Put Those Paint Samples to Use!

I am reading THE cutest book with my kids - Clementine by Sara Pennypacker. Know it?

This is the second year I've read this book and sadly, I still haven't come up with great activities to go along with it. But Im starting now! I actually just found this great free teacher's guide written by the publisher. Woot! In the book Clementine is a precocious little girl in third grade, who is sent to a gifted class, but is disappointed because there are no gifts! She is always in trouble for not paying attention, but she swears she IS paying attention (but to all the wrong things, like egg stains on her teacher's shirt or the birds outside the window) This book is incredible as a mentor text for voice and word choice, among other things and it's such a sweet story about friends and family relationships. Really, I could go on and on about this book - it's just freakin adorable and the lessons just pop right off the page.

In one part of the book, Clementine talks about how the most exquisite words are found in the bathroom. Like mascara, fluoride and laxative! With a name like Clementine to match her orange hair and a black cat named mascara, a lesson on word choice is begging to be taught! I have been hoarding collecting paint samples from Home Depot and this was the perfect way to use them. Just do a search on Pinterest for paint chips and it's easy to see I'm not the only one!

I passed out samples to small groups and had them investigate the names of the colors. I found that Glidden paints had names that were most kid friendly like Cool Cucumber, Sandy Feet, Bubblegum, Banana Cream Pie and Mint Shake (except for sexy pink which slipped past me. oops!) They loved reading them and comparing the colors, choosing favorites and discussing which ones they would use to paint the classroom if they could!

Then we discussed the colors a bit and talked about how some people actually have the job of naming paint colors, nail polish colors and crayon colors (how do you land that gig? I could totally be an OPI rockstar!) Then we took out our writer's notebook and created a few samples of our own. They were very intense in guarding their new paint names. I was told to stop giving examples because I was taking all the good ones! lol! I forgot to take pictures of the drafts in their writers notebooks. darnit.

The next day we used this little printable to publish our final version of our invented paint color.  Click {HERE} to download a copy.  Creative kids, huh?

Seriously, Fire to the Rain?? They don't even know about my girl crush on Adele! Yes, now the song is going through my head too...

It's a shade of girly pink...love it!

Funny Dirt, Weird Dirt, Garages...this is boy territory.

It's so "earthy!" I may even use it for MY indoor atrium! lol!

Mixed up Madness. I do love a good rainbow after a terrible storm.
This might be my favorite. It's James P. Sullivan from Monsters, Inc.! Of course in his writer's notebook it was
James Pee Soloman...nothing a little editing can't solve.

Even if you're not reading Clementine, you can certainly use this great lesson on word choice with the paint chips that you probably have stashed away somewhere (I'm not the only one, right?). Another great mentor text for this lesson would be My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss - super easy to fit in during your Seussapalooza next month. Have students make connections between colors and feelings, how different colors set a mood, convey a tone, etc. You can also try The Mixed Up Chameleon and discuss the way the chameleon associates colors with different attributes (strong and white like a polar bear, handsome like a pink flamingo, etc). Of course there's always I Love You the Purplest which is great for Mother's Day.

There are also some great lessons to be had here about sentence fluency. One of the descriptions is actually a question and the other has a touch of alliteration. Depending on what skill you want to target and how deep you want take it, this lesson could span one day or an entire week.

Feel free to make it your own! I'd love to see what you do with it :)

P.S. Before you go, be sure you've read this post about the crazy awesome Pinterest contest!


  1. How creative! I absolutely love this idea! So open ended on what the kids can come up with. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Conversations in Literacy

  2. ha! What A CUUUUUTE idea!! :) I like it

    ♥ Jen
    The Teachers' Cauldron

  3. This is super cute! I bet your kids had so much fun with this activity! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Those are cute! One of my very good friends owns a hardware store. After seeing all these paint chip activities, I talked to her and she said that anytime I need some, just ask her and she get me a whole box full! Yay :)

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  5. Hi! I am a teacher, too, and I love your website! Can you invite me to Pinterest?

  6. That is a great idea! I'm so glad you shared it. Now I HAVE to find that book!
    My daughter shared with me using the multicolored paint samples and a heart punch. Punch hearts down the side, cut the sample in half and do the same on the other side. Tie a pretty ribbon at the top and wa-la you have a book mark!
    Thank you for sharing this!


    Second In Line

    1. That bookmark sounds cute! Clementine is a great read aloud. It reminds me a little of Gooney Bird Greene - another absolute favorite!

  7. I really enjoyed reading the students' work. Thanks for sharing such a great lesson!
    Fern Smith’s Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith’s Pinterest Boards!

  8. This is adorable! Thank you - it will go well with our Fancy Nancy Unit we do!

  9. Love the idea ! Thanks for sharing :) Your kid's work is pretty amazing....

  10. Super ideas!! I love the language used by the kids to describe!!

    First Grade Blue SKies

  11. Awesome idea! I love the paint descriptions by the kids. Also your kids have great handwriting. Impressive


  12. Do we have permission to pin things from your blog? Because I think I have before. Just wondering.

    1. Absolutely Sarah! Pin til your heart's content :)

  13. Cute idea! I'm a new follower thanks to the Pinterest contest!

    Kaleigh's Klassroom

  14. Oh I love this!! I have *tons* of paint samples! My favorite of yours is "funny dirt" haha!

    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  15. Hahahahha Justin would write "funny dirt" I LOVE it!! This activity is SO super cute!!!

    Kindergarten Smiles

  16. I love this idea. Thanks. Also, I have some blog questions and was wondering if you know where I could go to get some answers. I have started a blog bubbalulu.blogspot.com but I love the other teacher blogs with their set up and design and I'm not sure how to go about setting mine up in a more reader friendly fashion. My e-mail is pig5010@msn.com and my name is Jill, I teach 2nd grade in Idaho.

    I love the newsletters, thanks so much

  17. Oh,I love this! Super cute! Thanks for sharing!!

  18. I love Clementine, too! What's her brother's name today? Perhaps it's Asparagus! Love the creative writing activity...Thanks for sharing!

  19. Stumbled across your blog today as I was looking up ideas for centers this week. I am currently and intern in a second grade class. I am absolutely in love with your blog and all your wonderful ideas!! I am now a loyal follower :) Thank you so much!!


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