I. Introduction/Warm-Up (20 min.)
Read Adélia Prado’s poem, "Praise for a Color," to the class. Ask the class to listen for sound and feeling… How does Adélia Prado feel about yellow? Talk about praise. What does it mean to praise something?
Then ask: Does the poem feel like a morning poem? An afternoon poem? A nighttime poem?
Talk about the 5 senses in the poem. Make boxes on the board for each.
Senses: Taste? (honey, papaya) Touch? (spread, smooth, stinger) Hear? (flute, oboe, downpour) See? (blindness) Smell? (maybe rain, maybe morning) What does yellow taste like?
This poem is translated from Portuguese by Ellen Watson. Sound is very important in the poem in English and in the language it was first written in, Portuguese.
If possible read the poem in Portuguese. And/or ask a student to try. Do they hear any repeating sounds?
‘Amarelo’ is ‘yellow’ in Portuguese.
Read the poem again in English, and ask the class to listen for words that sound the same (alliteration). Ex: papayas, pulp (sticky feel!)
What do you think tropicordial might mean? What does it sound like or remind you of? I think of music and hot weather. It seems to be a made-up word that uses two senses… [I would tend to gloss over most of the difficult words, except tropicordial and oboe: viscera, infer, penetrable, nucleus, ovum, interior, minuscule, luminous, engender]
II. Writing Activity (20 min.)
Pre-write: Give students a piece of paper with five big boxes (equal sizes)— one box for each of the five senses. Then ask the students to pick a color they can think of good things about. Ask them to draw/write some ideas in each of the boxes of the five senses.
Now they can tell the story of their color on another paper.
Try to use as many of the senses as you can. You can look at the boxes you just made for ideas. See if you can combine two or more senses to make to make up a new word (like Adélia Prado and Ellen Watson did).
Start with an action—what does your color do?
What time does your color come to life? How does it change?
What would your color say about its own name if asked?
Does your color play music? What kind? Does it have a favorite sound?
III. Closing Activity (20 min.)
Go around the room and share.
Samples of student work:
Sea Robin's Egg
Robin’s egg blue
The robin’s egg
A clear lake
Combined and you get
Sea robin’s egg
—Luke Connell, 4th grade
Blue carries surfers and ships and helps fish live and breathe. Blue is one of the colors you might find in that slurpie you bought at the mall. Blue wakes up in the morning. Blue is your friend in the digital age. Blue can be one of the balloons at a birthday. Blue may appear on an iguana. Blue is on the American flag. Blue is on the bleach you use to clean your clothes. Blue is on a crayon.
—James Noriega, 3rd grade