I love color! Even though the school year is waning, I can’t stand to have bare walls. I’m craving the vibrancy of sky blue and dazzling yellow and deep reddish orange. So I decided to bring out trays of watercolor paints for my first graders to use. Not an easy task, considering there’s no water in my room. Some of the classrooms on campus have plumbing, but mine isn’t one of them. To bring (and freshen) cups of water sufficient for 22 students, I walked to the nearest facility, which is the little girls’ restroom, and filled a container flat enough that it would fit under the faucet. I was pretty proud of my resourcefulness. I know, I know–there are OTHER, more convenient ways…
The students were delighted! (With the privilege of painting, I mean, not the fact that I spent my lunchtime lugging water) I first inspired them by reading a fabulous book called “Hello, Ocean!” by Pam Munoz Ryan. (Amazing illustrations by Mark Astrella) “Hello, Ocean, my old best friend, I’m here with the five of me, again…” It’s great! You might be wondering, who’s the ‘five of me…?” It’s the little girl’s sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. It’s impossible to read this book without immersing myself into the tingle of cold saltwater against my skin. It got me ready for San Diego, for sure!
My students loved the book! Upon completion of the read aloud, I gave them instructions to paint any picture of the ocean, whether it be a beach perspective or from underwater. We brainstormed a few possibilities, imagining the most tranquil scenes of starfish and dolphins. In no time at all I concluded “ocean scene” to boys means sharks and pirates. Haha! Loved it–they make me laugh! The kids all eagerly began the project, dipping tiny paintbrushes into styrofoam cups and swashing layers of color onto blank sheets of paper. Inner city Las Vegas kids—they don’t do much of this at home.
Conversation among them was fun to hear. Remember when “What’s your favorite color?” stood out as the Top Ten questions people asked you? I well remember the bewilderment of my sister and I when we asked our mother that same question, decades ago. Clearly, mine was purple, Julie’s was turquoise. Simple. Our mother’s answer was like: “Depends on what it’s for. My favorite color for clothes? Beige. My favorite color for towels? White. My favorite color for furniture? Gold.” Julie and I tried to explain we just meant her favorite color for everything. But we learned there is no possible answer. For adults, apparently, a fave color becomes extinct.
Curiosity getting the best of me, I’m asking YOU this question: What was your favorite childhood color? What is your favorite color now–if there is one?
“What’s your favorite color, Mrs. Taylor?” my students asked me yesterday. My answer: “It depends.”