I love a good color coding systems because yes it’s pretty and cute but I actually love it because it’s functional as crap. Today let’s talk about color coding and why half the time it’s more helpful to the staff than the students. And that’s just fine. When staff know what’s going on – students have a way better chance of knowing what’s going on. So let’s talk color coding and all of the options you have and there’s a great little freebie at the end also 😉
Let’s be real for a minute. Our classrooms can be super confusing. While that chaotic looking excel schedule may make complete sense to you – it might not to your staff. There are different kids in different places at different times. Kids are moving every and switching every 20 minutes. Centers is different from independent work and independent work is different from math work. There’s a lot going on. And while you are have dreams about schedules and your brain literally never turns off about everything school related – it may not be the same for our staff (and can we blame them?!). So when trying to explain this controlled chaos, we need to be understanding that our staff may not get the vision right away. And our staff need to know what’s going on if we want their help to direct all of our students where to go. So what can we do to fix this – color coding to the rescue!
Color code everything. And I mean everything. Every single time you write morning meeting it’s in red —> adult excel schedule, the student excel schedule, the student’s visual schedule, the label at morning meeting, the binders at morning, the mini schedule at morning meeting. I’m talking everywhere. And go ahead and do that for every center in your classroom. So when a para is confused where Johnny goes next, she looks at Johnny’s schedule and it says math centers in blue, she looks and see the shelf and table labeled “math centers” in blue, and she send him there. Perfection. There was no need for you to stop what you were doing, no chance for teaching the wrong transition, and no potential meltdown by the student.
If you don’t quiet need that level of color coding, but some additional help with easing transitions and independence would be appreciate – check out this color coded mini schedule. I love this and have been sending it out to my teacher clients non-stop lately. It’s so simple and easy. Label 4 centers with each color. Insert a photo of the center on the label and add a list of what students do there. Create a mini schedule for each student (or group of students) to show them the order they will do the centers. Teach, model, reinforce, repeat! I love this for a spare hour in your schedule that needs some structure. This would be great for structured leisure time (ie. rotate between games, drawing, computer, and legos) or great for specials classes (how great would this be in gym class!?). Grab this fully editable freebie here and ENJOY! Color coding for al! Color Coded Mini Centers Schedule