Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Color, Critical Thinking, and Camouflage

It's hard to find books with science content that are appropriate for primary grade students, but George Shannon has authored one that is perfect. White is for Blueberry focuses on colors, but they are not presented in typical fashion. Shannon pushes the reader's thinking by highlighting different aspects of the identified object, as exemplified by the rest of the title sentence, "...when the berry is still too young to pick." Young children will quickly engage in the book as a guessing game, which, with guidance from the teacher, presents multiple opportunities to hypothesize and draw conclusions. And, the clever ending provides a jumping-off point for a discussion of perspective.

And, I couldn't let this go without pointing out the obvious language arts connection; the simple text  provides a great model for writing informational text! Even kindergarteners could complete a sentence frame based on the book:  (Color) is for (object) when...

If you decide to follow a color theme, it would be easy to continue with Melissa Stewart's  A Rainbow of Animals series. Six different books, Why are Animals (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, or Purple) highlight how and animals use their colors. The easy text and vivid photographs make these books fast favorites among the younger crowd, as well. Plus, Melissa offers a reader's theater script and curriculum guide on her Science Clubhouse website.


It would also be quite easy to use these books to introduce camouflage, and though it isn't quite as stunning as some of the other books we've highlighted here, Animals in Camouflage, by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes, is another great book. This book, too, presents the information in kind of a guessing game format. Each animal description is told in rhyming verse, and ends with the question, "What am I?" Upon turning the page, the reader gets the answer as well as more details about the animal. However, my favorite part (as usual) comes at the end of the book when Tildes provides more detailed descriptions of types of camouflage (blending, color change, disguise, and pattern), identifies the type used by each animal presented in the book, and adds even more information about the animals in an additional paragraph.This book is perfect for taking the concept of color to a higher level.


  1. Color, Critical Thinking, and Camouflage
    Blog #1: Madelyne Huff
    June 13, 2013

    While I could come up with multiple activities for these three books: White Is For Blueberry, a Rainbow of Animals Series, and Animals in Camouflage, I have come up with a fun activity for the second option (or at least I think I have). For this particular topic, students could focus on one color per day. For example, the class could focus on why animals are orange on Monday, red on Tuesday, yellow on Wednesday, green on Thursday, and blue on Friday. However, if students need more time to explore this topic, they could spend two days on each color and do this for a two-week period.
    After reading the book, students could cut out magazine/article pictures of animals that are the same color (e.g. only animals that are orange) and glue/tape them in their science journal. Students will need to reserve two journal pages for each color. I would have the animal clippings be on the first page and have the students explain why these animals are that particular color on the second page. For example,

    • 1) Animals clippings
    • 2) “Animals are orange because….”

    At the end of the week, students will be able to explain why
    animals are certain colors. They will also be able to look back in their journals and reflect on their thoughts and see how their journal skills progressed throughout the school year. I would probably use this activity with younger children, but I think this would be a fun way to learn why animals are certain colors!

  2. I love how White Is For Blueberry can very well be connected to standards in Language Arts as it is almost required to overlap subjects and standards within a lesson. I think it is also important to have the students thinking and guessing throughout the book so that their interests do not drop.
    I like how the Rainbow of Animals series offers students more than just one book to explore colors, and it is through animals that they probably see at home, in the community, or on the playground. It looks like from the cover that photographs are used in the illustrations so I think that helps young readers connect to what it actually looks like in nature when animals use their colors.
    Animals in Camouflage would be great to introduce the color camouflage, as some students may not be familiar with that. Also I like how the book goes into different varieties of camouflage to describe how animals hide and protect themselves through camouflage. This could be connected to an art lesson about different shades of colors or to a poetry lesson since the book is laid out in free verse. Just another beneficial way to connect standards!