Sunday, February 2, 2014

Get out of the Classroom & Engage Students in Authentic Writing

Thank you for hopping by to check out more Bright Ideas!

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you're confined by classroom walls! 
If only it were a field trip day! 

Why not bring the field trip to your school and take your kids outside for some authentic writing opportunities{and yes, you can easily connect this to Common Core}!? 

What You Need:
  • Paint chips in a variety of colors {FREE!}
  • An outdoor area for students to roam
  • Science or writing journals

When writing and making observations, it is critical for students to pay attention to details. As a teacher, you can use the outdoors to teach students how to use their five senses to explore the world around them and use these five senses in their writing. 

Is the stem of a plant really green? Is a flower just purple? Or, can we use more detail to describe what we see? Use paint chips to help students see the details and color around them!

Read On to discovery some fun science and literacy activities to use with paint chips...

Bring students outside, and have them take a look around and describe the nature they see. Have students explore a piece of nature that captures their eye. Have them pay attention to the colors and use paint chips to find a color that matches. 

Use the paint chip to inspire detail in writing. Is the blade of grass you're observing green, or does it have a spectrum or colors within it? Have students describe all the colors they see in a small piece of nature.

Hand students a stack of paint chips and have them search for as many objects as they can that match those colors. 

Rename the paint chip. Read the name on the paint chip. Does the color need a new name to match the nature you found that matches it? Maybe 'Red as Love' should be 'Speck of Crab Red.' 

Use the name on the paint chip to inspire descriptive writing about your piece of nature, a poem, or an imaginative story.

Use the paint chip color's name as a metaphor for your piece of nature. 

Practice labeling. Label an object only using the names of colors on the paint chips. You will find that objects in nature have many, many colors in them.

What other science and literacy ideas can you think of using paint chips? I would love to hear your ideas! 

Hop on over to the Extra Energetic Educator and read some wonderful ideas about classroom management and attention getters! 

Or, look at the links below and find some inspiring ideas to read about...



  1. Love it! It's simple, but really engaging and creative. Now... if only spring would get here in MN so all the snow melts. :)

    Tales of a Teacher

  2. This is an awesome idea! I can't wait to try this with my kinders (it goes right along with our scavenger hunt for signs of spring).

    Terri Izatt

    1. Thank you so much for your compliment! If you try it out, let me know!

  3. This is such a great idea...and I still think we need to do a girl's weekend for Oregon bloggers!
    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

    1. I could not agree more about a girls' weekend for Oregon bloggers!!

  4. What a cute idea that I never would've thought of... so fun and creative!! Thank you for the tip, Elizabeth :) :)

    1. Thank you! My coworkers introduced me to this activity and I think it is an awesome way to tie in the outdoors and writing!

  5. Love these ideas!! My kids would have so much fun with these! There are so many great ways to use paint chips in the classroom- need to head back to Home Depot to steal, I mean ask for some more!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!


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