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One of my favorite books about colors and chameleons is A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni.
This book is a short picture book about a chameleon that is different from other animals because he does not stay the same color all the time. He comes up with a plan to stay one color, but it doesn’t work. Finally, he finds a chameleon friend that can always be the same color as him as long as they stick together! The story is cute and colorful. Once you have read the story to your class, you can discuss colors, emotions, and feelings about being alike or unlike others.
You can also incorporate art through an activity related to this book. Talk to your students about what they would like the chameleon to camouflage into. You will be creating these ideas through making “rubbings.” Here’s how:
- First, cut out chameleon shapes from thick cardstock paper.
- Place a cut-out for each child under a piece of white computer paper.
- Next, the students will make “rubbings” of the chameleon shape on the white paper with their crayons by taking their crayon and coloring with it on its side. You might need to peel all of the paper off of the crayon before you can do this.
- Encourage your students to be creative with their chameleon. They can color it like objects around the room, their own clothes, and so much more! For example, you might want your chameleon to blend in with a watermelon. To do this, you would color part of your chameleon green, part red, and add black seeds.
- When you are done coloring your watermelon slice, you will be able to see the outline of a chameleon.
Once you’re on the topic of chameleons, you can talk about reptiles and the things that chameleons blend in with. Send your class on an outdoor nature hunt to look for chameleons or other lizards. Encourage students to look under leaves, in grass…and even on the school building! You can bring art outdoors and let your students do tracings of leaves and other textures outside, as well.
If you’re not feeling crafty or you can’t go outside, you can relate A Color of His Own to the social skills in your classroom. You can discuss friendship with your students and the importance of finding friends that you feel comfortable around. Also, you can talk about how students, like animals and chameleons, are all different from each other. The students will enjoy comparing themselves to the story!
Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia who often shares her good ideas on A Learning Experience.