Submitted by Teresa B. Singer, Kinston, North Carolina

Idea posted August 12, 2002

At the beginning of the school year, I shared the book Over The Rainbow by E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen, illustrations by Julia Noonan, with kindergarten and first grade classes. To "get to know" the students a little better, I gave them a chance to tell me their favorite color. To take the activity a step further and to integrate math into the lesson, we created rainbow graphs.

I cut from newsprint two cloud shapes with a sunshine in the corner for each class. After painting the sunshine yellow, I wrote the classroom teacher's name on the sunshine. I glued the two papers together, leaving the bottom open. After stuffing a little paper inside the two clouds, I stapled strips of paper along the bottom to close the cloud. The paper strips were in the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. As I stapled, I formed a link with each color.

I have six small tables in my classroom, each has a different color of the rainbow taped to the center of the table. I had corresponding colored paper strips and crayons on each table. Students had to go to the table which had his/her favorite color on it. Then each student wrote his/her name on a strip of paper corresponding with that color. The students were invited to insert their strip through the matching link on the rainbow cloud until the entire class had completed this activity. When all of the links were added, we could make comparisons about what color was the class favorite, which color was the least liked, etc.

As each class finished, I punched a hole in the top of the cloud, tied a piece of yarn through the hole for a hanger and suspended them from the ceiling of the music classroom. This was a great visual for the students to learn to read graphs, but even more importantly, they loved seeing those cloud shaped rainbow graphs billowing in the music room sky.