Color coding classroom materials by level is one of those things that wish I had started my first year of teaching. It's been a life changer in my classroom! Most often, our special education classrooms are full of students whose instructional levels vary greatly. I like to have materials and activities that are easy for students to access independently and for my paras to assist with, but I want my students to complete tasks that are at their level.
To do this effectively with minimal interruptions, I use a colored-coded level system. Here is how it works.
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As I purchase and prep new activities, I organize them into one of 5 colored levels. Each year, I assign students a color. When it's time for independent work or when there is downtime due to a schedule change or behavior, students can just grab a task of their color and get to work! I use this system for file folder activities, task cards, and centers.
My color coded level system looks like this:
Red: 2nd-3rd grade reading level, numbers over 100, multiplication, division, fractions
Yellow: 1st grade reading level, counting and numbers to 100, WH questions, addition, subtraction and calculator math
Green: writing words, CVC words, sight words, counting & numbers to 20, letter sounds
Blue: identical matching, tracing, counting & numbers to 10, letter identification, etc.
Here are some of the items that I use to keep everything organized. The images are affiliate links- you can click on them if you're interested in purchasing!
Colored file folders:
For file folders, I prep them on the correct color folder so leveling is super easy!
Colored book bins:
These are perfect for storing file folders or adapted books!
Colored dot or star stickers:
If you have regular manila file folders, just place a sticker on the tab to level. You can level task cards with these as well.
I print all of my center labels directly on Astrobrights paper, then attach the label to the baggie.
Do you level your classroom activities? I'd love to hear how!