Color-Coding the Classroom

Happy Weekend!! Today I am joining tons of my blog friends in sharing some bright ideas...from our classroom to yours!
The bright idea I would like to share is definitely in bright colors!

So, I've been decorating my room with black and bright for three years now. I love the happy colors and my students do too (we always laugh when the neon clothes they wear match the bins in the room!).

But in the back of my mind, I was always a bit worried about the amount of color in the room. If you've read my blog since the beginning, you know I used to be pretty one or two-toned when it came to color schemes. 

Was it too much color?
Was it distracting to my students?

I want my room to be vibrant and energizing, yet remain calming overall. So this summer I reworked my scheme to be more purposeful in its use of hues:
Suddenly all the colors had a purpose. Now the room looked more cohesive, less scattered.

And I could keep all of my decor, I just had to rearrange it a bit so all colors were together to represent a particular subject.

Each subject in our class has the same basic elements to keep it color-coded and organized. Here's a peek at our color-coding for Writer's Workshop:
1. Bins: Students pass in any assignments during the day in these bright buckets.

2. Charts: I use large pieces of bright chart paper that I've laminated to create our anchor charts (I am NOT the best chart-maker...working on that one!). We create the large ones together on these laminated sheets, then I type them up onto smaller sheets to refer to later.

3. Markers: We use coordinating chalk markers to mark the following on each bulletin board:
  • essential question
  • key vocabulary
  • our strategies
I'm honestly not sure if I will use these markers in the same way next year or not. They are pricey, but they do pop nicely across the room. It's been a great visual for my students this year.

4. Notebooks: This was such a lucky find this summer!! Walmart happened to have all the colors I needed to coordinate my notebooks to each subject area! The best part? I didn't have to make any labels for any of our's so clear which notebook is needed for which subject just by glancing at it!
It's amazing what this color-coding has done for our classroom! I've been able to keep all of our color, yet make the room much calmer and more cohesive.

And the best part?

It has been so much easier for my newest English Language Learners to find the resources and materials they need for each lesson...and that has been wonderful to see.

I know my room evolves a bit each year, but I also know that I will stick with color-coding by subject in the future.

The next stop in the hop is Tech with Jen! Jen has a post all about Keyboarding Skills for your students and you can click on the button below to read all about it. I will see you there because that's where I'm headed first!
You can also hop around any of our blogs here:


  1. Good Morning, Sweet (and Bright) Buddy!
    Of course, I loved everything about this post. I'm just scrolling and smiling, scrolling and smiling. Here's a giggle for you: Mine is about color-coding too... with the same colors... although mine has purple mixed in.
    You've convinced me: Next year, I am getting these composition books. Then I will be color-coded to YOU! (I wonder if they will ever make purple ones?!)

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. What a beautiful post, Kristen! :) You have taken color-coding and organization to entirely different playing field. Congrats, friend! :)

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

  3. You know I love every single post you do and am just patiently awaiting the signs that say reading assignments, math assignments, etc. as I spent 3 hours at school yesterday spring cleaning my classroom. ;) Happy weekend. I've got to get on one of these hops with y'all!

  4. What a great idea! I color code things for myself, but have not thought of doing so with the things that my students use. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love all the bright colors and I have never thought about color coding everything. So smart Kristen!

  6. LOVE your system, as always! Color coding for clarity and cohesion may be my new favorite term in the whole wide world :) Your ideas are not only useful but absolutely beautiful-- thank you for sharing!!

    3rd Grade Thoughts

  7. I love the idea of color coded journals! I'll definitely be looking for them at Walmart during Back to School sales! Thanks!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats in Kindergarten

  8. What a great consideration about how color-coding benefits ELLs!
    Crafting Connections

  9. Your classroom organization makes my heart want to sing! I LOVE the color coordinating. I wish you taught across the hall from me. I feel like my classroom's best friend would be your classroom!

  10. I love your color coding system! And the presentation of your bright idea is usual! <3

    Teaching in High Heels

  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. SO doing this next year! Thanks for the great tip!

    Mary Church

    A Classroom Full of Smiles

  12. Kristen you have such an amazing talent for design and color! Love all your ideas :)

    Corinna (✿◠‿◠)
    Surfin' Through Second

  13. I am soaking this right up. It's practical AND beautiful. LOVE your talents!
    Smiles - Lisa
    Growing Firsties

  14. I've always color-coded notebooks/folders, but never thought to color-code the bins and charts as well! Genius! I love that you have color in your room but in an organized way. I want to come visit your classroom one day (stalker, much?)!

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  15. Great ideas! I try to do this with my interactive notebooks, but you took it to grand scale! This is definitely something to think about when I am planning for next year.
    I hope your weekend was awesome!

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

  16. I love all things color coding! Love this idea...thanks for sharing! =)

    A+ Firsties

  17. OH you and I would work SO well together! I LOVE your organization passion! The color coding by subject is beautiful, brilliant and purposeful! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

  18. I loved this-every bit of it! I think I'm going to read it again! Your posts make me smile!! Thanks so much!

  19. Love your organization and style!! Thanks for sharing your greats pics ;)
      Lory’s Page

  20. I am a huge fan of color-coding subjects in the classroom - bright, colourful & organized!

    Love to Learn

  21. Well I LOVE color coding. I HAD to do start doing it several years ago. However, because of the multiple grades I teach, and only one subject I do it by grade. :D
    Ms. K/1 ELL

  22. Hi I have nominated you for a SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD because you bring sunshine to my world through your blog – see my post for more details. You must answer my 11 questions at the end of the post – write 11 questions for 11 other bloggers that you nominate.
    Paula from Paula’s Place

  23. The color-coding is fantastic! Those bins are so pricy, but definitely a good investment. I'm thinking about doing that in my classroom next year. Also I can't get over what a good find those Walmart notebooks are. You are too lucky!

  24. I love your color coding system! I can't wait to color code my classroom next year! Are you selling the labels you used? I love them! Thanks!

  25. Where did you find your bins for each subject?


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