My scholars are absolutely amazing! They range in disability from academic to social skills to behavioral. They are all so smart in their own way. With that said, they all learn in their own unique manner. When they are in my class, they know that they are safe and can leave behind their worries of living in poverty and all of the emotional strains that it brings, and just learn. Learn to read, write, calculate, and connect with their peers. Each student is assigned a color which correlates with my file. For example, Joe is assigned red. All of his supplies are red, as is my file folder with all of his data and current IEP.
Over the years, I have found that color plays a significant role in my student's (scholars) lives: many of whom need help with organizational, academic, social skills and/or behavioral support. One of the ways that I have been able to help them decipher what is yours, mine and ours is through color. So I created a color coded system that may seem a little over the top to the average person, but really truly works for them and me.
Here's how it works:
Each scholar is assigned a color. This scholar receives a binder, highlighter, small sticky note pad, large sticky note pad, and dry eraser. Depending on the age or need of the student, he/she might also have a pen, pencil grip or other form of support specific for him/her. All of this will be in the exact same color! This then correlates with all of my materials for the same student. Joe has red everything and all of my folders, pens and such will also be red.
I work with small groups all day long. Each scholar knows his/her color and usually learns the colors of the others in the group. The color coding helps my scholars to be more organized, responsible and independent. At the same time, it also helps him/her to understand that everyone learns differently and that's okay.
The majority of my students have a math goal on their Individual Education Plan. Each goal is specific for each student’s needs. Most need automaticity in addition to subtraction or counting. So we begin our 30 minute small group time with our version of “Minute to Win it”. Each student has a laminated page of math “problems” to solve based on the individual goal. I set a timer for 60 seconds. Each student will solve as many of the problems, in any order, before time runs out. After time is called, I check their work and let them know how many are correct. Then, we graph their correct number of answers. The graph will have a background photo behind of a person of color (The majority of my students are of color.) who inspires them. It could be an athlete, MLK, musician, one of their teachers, etc.
After the activity is complete their laminated page, special colored dry erase marker, and graph are put away in their color coded binder. This is one of their favorite activities of the day!
After this we begin our lesson. The lesson connects to how they will use this concept in the real world and/or their interests, i.e. a profession, daily living skills, sports, music, the shape of an item that they know, etc. Our color coded supplies needed for the lesson remain out and available. At the end of our time, students are responsible for neatly putting their materials away: a way to learn organization. I have found that if a varied exceptionality student learns organizational skills at an early age, then he/she is more prone to use them throughout their life.
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