Article on Coloring in the Classroom

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Obadiah, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Jul 27, 2015
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    Sep 3, 2018

    Although I appreciated this very informative article, I took a bit of issue with the concluding paragraph.

    "Although no one will admit it, one of the main reasons for using these workbooks [with pictures to color] may well be that they give the classroom teacher a chance to have some rest."

    The article stresses the importance of non-prescribed coloring and art for enhanced development in children and deemphasizes the use of printed pictures to color. Although I agree with the author on the first point, I do find an importance in printed pictures especially in the classroom. When appropriate, I purposefully include pictures for the students to color. Pictures are a visual aide, part of the visual learning processing in the brain, and the kinesthetic act of coloring (especially with wax crayons) enhances the brain processing of the task's objective. A worksheet on phonics might include example pictures to color; this records the activity into more neurons. Same with a math worksheet, sometimes I include coloring. Even more importantly, some lessons are best taught with visual aides, such as geography, history, science; truly, a projected image on the Smartboard stimulates the brain, but the added kinesthetic activity of coloring a picture of the state bird, a minuteman, or detailed parts of the ear creates another strong learning environment.

    In another example of the use of prescribed pictures, my math curriculum related the new concepts in each chapter with a national park; each chapter, I would give the students a set of coloring pages (as an optional assignment) related to that park or the state where the park was located. Blank maps of the United States were also colored, with the challenge of not allowing two states with the same color to touch each other.

    There is a place for free expression in art, but there is a place for prescribed coloring also. We wouldn't require students to create their own books when visiting the library. Although we do encourage story and essay writing, there is an important place for books already printed. The same is true for the learning from coloring. There is an important place for prescribed pictures to color within classroom learning.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Apr 29, 2008
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    Sep 4, 2018

    I don't get any rest when my students are coloring. They actually require assistance in that area. Who is this guy?
    Obadiah and Backroads like this.
  4. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Jul 19, 2002
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    Sep 4, 2018

    It's a fine motor skill. So many kids do not grasp those line boundaries.
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  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Apr 23, 2010
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    Sep 4, 2018

    I also agree with everything except that last line. It was a good read after a recent post of mine concerned with how important coloring was.

    One distinction I would make in regards to pre-drawn coloring images vs free art is while there is certainly much to be said for a kid drawing on his own, that has a big difference from the scribbling I've been concerned with in some kids. Does that make sense? One kid is practicing fine motor skills with his free art, while another kid is literally just thoughtlessly scribbling because he lacks better skills and isn't trying for them. Possibly a fine line in the end results, but I do believe there is a distinction.

    Today I worked with a kid (the math page said to color in 6 stars or something) and Kiddo scribbled over them. He seemed to have nabbed the requisite six stars, but I was a little surprised at the rather random scribble, so I asked him to attempt to color in one of the stars completely. Mind you, I wasn't looking for a perfectly refined colored-in star, just a sign he knew how to more or less color inside the lines. He honestly couldn't come close even with focus. He didn't seem to be able to move his hand with that sort of refinement. Just... broad scribbles.
    Obadiah likes this.
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Sep 18, 2007
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    Sep 10, 2018

    I see value in the coloring in terms of developing fine motor. My students are young, so they are still developing their fine motor skills. I also find value in creating the visual. Visuals have been shown to be very effective when representing knowledge, but also for teachers when teaching. I think it really depends on what it is being used for.
    Obadiah likes this.

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