Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Uses for Paint Chips in the Classroom

As teachers, we are always on the lookout for a useful freebie and I'm definitely no exception to this.  I've got loads of bits and pieces hidden around my classroom and, let's be honest, hidden in cupboards around the house, just in case I might need them for school.

Today, I want to share one with you one item that won't cost you anything but that has just so many uses in the classroom: paint chips!

You can get them from your local hardware store and here are just 5 of my favourite ways to put them to work in the classroom:

1.  Putting students into groups
To do this, you need to cut the strips of colours up into individual colours and you'll need at least two of each colour.  You put the cut up chips into a basket and then give one to each student.  They then need a minute to move around the room and find their partner (the person with exactly the same coloured chip as them, of course!)  If you want students to get into groups of 3 or 4 (or larger), you need to have more of the same coloured chips in the basket.

2.  Making vocabulary/word family flashcards
I actually haven't had a chance to use these in my own classroom yet, but I've seen lots of examples of these being used in pre-school, home school and lower primary classes. The best explanation of how to make your own set of these cards that I can find is available at The Snail's Trail (pictured below). Here you can get step-by-step instructions on how to make your very own set of flashcards to use with your students (or with your own kids at home).

4. Vocabulary Continuums
These are great for using in your upper primary literacy classes.  They are a great way to encourage students to try different vocabulary and to think about the strength of the words that they are using.
All you do is give students some words that are commonly found in their writing (such as little, good, cry, walk and so forth) and then brainstorm a list of other words (on a piece of paper) that mean the same thing as the first word.

For example, if their first word was 'little', they might come up with tiny, puny, small, teeny and microscopic.  Then, ask students to rank them from the 'weakest' word to the 'strongest' word that have the same meaning.  (In this case, the order might go little, small, tiny, puny, microscopic)  Then give the student a paint chip strip and have them write their words on (with the weakest word on the palest part of the card, strongest on the darkest).  You can then display these around the room for students to refer to in their writing.

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As a booklover, one of my pet hates in the classroom is children who don't know how to look after the books in the class library. In particular, it really drives me mad when they fold down the corners of the pages to mark their place, as this leads to the books looking really scruffy really quickly.  To prevent this, not only to I try and make bookmarks with my class during the first week of school, but I also keep a collection of bookmarks in the reading corner so there is no excuse for folding down the corners of our books.  Strips of paint colours make great bookmarks - they are eye-catching and the kids enjoy using them.

4. Colour Matching
This is another great idea for a pre-schoolers, home schoolers and lower primary classes.

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All you need is a set of wooden clothes pegs, a hot glue gun and some scissors.  Cut a small section off the side of each paint clip and glue it onto a peg.  Let the glue dry and then mix all of the coloured pegs up.  Then your students can have a go at matching the colours up to the original chips.  You can read more about this idea here.

To build on this idea, you could write numbers onto the pegs and the paint chips students could match these up or even writing words onto the paint chips (and letters onto the pegs) so students could practise their spelling.

Anyway, these are just a handful of ideas.  You can find more examples of great things to do with paint chips at:
Paint Chips in the Art Room
Paint Chip Banners

And if you've enjoyed this post, you might also be into my post about Great Classroom Displays!

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