Colors and Vocabulary

  1. Introduction
  2. Teach It 
  3. Dig Deeper


This segment discusses the importance of selecting rich and specific vocabulary to be able to best communicate ideas.

Time: 45-50 minute period


  • Students analyze how language functions in different contexts.
  • Students determine how specific word choices impact meaning of text.
  • Students recognize and acquire descriptive vocabulary.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts:

  • R.CCR.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • L.CCR.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
  • L.CCR.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
  • W.CCR.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Maine Learning Results Visual and Performing Arts Standards:

  • A2 Elements of Art and Principles of Design – Visual Arts
  • E2 The Arts and Other Disciplines

Segment Vocabulary:

cliché, rendering

Word Wall

Teach It

Prior to viewing:

Display one generic word, such as hello, goodbye, happy, or sad.  Ask students to write a list of words or phrases that they use or have heard that mean the same thing.  For example, if the word is “hello,” students might include on their list, “hey,” “yo,” and “what’s up?”  Compile student lists and ask students if each way of saying “hello” works in every situation.  Provide them with scenarios, such as “If you were with a friend/principal/ complete stranger which form of ‘hello’ would you choose to use?”

Discuss the importance of choosing the right words when writing.  Ask students how they think painters, too, might need to be selective when they are painting. Tell students that the video segment further explains the importance of word choice.

Writing Through Art Activity:

Display the image(s) that students used in the last class to create a list of words and ask students to revisit the general list they created. Ask students to refine their list by adding additional, more specific words that provide more description. For example, if they have the word “blue” on their list, ask them to use a more descriptive word, as in the video example. Encourage students to consult sources such as a dictionary and a color wheel to acquire more specific terms.

Ask students to share their word list with a partner. Partners should discuss if the words aptly describe the image.

Think Pair Share:

Ask students to explain how colors in a painting are similar to vocabulary in writing and why color/word choice is important.

Literacy Strategy-Think Pair Share

Dig Deeper

Note: If students created a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast art and writing in the first segment, revisit the diagram and make any necessary additions or corrections based on this segment. For example, the Narrator equated an artist mixing colors to writers adding words together (i.e. “brain-bending blue eyes”).

Ask the class to generate a list of random words. Then, plug them into a phrase to see the effect. For example, in the video, the Narrator used the phrase “blue eyes.” Plug the student-created list of words next to “blue eyes” and view the results.

Wacky Web Tales is an online version of Mad Libs that provides definitions for the parts of speech, if needed. Ask students to select a tale and enter the necessary parts of speech to create a Wacky Web Tale.

Provide each student with one object from a larger group of similar objects, such as an apple from a bag of the same variety or one pencil from a box of pencils. Have them write a detailed description of the item and share the writing with a classmate. Is the classmate able to use the written description to identify the correct item?

Link to teacher inspired lessons: