De Colores

Jerry said "you teachers are always trying to make things colorful and make us draw pictures because you think that us special ed kids are stupid or something." in September of this school year. I had Jerry all last year for 5th grade, and he returned to me this year as a 6th grader. This is a direct quote too, because I was so intrigued that I wrote it down immediately.

I tried to explain to Jerry, and the rest of the class that I do use bright colors intentionally, but that it is actually because I think that they are VERY smart, and I think that the bright colors help them to recall information, and they can use the colors as parts of strategies for remembering and learning new things. I also explained that pictures are a really good tool to use, especially in math.

Jerry, at the time, didn't buy into it. He insisted that I thought he and his classmates were stupid.

Today I heard Jerry, (who has taken it upon himself to show our new student, a 4th grader, how things work in Bad Wolf Territory) explained that the colors around the room are coordinated to subject area, and that can help to remember what folder to look in if you get stuck on a problem on the exit ticket. Jerry explained that every day I put up 2 math problems (we have notes on that in the Red folders), then 2 literacy questions (in the blue section of the room), and then one question that will be either social studies (yellow) or science (green). Jerry described it so matter-of-factly. I could tell that he was using some of the strategies that I have been trying to teach all year.

I realize that this seems like a very simple thing to understand, but really the idea that we use color-coded binders and folders is something that has taken a long time to embed in my students. Occasionally I will still find a blue literacy notebook thrown in the red bin with the math work. The color-systems create structures for my students that they can begin to understand, and then hopefully use for categorizing their lives and their thinking.

Sometimes I hear them referring to things by the colors I use, for example, Rick was trying to remember the definition of "physics" and when Jay suggested the wrong answer, Rick said, "no, that's not right, it's the one that she wrote up in green." Brilliant, I thought.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, it's so easy to post comments on this thing! all you have to do is click on it, type in the letters you see, and then click anonymous.... neat blog, by the way!

2/24/2007 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is really smart to use colors as a memory and/or teaching tool. I believe there is research that proves this and that color coding is very useful for visual learners. It is also true that a bright-colored classroom is more stimulating and condusive to learning than a bland and dull classroom.

2/26/2007 11:39 AM  

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