#Colorizeyourclassroom with Astrobrights, A Freebie and a Giveaway from A Differentiated Kindergarten

Who wants to add color to their classroom without having to break the bank on color printer ink?  Just about everyone.  Well, Astrobrights Papers recently sent me a sweet packet of their new papers and a gift certificate to Office Depot, and I’m dying to show you what I did with them.  
When I talk to teachers about providing fun, engaging and interesting materials for their classroom, one of the biggest frustrations I hear is, ”I would love to print everything in color, but I just can’t afford the ink.”  It’s true! Color ink is probably one of the greatest expenses to teachers today, unless, of course, your school provides you with a color printer.  But that seems to be the exception these days.  But we can’t just eliminate color from our class.  It’s so important! 
Did you know . . .
That when you use color, not only does it make learning a more fun and impactful experience, but it also accelerates learning by 55-78 percent, and it increases comprehension by 73 percent.

So when I find an opportunity for teachers to add color to their classroom without using a color printer, I know I have to share it.   And when I wake myself up in the middle of the night, because I can see how this color will help you differentiate your instruction, well then I’m so delightedI can hardly contain myself. 

But before I get to the differentiated part, let me tell you a little about this amazing pack of colored papers.  There are so many choices in this set, and the colors are SO beautiful.  My mind started going in a hundred directions when I opened that box they sent me.   And because each paper pack contained both card stock and paper, I  could totally see it being used in so many ways and how incredibly engaging it would be for my kinder friends.  
So many ways


The colorful card stock can provide a vibrant and interesting palate for students working on fine motor with paper punches. . .


 . . . and then those punches can be used for so many activities like . . .


  . . .sorting

 . . .and counting and making patterns . . .

 . . . and using creatively for a name activity.  Oh yeah,  this is going in my first week of school plans for sure.  My kinder friends are going to LOVE these colors. 


Colorize Your Differentiated Instruction
I’ve talked about differentiating with color before (visit “Using Color to Help You Tier Differentiated Instruction”), but now I want to show how Astrobrights can make it even easier for you.
Setting Up Your Math Stations
Here are my math stations colorized with Astrobrights papers.    You can see names on my board that are separated into groups of four students each.  Next to each group is a number.  The number corresponds with the numbers that are located on my math stations in the drawers below the numbers.  These are the activities that each group will use.


You’ll notice that my student names are written on one of three different colors.  These colors represent three different tiers of instruction. Orange is tier 1, green is tier 2 and blue is tier 3.  When a student goes to their math station, they just need to know what color card their name is written on in order to know which activities in the drawer are meant for them.  I don’t need all the ‘orange’ student together, nor all of the blue students together.  Colors can mix and students will still be working at their own level of readiness.  I’ll show you how in a bit.
I’ve included a template for the name tags which are super simple.  Basically cut out the colored part. . .
. . .and the white center . . .
 . . .and glue and laminate them.
I know you’re probably thinking that it sure would have been nice for me to make those editable so you can type your students’ names in them, but I don’t want them to be permanent.  These tiers should be flexible.  Just because a student is a Tier 2 for one activity doesn’t mean they will always be a Tier 2 for every math skill.  I need to be able to erase and change colors quickly as I am constantly assessing students and adjusting their instruction in response to that assessment.
Now that you have your names set up, you’ll need to label your stations.  
I’ve made it pretty easy for you with a template to either print the entire label on an Astrobrights paper like the ones below. . .

. . . or you can print the frame on an Astrobright color and the number portion off on white. Glue the white on top of the colored frame and laminate.  These numbers will correspond with the numbers that are next to the student groups.  So if a group of students have a 6 next to their group of names, that’s the station they will attend.

The Activity
I am going to demonstrate with a  simple number order lesson.  I’ve given you a map below to kind of show you the process of tiering an activity.  ( It’s just a visual, to show you how it’s done.  I certainly don’t do this with every lesson.)

In your lesson plan book, it might be an entry in your math stations that looks like this:

When student Group 6 heads to their math station, this is what they will see.  Everyone knows which materials are theirs, because they are separated by clear poly envelopes and labeled by with an Astrobrights corresponding colored mega dot.

It’s just a simple laminated dot taped to a poly envelope, but it’s a great visual for students to know ‘I am orange, I use the materials in the orange envelope.’

I just used my circle paper punch to make them.

Let’s say you wanted all your student so use the same answer sheet, but use different ranges of numbers for this activity.

Instead, inside their drawer this is what they would see. By using Astrobrights papers to colorize the spinner cards, you can easily distinguish between the different groups.  (You’d want a couple more spinner cases for those groups with more than one tier attending.)


Students can load their spinner case with their appropriate spinner, and you will know that they are working at their own level of readiness.

There are so many more ways you could use these papers in your instruction . . . a different color for different word families, math fact families, Dolch sight word levels. . .  and without printing in color! 
Of course, if you would like a copy of the math spinner activity and all the templates above, please feel free to grab the free packet below.
These Astrobrights papers are just an amazing tool to have, and now you can even enter to win your very own. 
You would win!
That’s right! Astrobrights is giving my Differentiated Kindergarten readers the chance to win a packet of these gorgeous papers and your very own $50 gift certificate to Office Depot  to help colorize your own classroom.  All you have to do is enter below. 
And because one chance to win just isn’t enough, Astrobrights is challenging you to #colorize your own classroom.  Their #ColorizeYourClassroom contest allows you to show off your own creativity from now until September 12th, 2014.  
How To Enter #ColorizeYourClassroom Contest!
It’s easy.  All you have to do is share a photo of how you are colorizing your classroom on Astrobrights Facebook Page.  There will be one winner from each state and a Grand Prize Winner.  Plus, you can get extra entries for every original lesson plan you upload to their page.
For all the details, visit facebook.com/Astrobrights
So what’s your plan for colorizing your classroom?
This is a sponsored post. A Differentiated Kindergarten has received payment, trade and/or products from Astrobrights in exchange for promoting, however all opinions stated are my own. Open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen and posted on this original post within three days of contest end.

Marsha Moffit McGuire

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