The kids began the new term putting the jars of watercolour paint in rainbow order. They slid the jars all over the table, switching back and forth, rearranging, and deciding where the colours fit along the line. They talked to each other, sharing their perceptions of colour, taking the first steps in a journey into colours.
Rachel: Where does this go?
Isla: Red then orange.
Laney: It goes, really the color, a bit of the color, orange with a bit of red, really orange, yellow, and bit of green yellow and a bit of orange…. Pure yellow, Green with a bit of blue, blue, a bit of purple, purple, purple with a reddish…
Rachel: What is this color?
Lainey: I don't know. I think it's more reddy, it should be down here.
Isla: It looks more orangey.
Lainey: It looks like it should go here.
Miya and Jaiden work together to figure out the jars of paint. I asked them to put the jars in rainbow order and Miya took the lead on that task. She pulled out the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Miya: There, the rainbow colors.
Rachel: Now what about the other jars?
That’s when the girls knew they had a puzzle to solve, and the rainbow just started getting interesting. Colors they never thought of being in a rainbow suddenly had to fit somewhere. With soft voices and swift hands, the girls got their heads down low, their eyes right up close to the jars.
Miya: This one could go between these two.
Jaiden: It's turquoise.
Miya: It could go between these two. It's kind of close to this.
We inspected the colour wheels, noting that there was no beginning and end, no 1st color or no last. How color side-by-side blend into each other so nicely. How it all seems so continuous.
Talking About Rainbows…
I attempted to get the girls thinking about the magic of a rainbow. Why are they special and what do they make us think about? They were pretty quiet until I reminded them that their ideas would lead the next projects. And if they had really cool ideas about rainbows, we would try and turn those ideas into art.
Lainey: Can I draw a picture that includes the rainbow?
I never understood colour until I got help. I think you need to help Isla. Is this going to be like a unit? Like is our big thing going to be rainbows? Because rainbows come out in the Spring! Usually because it rains in Spring and it's sunny in Spring. Whenever there's rain and sun…
Lainey: I know a bit about rainbows. They reflect off of water droplets. That's how a rainbow’s made. The sun reflects on a mirror maybe, or one of those hard crystally things.
Rachel: A prism?
Lainey: Yeah, or a water droplet. That’s how nature does it. The sun shines on the water droplet and bounces off the water droplet to reflect a rainbow.
Lainey: After this can we just play around with rainbows? I'd like to get a box like one of those boxes, and create a scene of a rainbow.
Rachel: What goes along with rainbows?
Lainey: Sunsets? Water…
Lainey: I like rainbows.
Isla: Me too. They're so colorful.
Rachel: Do you know what the primary colors are?
Lainey: Red, blue, green-- yellow.
Rachel: Why isn't green a primary color?
Lainey: Because it can't make very many colors.
I could tell Lainey was really trying to wrap her head around colour theory. She examined the colour wheel taking notice of the pattern of colour and how a colour is a blend of the colour on either side of it. Except for yellow, and red, and blue. Neat!
Lainey: I love blue because blue can be made into so many different colours just by adding white. More white makes a brighter blue, later and less white makes it darker blue.
H: Primary colours you can’t make. Red is one of them. You can make purple so purple’s not one. You can make green, you can make yellow.
Rachel: How do you make yellow?
H: You mixed red and orange.
H definitely understands there is a relationship between red, yellow, and orange. I’m going to do what I can to help sort it all out in the next few weeks!
Do you know which are the Warm Colours and the Cool Colours?
In one class, we discussed warm colours and cool colours. Jaiden and Miya had never considered the temperature of colours.
Rachel: Why do you think people call these warm colours?
Jaiden: I think because they're brighter?
Miya noticed the way some colours blended so seamlessly in her colour wheel.
Miya: Those two look like they're connected.
I didn’t worry about the form of the wheel, just that they were getting the colours down in order, and that they noticed the natural progression. I didn’t specify with which colour to start, because it didn’t matter either. What we ended up with were snakes, caterpillars, lines, and a wheel, all of which showed a blossoming understanding of colour.