Obsessed with Paint Chips: Using Paint Chips to make Lessons Colorful

I'm sure my feelings for Paint Chips can be classified as an obsession.  I am posting about 6 ways to use paint chips my classroom.  Can you think of more ways...please tell me.

Paint Chips. I can’t help it.  There is something about those multi-hues that is so appealing.  I used them when I taught a scrapbook class on colors.  AND I love the commercials from Sherman-Williams using animated paint chips.   Here are a few ideas for using them in your classroom.  I have blogged about the first two ideas in previous posts.

Vocabulary Gradients

I'm sure my feelings for Paint Chips can be classified as an obsession.  I am posting about 6 ways to use paint chips my classroom.  Can you think of more ways...please tell me.

I love this idea.  If you want your students to stop using “generic” adjectives like cold, hot, small, and big, give them other ideas.  True text gradients, show words on a scale…icy is colder than cold, but arctic is colder than icy.

However, using smaller or shortened paint chips, even kindergarten can use it to describe “small” as tiny, little, or itty-bitty.  Vocabulary gradients can be alternative adjectives.  Students can also be given a mentor text to hunt for words on the gradient.  

In the book “Shiver Me Letters:  A Pirate ABC,” students can work in pairs in a word hunt to find words for said and write them on the paint chips. (They can find roared, cried, yelled, questioned, and moaned.) Later, when they are writing you can encourage them to make their writing “colorful.”

See more ideas for vocabulary in the post, 4 Vocabulary Roadblocks to Avoid and 5 More Strategies to Learn New Words.

Word Family Flips

Providing the students with word family words on a ring, this can become a fluency activity for independent reading.  You can even have students read these word family rings in partners.  One can read, while the other times the reader.  

As the reader finishes, the other writes the time.  They should not race against each other, but instead race against themselves.

Check out more word family ideas with the following posts: Onset and Rime: Teaching Encoding and Decoding with Word Patterns and Magnet Letters: 6 Ideas for Success.

Obsessed with Paint Chips: Using Paint Chips to make Lessons Colorful

Fill in the Blank

Obsessed with Paint Chips: Using Paint Chips to make Lessons Colorful

I would suggest laminating these cards and allowing students to use a dry erase marker.  Make sure they know they can’t erase until someone checks their work.

You can even tell them to write it with dry erase first, then copy the strips to a piece of paper.  This could also be adapted for any math activity.

I’m thinking one more, one less by writing a target number in the middle, counting by 2s, 5s, or 10s, adding or subtracting with 1 color for the “plus,” “minus” or “equal signs,” or even creating patterns. SOOOO many options.

compound words

This is a newfangled (it’s a word) paint chip is great for anything that needs to be constructed or deconstructed.  Again, laminate and use dry erase.  

The set above is for compound words, but it could be used for prefixes, suffixes, contractions, onset and rime. It could also be used for math. The large number goes in the top and what number parts can you make for the two lower spaces.

If each child in the group has 9 each child could have 1 and 8, 2 and 7, 3 and 6, 4, and 5 and so on.

Obsessed with Paint Chips: Using Paint Chips to make Lessons Colorful

Summary Bookmarks

Obsessed with Paint Chips: Using Paint Chips to make Lessons Colorful

This activity combines three of my favorite things: The Magic Tree House Afternoon on the Amazon, SWBSA, and paint chips. Providing students with a bookmark for their summary is the perfect way to create a reading response activity.  If you’d like a full description of the summary strategy, check out

And a little something for Fun

Finally, this is just a fun one.  I loved making these ornaments at our Winter Party.

Be Fair

Don’t clean out any paint supply section.  Get what you need here and there…and laminate when you can.

For those of you who don’t have access to paint chips, I made a sample pack of things to do.  If you’d like the Paint Chip Sample Set, check the form below.

I also have 3 sets in my store that mimic paint chips.

SO this is my mini-obsession.  Do you use these differently?

Obsessed with Paint Chips: Using Paint Chips to make Lessons Colorful
Cathy Collier

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