Teaching Colors...NOT

Tag Cloud Block
This is an example. Double-click here and select a page to create a cloud of its tags or categories. Learn more
There are no items to display from the selected collection.
I haven't been a fan of teaching color for years now. Here's why. I don't think knowing them (or not knowing them) measures proficiency in the language. Nor do I think they are important for beginning language learners. There are many more important words I'd rather my students learn and be able to use. Also, it actually takes a lot (of time and effort) to learn ten different color words.

Recently, a teacher in my building was doing a L2 assessment of her Kindergarten class. They are doing VERY well in Spanish and I suggested, due to time constraints, she not bother with the colors assessment. She decided to test them on the colors anyway. She was surprised that one of her higher kids actually missed a few. However, when asked, ¿Qué color es? Jonas responded,"No sé que color es esto". Bingo. I would much rather a student be able to say "I don't know what color that is" then recall all 10 colors perfectly.

Don't Skimp on the Props

I used a bird and not a turkey in my 5th grade class this morning. I thought they would be more likely to see the word bird next year in middle school. However, for some reason (Day before Thanksgiving Break maybe) I was lazy and I did not put the English translation next to the word pluma (feather) nor did I make a quick drawing to represent the word when some first suggested we use plumas (feathers). So, we had a story about a bird that had no feathers. The word plumas (feathers) came from a student as my main structure was "quiere comprar". However, ten minutes into the story, one boy asked if plumas were clothes. Not too bad as feathers ARE a bird's clothes. That was my hint to make a few yellow feathers as the bird ultimately steals some feathers from Big Bird. I didn't. At the end of class, another student asked (while we were drawing the target words) if plumas were leaves. Apparently he glanced at another boy's drawing and made that assumption. Oops! I had personalized many other parts of the story. The boy who had thought they were leaves had been engaged for much of the story because we used his UGGs as part of the story. That just isn't good enough. The input was not 100% comprehensible. This is just a reminder, for me, not to skip the many ways to establish meaning before (and during) acquiring a new structure. It's easy to draw a few feathers.