How Do I Know Colors?

Karen Bailey, Language Arts/Social Studies teacher, Piedmont Open IB Middle School




Can a 6th grade reader discover that mere words can have the power to challenge him or her to transcend the ordinary? How does a writer convey to the reader the color of the wind? How can a color have a smell or a taste? Writers choose their words carefully in order to allow readers to gain meaningful and unique connections to the ordinariness of everyday life. These unique connections broaden the reader’s perspective on any given topic.

This unit allows the 6th grade reader to open the writer’s toolbox and to discover surprising personal relationships with colors. ‘How Do I Know Colors?’ should be taught during the poetry unit. This unit begins with the assumption that students have already been taught the elements of poetry, specifically, imagery and figurative language. Students explore the science of color, figurative language and the use of imagery through color poems in the book, Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill, a video by the same title found on United Streaming, picture books, novels, and websites. Students write color poems and a color journal. This unit supports the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for 6th grade language arts.