Let's start with a series of questions.
-How many times a day do your students engage in some form of coloring?
-During what activities or lessons do you find your students doodling?
- Do you have trouble restraining yourself from doodling during a faculty meeting?
- When you think of coloring a picture, do you feel happy, light, or carefree?
There's a lot of to do about coloring books in adult form lately. I'm sure when you graced the floors of the Barnes and Noble this Holiday season to use your 25% off Educator's discount, you happened across the ornate adult coloring book display. If you were like myself, it certainly got your attention. A little trigger of excitement welled up in me at the thought of COLORING!
Coloring is the NEW therapy, a new antidote for stress relief. Apparently, concentrating on intricate designs causes us to slow down, develop a hobby of enjoyment, create something beautiful and appeal to our inner desire for a slower pace, self accomplishment and aesthetic sights.
Have you opened an adult coloring book and looked through it? These are by large, not LARGE spaced designs. They are small areas of coloring meant to require precision and care. You cannot hurry through one of these. Just because I was curious, I actually tried out a page in my mom's book today. Here's what I found out: It was time consuming. It could not be rushed and it's meant to be done in a series of multiple sittings, a returning to intentional quiet time and concentration of a repetitive movement.
Interestingly, I have always loved art BUT I never loved coloring during school and often found myself hurrying and doing a half-way job to just get finished with the assignment. On the contrary, it was only in the slow paced environment of my own room that I ENJOYED coloring or drawing. Then, I would say it was actually relaxing.
SO that brings me to the CLASSROOM, YOUR CLASSROOM, and all those questions.
- How many times a day do your students color in your classroom?
* Really, in my experience, there isn't WHOLE lot of time to color in third grade, but I bet a lot of your activities in the younger primary grades involve some coloring. Am I right?
Now, what kind of environment are you creating during this coloring? Are your students rushed like I was in school?
Do you have calming music playing?
Do you have a large time block during the activity or even an opportunity to revisit the coloring activity the next day?
IF not, you may want to consider bringing about some changes as much as possible.
Your goal is to create an environment for learning which is calming, in which your students can also concentrate! A calming time of learning related coloring can be a blessing to those students you have who approach you, begging you to do something about "all the noise". Even good noise, productive noise, isn't something we are built to hear all the time. FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!!
-How do you know if you have a large majority of students who can benefit from coloring?
Do your students like to do color by number activities?
Are they excited about projects that cause the creativity in coloring light to pop on?
Do you have students who are prone behavior problems, have ADD or ADHD, are special needs that involve instability, but usually can find calmness during a coloring activity?
Using coloring frequently, may help the brain to engage differently. Hey, we're all about DIFFERENTIATION, right? Who thought offering a calming environment through learning related coloring could be a form of differentiation?
What about DOODLING? Did you doodle in school? Do you doodle during faculty meetings? (Be honest! I won't tell!) Do you perk up in a learning environment when allowed to draw?
Doodling can actually help students listen and retain information! Yes! You may already know this, but let's revisit it in context of your CLASSROOM.
- During what activities or lessons do you find your students doodling?
Next time you see your students doodling, it doesn't necessarily mean you need to correct their behavior or redirect them to participation. Doodling doesn't always lack productivity and can't always be labeled as a waste of time.
First, what is the class doing? Some appropriate times for students to doodle- and I would encourage them to doodle, is while listening to a read aloud, listening to or watching an informative video, or any other times when listening to information is involved. Surprisingly, the brain is very active while someone is doodling and people who are asked questions about what they heard while doodling, are more likely to be able to answer those questions correctly!
Why not do a study in your own classroom and see how your students comprehend in the auditory realm? Some may benefit! An option to doodle is always a good idea for those who learn better that way! Again, key word here is DIFFERENTIATION...
To SUMMARIZE- Coloring in the classroom while at the same time creating a SLOW PACED and CALMING environment can BENEFIT many types of students, if not all of them. (and YOU too). :)
Doodling during listening activities can actually help improve student comprehension. Not all students may be this way, so give the option to your doodlers!
I've included a slideshow below of some of my color-by-number related resources. Remember, we like to color! :) Please Enjoy!