the objects by their color. Start by asking if students see a specific color, and then encourage them to show you examples of each. For example, you could ask questions like: "Do you see red? What is red? Hold it up for us to see."
- Have the children find and sort the objects by color.
- Take note of the students who have prior color naming knowledge, and which students need more experiences that reinforce primary color identification and naming.
- Sing color songs and point to the gathered objects of that color when appropriate. See below for song suggestions. Between songs, discuss favorite colors and name colors of the children's clothing, shoes, hair.
- Conclude the circle activity by having the children go on to their next experience by way of their color knowledge. For example, you could say: "All children with red shirts may go to the kitchen play area."
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)
- Split the class into small groups, and pass out art supplies.
- Provide each group with only red, blue, and yellow crayons or paint.
- Encourage students to color a picture or create a free-form picture of their own.
- Continue asking the class for examples of things that are a specific color.
Independent Working Time (5 minutes)
- During play times and snack times, say color names for objects and foods.
- Identify red, blue, and yellow objects to begin, then add other color names when proficiency is observed with naming the primary colors.
- Enrichment: Encourage students who need more of a challenge to start thinking about secondary colors. Start a discussion with thought-provoking questions. Some examples include: What color is this? Which colors do you think combine to make this new color?
- Support: Provide more time and practice for students who need. Use a variety of tools in red, blue, and yellow to give them continual practice with this concept.
Related Books and/or Media
Assessment (5 minutes)
- As time allows, individually evaluate the use of color naming for each child by way of observation and dialog with the child.
- Make notations regarding their progress, and use them as a guide for further instruction.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- With ESL learners, the concept of naming colors is an ongoing lesson, sometimes formal, sometimes informal. Take time to evaluate progress on an individual and group basis. Add to the variety of colors named when appropriate.