Inviting Writers to Take a Fresh Look at Colors!!
    On May 20th, 2008 Amanda Makara, a fourth grader in Mrs. Schleyer's class at Churchville Elementary, crafted the following little masterpiece!
    If you want to find red fly over the ocean to Italy where they serve hot pasta under dark red sauce.   Ride to a traffic light and get stuck at a red light.  Walk over to the flower shop and buy a beautiful red rose.  Maybe go to a shopping market and buy ripe strawberries, under the apples, between the cherries and above the tomatoes...if you want to find red.
    Morgan E. Mavis, a fifth grader at Montgomery Elementary in the North Penn School District, crafted this beautful piece about silver!
    If you want to find silver, jump into a fairy tale and see the castles shining in the sun.  Look up to the sky and see two glittering doves flying off into the distance.  Step outside in your barefeet after a summer storm and see waterdrops on the grass shining or glance at a spider spinning its web if you want to find silver.
    by Morgan E. Mavis
    May 14th, 2008
    Below is some of the  text from Eileen Spinelli’s picturebook If You Want to Find Golden.  (Note: This book is currently out of print.  Try to order it through your local bookstore through used book store avenues!  Newtown Bookshop got it for me in less than a week!)  Below that are some suggestions to help you get your writers started writing a piece that echoes Eileen Spinelli’s masterful writing.  They will end up taking a fresh look at colors!

    If you want to find white,

    Stop by the diner

    where a waiter in a white apron

    will serve you milk

    and a sugary cream doughnut.

    There are paper napkins

    for spills and smudges.

    You can chat with the chef

    in her tall hat

    or peek at the meringue pies

    in the case,

    If you want to see white.

    Choose a color!  Have your students think about and choose a color that is familiar to them.  After choosing the color, invite them to think about connections to that color. 

    Choose a Place!  For example, Eileen Spinelli often selects a special place that is filled with a color.  Shechooses a diner for white and chooses a grocery store for green. 

    Choose an action!  Another thing that Eileen Spinelli does is this: she has you, the reader, doing something – from dodging a spider in the doorway for the color black to listening to the “tinkling party sounds of the city as you fall asleep” for silver. 

    So, have your writers find a PLACE and an ACTION to include in their writing.  Of course they will want to find other items that are connected to or represent their chosen color – from clouds to fruits to foods to furniture to animals to toys to sunsets to all kinds of things!!

    Craft!  Next, teach your writers about slowing down a moment.  This can be achieved, very effectively, by using prepositions at the start of sentences or phrases.  For example, Eileen Spinelli describes golden with a man playing a saxophone on a city street.  She writes: “There’s a man on the street corner who plays golden saxophone.  Listen to the music, dance in the sun, if you want to find golden.”  To slow this down and magnify the music try using prepositions.  The prepositions could be used like this:  Out of his mouth, into the sax and out of the sax, through the air and into my ears - I hear the sound of golden.  Another example would be to take the scene from this book that details the color yellow and mentions mustard on a hot dog.  Imagine re-crafting it in front of your writers with something like this:  Out of the jar, onto the hot dog, along the bun, mustard squirting…if you want to find yellow. 


    If you want to find green walk into Citizen’s Bank Park on a summer Sunday.  The plush green field will fill up your view.  You can hand the hot dog man a green dollar and ask for extra pickles – on the side.  Watch Jimmy Rollins running backward, into the outfield through the shadows onto the grass...diving and sliding to catch that ball.  Now look at Phillies pinstripes streaked with grass if you want to find green.
    Examples of efforts by Miss Schindele's fifth grade writers at
    Goodnoe Elementary (April 29th, 2008):


    If you want to know fuchsia just look up into the sky, above a cloud, in the sunset.  You can see the sun drift, drift, drifting away, fuchsia becoming darker and darker.  The sun leaving the sky, crossing the path of the moon.  People walk through fields of fuchsia flowers that squeal for light, watching fuchsia shirts pass, brushing against the trees with trunks growing with darkness, as fuchsia leaves with the sun.


    Kathleen S.



    If you want to find orange, march on top of the warm sand at the beach.  Inside your beach bag rests a can of Fanta orange soda on top of the Harry Potter book with the orangey red cover.  Energetically stride to the ice cream truck and attempt to slurp up the drippy creamsicle remains if you want to find orange.



    Rachel F.


    If you want to find orange go to the Wachovia Center.  Watch the Flyers skate down the rink and touch the back of the net for the last second goal to win the series.  They all jump on Daniel Briere and celebrate in the rough-house locker room.  The orange jersey flying up in the sky and it gently floats down into the laundry basket.



    Cole G.