by Paige Dunn, Art Teacher at The Langley School
As anyone with a Langley Primary Schooler knows, our youngest students take part in a month-long spiral unit each winter which features a theme that’s integrated into every subject area, including art. This year’s theme – the literature of Leo Lionni – provided a great opportunity for me to help our kindergarten art students discover themselves and their friendships through color.
After reading Mr. Lionni’s book, “Little Blue and Little Yellow” – which illustrates the relationship between blue and yellow and how their friendship creates a new color, green – we explored color theory and how the colors of the color wheel are organized. Students were asked essential questions such as: Why do artists use the color wheel? Why is color important?
Each student was given one color, which represented him or her. The class explored and experimented with various brushstrokes as they filled their papers, creating their own identity. Next, students paired with a friend and mixed their two colors to create their own unique friendship color.
Through this process, students learned how color has a deeper meaning than just what it looks like on paper – how it can represent your character and your relationship with others. As we discussed how colors create certain moods and feelings when we see them in art, the students identified their own moods and feelings when creating their identity colors.
Our kindergarten artists also learned how to work respectfully with one another as they explored blending their colors to create their friendship colors. Students beautifully worked through challenges that arose during the process as well. For example, when two students created a brown tone when mixing their identity colors, they were surprised because it was not a color on the color wheel. Their surprise quickly transformed into pure joy, however, as they created what they soon realized was an original color symbolizing their original friendship!
Students truly enjoyed illuminating their friendships with their classmates by exploring color. At the end of each class, the group had the opportunity to reflect. Students shared their colors by identifying them on the color wheel. Some colors that were made were not on the color wheel which provided the opportunity to discuss the process of color mixing on a deeper level.
The colors of our kindergarten artists and their friendships will be on display as a fish mosaic, one of Mr. Lionni’s characters, during their Spiral Unit Celebration performance on Friday, February 19.