3rd Grade - "Black Book Of Colors"

I was wandering around a bookstore in Brooklyn with my sister one summer and ran across a very neat book called, "The Black Book of Colors" by  Menena Cottin.  This book's pictures are meant to be felt instead of seen - they are black on black, but raised.  I bought this book knowing that someday I would do a lesson inspired by it.

Two years later I had a group of 3rd graders that were calm, thoughtful, and a little adventurous - the perfect combination for a unit about being blind and an artist.

The first lessons started out with a questions, "Can people who are blind understand colors?"  This question provided lots of good discussions - if you have never seen colors how would you know what orange was?!

I then gathered them in a group on the floor at the front of the room and asked for a volunteer that would be willing to be blind folded, then handed an object in which they needed to tell us the color.  I told the group they could not even whisper what the object was or it would give it away - our goal was to see if someone who can't see can figure out what color something is.  I was kind of surprised when I had a bunch of volunteers - so I picked a student, blind folded them and reminded the class to stay quiet.  I handed the blind student an orange (the fruit) and asked them to tell me the color.  They held it, touched it - I suggested maybe using their other senses.  Sure enough as soon as the student smelled it they knew the color!

We repeated this process with things like - grapes, carrots, a cup of dirt....  The students could tell the color each time.

Now, yes I picked obvious things - but the whole idea was to get them thinking about using their other sense to understand colors.  I then read "The Black Book Of Colors" to them.

After reading the book I passed out black sheets of paper and had the students draw something that a certain color - grass for green, red for cherries -- ect.  They then outlined their pencil with glue - creating a raised line.  When these were dry the students made their own black book of colors which they tried out on each other.


Mr. E said...

Oh wow..this books looks super cool..I'm gonna be on the lookout for it!!

Ms Novak said...

It is an amazing book. I have only ever seen it at that bookstore - might be something you'll have to order.