I’m in a grumpy mood today. Maybe it’s the lack of sunshine on this cloudy November day. Maybe it’s the fact that my vacation is almost over and I have to come back to reality. Maybe it’s because all of the apps I want to review are iPhone apps and my iPhone died a couple months back. Whatever the cause, I’m feeling a kind of blah. I’m feeling a bit grey.
That got me thinking about the connection between mood and color. One of my favorite books to read to my kids when they were little was My Many Colored Days by Dr. Suess. A wonderful story about the many colors of our moods. Somedays I’m happy pink, or busy buzzy yellow, or sad and lonely purple. Today. today is a grey day.
Today, because of my colorless mood, I found an app to help you and your students track the color of your days – Year in Pixels.
The Year in Pixels Movement
For all you Bullet Journalers out there, Year in Pixels is not new. It is something that many of you probably already do in your envy-inducing, organized Bullet Journals. (I’ve tried it. I want to get better at it. I bow to all of you who do it.)
The concept of Year in Pixels is simple. Create a grid that represents every day of the year. Each square is a pixel. Create a color key for your moods. Color the square, or pixel, for each day the color that represents your mood. When the year is over you have a visual representation of your mood that year. To learn more about the concept, you can read this tutorial on the Bullet Journal site. You can also read more about this technique on this post by the Little Coffe Fox.
As someone who is fascinated by color, and data, and art, I really like the idea of seeing how my mood changed over time as represented by color.
If a hard copy IRL Year in Pixels seems a bit more than you are ready to commit to, try the Year in Pixels Android app by Teo Vogel or the iOS app by Bullet Journal. I (obviously) took a look at the Android version.
The app is straightforward. You have a grid of pixels. One pixel represents one day. Every day you open the app, select your color, add some emotions, and if you are feeling really chatty, write a journal entry. This information is saved and displayed on your grid.
I like the inclusion of the emotions and a place where you can write. It adds some details to your mood color. You can customize the emotion vocabulary just in case you are feeling uniquely you on that day. You can even customize your color choices. You can set up your own emotion color library.
There is not much more to this app beyond color and journal entry. However, seeing your moods track by color can be a power self-reflection tool.
In the Classroom
Whether you are using the app or the marker and paper technique, Year in Pixels is an excellent is an excellent social emotional strategy for your students. Not only are you helping them reflect on their daily mood and the cause of that mood, you are also building visual literacy skills as you connect color to emotion.
Have your students track their mood for a week then have them review their gid and discuss or write about their mood that week. They can also discuss what caused their mood that week. Have them track another week and compare. What trends do they see? This technique could lead to some powerful discussions about happiness and emotion.
All this talk of color and mood is starting to brighten mine just a little bit. I think I need to go color. I hope the rest of your day is pink!