I have always been a huge fan of rainbows. Exhibit A:
Yep. That's my 7-year-old self in all my glory. That shirt was my favorite. Later on my favorite shirt was a rainbow tie-dye shirt. I had that thing from middle school all the way through college. So when it comes to organizing and decorating my room, nobody should be surprised that I love my rainbows!
For my first-ever Teacher Tuesday post I'm sharing a work in progress. I just started at my current job last school year, so there was a bit of flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants going on while I adjusted to new students, new classroom, new schedule etc. But I have had a wish list of projects that I have been saving for summer (when I have some time) and this is at the top of my list!
If you have seen my seating chart on TeachersPayTeachers (free download here), you know that I have had my students in 3 rows of 8, with an aisle down the middle. I am keeping the same arrangement but assigning each group of chairs a color. I bought brightly-colored duct tape and I am using it on everything! I am hoping to use this color coding system in a lot of different ways to streamline procedures in my class, but here are a few that I have started on already:
Obviously the first application is with the seats themselves. I think this will make it a lot easier to call students to move to another part of the room or get instruments. Instead of saying, "everybody in the back row on the window side", I can say, "blue group"!! I call students in small groups all the time so that there isn't a mad dash when I want them to go pick an instrument (they are stored on the opposite side of the room) or go to another part of the room for a movement or small group activity. And besides, don't those colors look so happy and wonderful? If the chairs get moved around a lot during class, I also use the lines to help the students (or I) move them back quickly for the next class coming in.
#2: Circle Spots
When I came into this position last year, I inherited one of those wonderful oval rugs with numbers and letters of the alphabet around the edges. I like to have my kindergartners sit primarily on the floor in a circle, and we use circles in movement activities and games in the upper grades, so I had the rug out on the open side of the room for that purpose. The problem was that it was too small. We were always having to start out squished around the rug and then scoot back- which kindof defeats the purpose of having the rug. Would've been faster to just have them make a circle on their own. And of course there was always the discussion of wanting to sit at the letter with which their name starts. Or picking at threads on the edge of the rug. Sigh. So this year I knew I wanted to put tape down on the floor instead. AND they have the same colors that they have in their chair groups! My plan is to tell students from each color group to pick a spot with their color. That way they have some choice but because it is limited it won't take as long and there will be fewer arguments. And it's guaranteed to mix them up from who they are next to in their chairs! For kindergarten, I am currently thinking I will assign each student to a color but let them choose their spot, as long as it's the right color so that, again, they have limited options. I can't wait to try it out with my students!
Obviously this is still a work in progress, but this gives you an idea of where I'm headed. I am sorting all the supplies we use most often- clipboards, dry erase staff boards, pencils, erasers, crayons, and pens- into colors to match their groups. Not only will this system make it easier to hand out and collect supplies each time, but it will also help with another problem I had last year: the Case of the Disappearing Pencils. It was amazing how many discussions I had with students about whether the pencil they were trying to stuff in their pockets at the end of class was mine or theirs. And even with all of that, I STILL managed to keep losing track of pencils, erasers, and crayons. It was amazing. I have seen several examples on Pinterest of putting tape on pencils like this one from Kristen Dembroski (side note: Isn't that rainbow tape awesome? Don't worry, I have some of that too and I have a special plan for it already.):
It occurred to me that I could take this idea and also coordinate it with my color groups. Multiple birds, one stone! I am contemplating the possibility of writing numbers on those tags- 1-4 for each color- and writing the same numbers on the chair tape so that I can keep track of exactly which student hasn't turned in their pencil etc, but I haven't gone that far yet.... :)
I have some other applications planned for my new color system, but I will save those thoughts for later when I have finished making them and can actually show them to you. Thanks for reading! Have you used color-coding systems in your classroom? How do you use them and do you like it?