Another snowy winter day had us stuck indoors once again, but our morning was made a bit brighter by the tin of Crayola crayons that my mom pulled out for everyone to explore. The container was a mix of the new and exciting colors that Crayola’s now offering; when we visited the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA a few months back, we had the chance to create our own combination of colors from huge bins, and we packed ours with the new and unusual colors we didn’t already have at home. Crayons with colors with names like Razzle Dazzle Rose, Inch Worm, Happy Ever After, Mac and Cheese, and Famous had Maddy in stitches today, and before I realized it, my mom and sister (two of the most amazing, creative, and awesome people I know!) were working with Maddy to create a list of all of the new colors in the tin. Maddy didn’t realize it, but here was a great little opportunity for learning in Maddy’s day today.
- Crayon Color List: Aunt Mary read the super-silly name of the color, laughed and joked about it with Maddy, then handed Maddy the crayon. My mom and Mary both helped Maddy to spell the color name on her list. This shared writing–letting Maddy take some guesses at letters and helping her along the way–is so simple, but it is so worthwhile in helping Maddy to learn letter-sound relationships.
This crayon is called, ‘Rose.‘ What makes the ‘r’ sound, Maddy? Right! ‘r.‘ What sound do you hear next? That’s right, an ‘o’ like in ‘Owen’. . .
Also, giving Maddy a purpose for writing–her list–gives her writing value and meaning. Not that the stories she writes do not have value and meaning; they certainly do. However, she knew that this list was going to be read by everyone and used as a reference for colors, so she wanted to do her best. A few days from now, I’ll do this at home again, maybe with our markers, or, if we’ve got a bit of time on our hands, I’ll pull out the ole trusty box of 64 for a little bit more learning that day.
Here’s why lists every so often are a good idea:
One goal for success in writing for all students is proficiency in the three modes of writing: expressive (the earliest form of writing for most students–personal writing–sounds like written speech), transactional (explicit writing, with a purpose to communicate information), and poetic (slightly more advanced writing with a focus on diction and “using language to communicate rich and descriptive messages”). Therefore, having our emergent readers and writers create lists, recipes, directions, or signs helps to create a well-rounded and more fully-developed learner.
Dorn, L. J. & Soffos, C. (2001). Scaffolding Young Writers: A Writer’s Workshop Approach.