Early Elementary Coloring: Important skill or not?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Backroads, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Aug 30, 2018

    Getting through my first week at my new school, 1st grade classroom. I've given opportunity for a few coloring assignments. While the majority of the class seems to enjoy it, I still have a handful who despise the coloring. And yes, the rest of their print and other visible fine motor skills aren't that great.

    My argument for coloring is it helps with fine motor skills as well as contributes to the concept of a good professional presentation.

    Or am I just glorifying coloring unnecessarily? It became a bit of a thought game for me.
     
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  3. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Devotee

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    Aug 30, 2018

    I am pro-coloring because it helps with fine motor skills, like you said.
     
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  4. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Colouring itself is not a hill I'm going to die on, especially if we are colouring for the sake of colouring. Taking pride in one's work and learning to complete a task from start to finish is something I will encourage and push a little more. I wouldn't ever assign colouring as a stand alone task, but if someone is done their work early, I will encourage them to finish the page off by doing some colouring so they learn to go above and beyond on a task. If they flat out refuse, I have to decide if I'm going to insist they follow my directions (if this has been a habitual problem in other areas) or if the child is generally compliant, but hates colouring, I'll find other ways to improve their fine motor.
     
  5. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    For me it's one of those things you have to decide is the hill worth fighting for or not? In other words, does it provide enough benefit to justify a mandatory thing? While I assume that it does provide some benefit, I have absolutely no idea how much. So for me, the coloring just for the sake of coloring is a no fly. But making it mandatory doesn't sit well with me either simply because I know that some kids just hate coloring on general principle – I was one of those kids.

    So with that being said, perhaps some middle ground? Say if/when they're taking a test or something if that nature, and one of the students finish early, that they can either read or color this sheet – maybe even for extra credit. But if the direction is that okay you've finished early, you need to color this sheet to stay busy, then you should follow through and make sure that they are doing. And that's just simply for the sake that if you back down on that, they start to push back on other things.

    Either way, it's important you consider how you word your instructions. For instance if you say okay you're done with your stuff, you need to be coloring, you've decided that that hill was worthing making a stand after all.
     
  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I don't do it a ton, but I think there are certainly reasons not to abandon completely:

    -- As stated by many above, it builds the fine motor skills, which is still very important
    -- It can sometimes be a calming and visual way for learning certain concepts (i.e. we color a state map region by region, and as we color each region together, from waterways to the land to the symbols there representing various industries, I'm sharing information and they are discussing their background knowledge with me...it's a very calm, low-pressure time, where it's just a flow of information that they're connecting to the places they're coloring)
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I think coloring is a valuable way to promote pride in one's work and to practice fine motor skills. It's also relaxing and is a low pressure way for students to feel successful, especially at the start of the year. It can get students into a quiet work mode so that they can see what that feels/sounds like at the start of the year.

    I agree it's not the hill to die on, but if the above goals are what you're trying to teach, you could give options. Students could choose to color or complete a handwriting practice page. Most likely, that will make the coloring page a bit more appealing to your students who are resistant.
     
  9. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Yes.
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Have you modeled how to color?

    I teach older kids and I always do! I show them how to outline with a crayon in a darker line, and then how I lightly color on the middle. Sometimes they need the explicit instruction.

    My students don't usually do coloring pages, but they do use crayons sometimes on other projects or assignments. So, coloring is not just a little kid skill.

    You can do a think aloud as you color. I find kids like to watch teachers work. It's kind of entrancing it seems.
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  12. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I was the kid who despised colouring. I couldn’t see the point of it because I could colour between the lines just fine and I became bored in two minutes. But being the good kid I was, I did as I was told. In hindsight, the colouring helped me to develop being ok with having a quiet individual activity and to “enjoy” peace and quiet and my own company. So whilst I personally still despise colouring, I can see some value in it for the kids.
     
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  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    This! I'm coloring a state map as they're coloring their state map, and even though most of the talk is around information having to do with the different parts, I'm also stopping and talking about how I'm coloring different parts.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 10, 2018

    I like it because it helps with fine motor skills, but I usually won't force a student to color. However, if they are publishing a book they are writing, then I might ask them to color because we want our published copy to look nice. It really comes down to purpose.
     
  15. Lei286

    Lei286 Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2018

    I'm pro-coloring. Not only because of fine motor (which most kids SUPREMELY lack), but also because its FUN. Plus, my students enjoy being creative. They enjoy getting time to socialize with their peers. Not to mention it helps them to learn the social skills (talking with others, sharing materials, etc).

    I always think back to what I remember doing in elementary school and what I enjoyed about it...and it RARELY included lessons tbh. There's so much WORK, WORK, WORK involved in school nowadays that it often takes then fun out of it- and that includes me as well! For instance, this year I feel like I barely know my students! It's been six weeks and I've been so overloaded with all these other school-related things that I haven't even had time to get to know them yet. And that's sad.
     

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