The Elementary Classroom
When I initially began teaching I innately began using color. Back then I was teaching sixth grade in an elementary school in a largely self-contained classroom. Color became my friend to help me quickly and easily discern one week from another. As we started the year and began our weekly spelling, grammar, character education, and logic lessons, I used colored paper to help me identify week one from week two from week three and so on, and I used that paper in what I thought was an easy to remember and logical sequence, RAINBOW order.
Everything from week one, from the spelling words, lists, and tests, to the math worksheets, to the logic packet, to the Friday homework letter, etc. were copied on pink paper. (I used pastel colors as they are cheaper than brights.) The next week, it was salmon, then yellow, and so on. Finding missing or late work became a breeze. Sorting papers for storage was simple. And my mind felt calm and organized.
Middle School Organization
So when I stepped into a middle school for the first time, I wasn’t about to let my love and use of color just fall to the wayside, and I found a quick and easy way to use color throughout my daily life.
Middle school found me teaching sixth grade yet again. This time I taught four core classes per day, as well as one class which was essentially a remedial test prep class. Each class was assigned a class color, proceeding in RAINBOW order throughout the day, so period 2 was red (I had period 1 as a prep.), period 3 was yellow, (period 4 was for meetings), period 5 was green, period 6 was blue, and period 7 was purple.
Just like I had done in elementary school, everything for that class was done, prepared, or colored in their class color. Their portfolio folders I kept in the front of the room for them to store their work in were red, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Their absentee board was in these same colors. So was their reward jars, homework board, handouts, homework graph, and more.
Again, this use of color easily and quickly helped me discern period 2 work from period 4, which could also help me see when something was turned in later in the day than during class as directed. It helped me to sort and organize papers rapidly. And it eased my own levels of chaos and anxiety by creating a system of organization and structure that I could easily manage, and that my brain instantly enjoyed.
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