Thursday, March 5, 2015

Special Education Featured Teacher {March 2015}

I am excited to start my Special Education Featured Teacher series with one of my favorite special ed teacher/bloggers.  I hope you enjoy this amazing post from Gabrielle Dixon from Teaching Special Thinkers. 

Each month a new Special Education Teacher/Blogger will be featured on my blog on the first Thursday of each month!  Click on the Featured Teacher tab above for more information!  

Hi everyone! Gabrielle here from Teaching Special Thinkers! Today I want to share with you about my “color-coding” classroom organizational system. Although it sounds silly, assigning my students a color at the beginning of the school year is my go-to for organization. It has saved my sanity. With 3 instructional assistants, a lead teacher, and a student teacher, keeping data and student materials organized and easy to access can be quite a challenge in a busy classroom! 

With 8 students, I basically use the colors of the rainbow: red, pink, orange, yellow, light blue, dark blue, and green. I bought packs of colored paper at Office Max 2 years ago and I am STILL using the same packs – quite the bargain! Since I do not put the students' names on anything and just use their colors, I can re-use EVERYTHING each year. Oh yea, and if I have a student move and get a new student, no need to fret, they just move right in the "vacant" color. It's like magic to a busy teacher!!

Here are a few different ways I use the color-coded system in my classroom:

Adult Schedules

When I created our master zone schedule, the student colors come in handy. In our “adult” schedule,  I use time intervals and student colors to show adults where they need to be throughout the day and WHO they are working with.

In our classroom, each student has a schedule for the day. At the beginning of the year, all of my students usually start on a picture schedule or words with pictures that are Velcroed onto a large strip in their cubbies. Their cubby, and schedule cards are both in their “color” so that it’s super easy for them to locate their schedule at the beginning of the year, AND it’s a piece of cake for the adults to reorganize all the schedule cards at the end of the day when we are redoing schedules for the next day.


As a special educator, DATA has become my middle name. In order to keep up with all the data collected in our classroom, I created data binders and data clipboards for each student in our classroom. The clipboards are hung in a central location in our classroom so when an adult knows they are working with a certain student, they can quickly grab their clipboard to take data. I keep all the data we collect throughout the year in the data binders, which are kept on the top of the student’s cubbies.

Station Materials

In stations where each student has specific items they are working on, such as our language station, I use the color-coding system as well. In the picture before, the boxes are coded with the student’s colors, along with the binders that we use to collect data on discrete trial training and fluency of mastered skills.

I prepare student reading and math binders at the beginning of the year with all the “copied” workbook materials we use. For example, in a student’s reading binder, I have tabs for writing, Word’s Their Way, phonics, handwriting, etc. Of course, the student’s binders are covered with their color paper and either “reading” or “math” for easy access for the adults and the students.

A Little Bit About Me:

I am currently an autism classroom teacher of students in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade. My passion for providing children with Autism high quality instruction as well as a safe and nurturing learning environment that fosters independence and growth has granted me the opportunity to develop my blog where I strive to empower others who support individuals with Autism and developmental disabilities. Through a desire to engage each and every learner in my own classroom, my passion for creating interactive and appropriately leveled resources has grown and developed over the past three years. My goal, through my profession as a teacher and as a member of the online teacher blogger community, is to advocate awareness and acceptance of individuals with Autism, as well as help others who work with these individuals meet their maximum potential in and out of the classroom. 

I am also a dog momma to a wonderful rescue puppy, Koda, wife to my wonderful husband of almost 3 years, AND I am a Jamberry consultant! Basically, I like to stay busy, busy!! :)

I am so excited to be featured on Kim's blog for March! Thanks so much for letting me "take over" for the day, Kim!! You're the best! <3

To contact me, you can e-mail me here!


  1. I love the idea of color coding your classroom. Thanks for the great tips!

  2. Love how organized everything is!! And that it is color coded :-) I can't wait to read more about your language stations! Thank you for sharing- Lisa

  3. Love this!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  4. Love all the color coding to not only help students and yourself but all the other adults in the classroom. I definitely plan on using the clipboards this year!


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