Color by Number in Middle School Works!

Most people think that Color by Number activities are only for lower elementary grades.  I used to think that way too! I’m always looking for ways to make learning fun…who isn’t?  I needed to find a way to incorporate coloring with older kids. I was looking for something to allow my students to color and learn at the same time.  We all know middle school kids love to color! But…how can I make it educational? Just throwing them a coloring page adds no educational value. I needed to create something that proved that they were learning through the use of colors.  I know what you’re thinking, “My kids are too old for color by number”. I thought so too until I created a new type of Color by Number activity! 

I decided to create a Paul Revere Color by Number Activity.  With this activity, students were citing evidence, reading and re-reading the passage and coloring in their answers based on what they read.  It was the perfect combination! Who doesn’t love to use the latest scented markers or a fresh pack of sharpened color pencils?  According to Ozelike (2009), color coding increased retention and transfer performance.  “Enhancement of learning by color coding was due to efficiency of locating corresponding information between illustration and text.”  When Color by Number is implemented correctly, it can deepen student understanding and aide in thought organization. We Are Teachers has a great post about color coding and differentiation.  Below are reasons to try a Color by Number activity in your upper elementary or middle school classroom.

  1. Color by Number activities are a great change of pace and a unique approach to teaching or reviewing concepts.  Middle school kids are easily bored so something different that allows them to use their creativity is essential for engagement.
  2. Coloring allows students to relax and focus on the task.  I like to play soft music in the background or allow them to sit near a friend, so they enjoy the work they’re doing.
  3. Color by Number with Text Marking incorporates Language Arts skills! These activities ensure that your students are citing evidence from the text and reading the passage multiple times.
  4. These types of activities promote in depth direction following.  If students do not follow the directions carefully, they could color everything wrong!
  5. You can use them at home to reinforce concepts, use them in the classroom or use them with a substitute!
  6. Color by Number reduces anxiety and fidgeting. 
  7. Coloring stimulates brain activity.  Isn’t that the purpose of learning?!

If you want to give Color by Number a try, then download my FREE Paul Revere activity.  This Paul Revere Color by Number and Text Marking activity is the perfect way to bring life to the topic! 

Students complete a “before reading” anticipation guide, read about Paul Revere, answers questions, mark the text for evidence, color the picture according to their answer, and complete the “after reading” anticipation guide.

This is a great cross curriculum activity that also practices Language Arts skills and citing evidence.  You can use this Paul Revere activity to assess prior knowledge.  You can use this activity as a unit review.  Lastly, you could use the student worksheet as a quiz or formative and then let them color as a reward!  You choose what works best for you.

Interested in other Color by Number activities?

Declaration of Independence Color by Number

13 Colonies Color by Number

Jamestown Color by Number

Is there a Social Studies topic that you would like to turn into a Color by Number activity?  Comment below and I’d be happy to create it!

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