Language and colour – a CLIL warm up assignment (content and language integrated learning)

For a number of years I’ve been using an assignment aimed at stretching pupils’ vocabulary in the very early days of them starting to get to grips with English in my bilingual art room.  It focusses on trying to introduce more descriptive terms than just the most basic ones. It is also an assignment that in terms of my art lesson is about a little colour theory and learning to mix colours. The aim being to stop them relying simply on the shades that come directly out of the pot.

muddyIn a nutshell, it is all about taking a particular shade of a colour, maybe a rather ‘in-between’ sort of an example and to try and think of an appropriate name for the colour.  I encourage them to try and be creative and not go for the obvious.  Perhaps my favourite example is ‘goal mouth brown’….that shade of brown of the muddy puddle of earth and water that forms in a well trodden goalmouth of a football pitch on the school playing field!

Its a simple little assignment, that could certainly be built on or developed.  In the art room by the mixing of multiple variations of a particular shade from the colour circle for  example, and dreaming up suitable titles for them.  In the language classroom the colours that have been given these new names could become feather focus of a piece of creative writing or poetry perhaps.

A link to the small assignment sheet that I use can be found below:

Colour mixing assignment sheet

One of the reasons I am prompted to write this post is that I discovered today the ‘colour-thesaurus’ as made by Ingrid Sundberg.  She’s taken this idea so much further and her grids of names could themselves also easily to generate extremely rich and varied pieces of colour inspired writing.

Ingrid Sundberg’s Colour


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