Coloring sheets for older students seem to be the rage. And popular fads can be productive, beneficial fads.
My Facebook feed has gobs of advertisements and blog posts focused on coloring sheets or coloring books for adults or teenagers. Most of the coloring books in my house are for my toddlers, and include Dora or Elmo. My oldest children typically don’t sit and color (video games!), but I wanted to read about this interest in coloring. I wanted to mom-research. I did, and eventually, it led to teacher research.
Like I mentioned, I became interested in this because of my two oldest children. They are different; one is craftsy and invents art projects, while the other is logical and mathematical. For Christmas, we gave the artsy child a “grown up” coloring book. She loved it.
The older (math-lovin’) child asked for sheet from the notebook. I though surely he wouldn’t bother with it.
I was wrong; they both sat, coloring, inventing.
Their finished products were different. One had a symmetry, a pattern to it. The other was carefree, with splashes of every color from the pencil box. (I’ll let you guess which child had which drawing.)
Ok, my non-scientific experiment worked with my children. They both loved coloring. What about research? Could coloring in the classroom help students? I found these benefits to coloring.
School (and certain elements or classes) stress students. Coloring relaxes people, and students find it low stakes. I personally would not consider myself artsy, but when I color with my children, I do find myself relaxed. In a world of stress, I like to offer coloring for my students.
When we have early-dismissal days, low-attendance days, or any other odd day at school, I offer coloring sheets with review activities. Students are still working, but in a low-pressure way.
Looking to transition from one part of class to the next? Coloring can increase creativity and can be the perfect warm-up for writing or other creative endeavors: “The practice generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity.” Many of my students color during First Chapter Friday, and I wonder if the act of coloring helps them remember the stories. (If anyone has research on doodling while reading, I’d love to see it. My brief search turned up nothing.)
It seems that research supports implementing coloring sheets for older students. Years ago when learning styles were the rage in education, I purposely
The result is Color by Grammar. Students will study grammar while coding the answers for coloring. I’m massively aware that many students dislike grammar, and to address that, I’m trying to create ways of making grammar more than a worksheet. By combining coloring and grammar, I hope students achieve multiple benefits.
In my effort to create coloring sheets for older students, I’ve tied in coding. I wanted older students to have a “key” and not simply a coloring sheet. That may be next, after I experiment with students and coloring.
Studying grammar provides insight into our language. Hopefully by adding a splash of color and a dose of relaxation, students enjoy grammar lessons.
You can find grammar coloring sheets for older students here:
I also created literary coloring sheets for note-taking and brainstorming. I hope that however you implement coloring into your secondary classroom, students relax and focus.