The “Color Zones” are an idea I came up with for my middle school students last year. It will work great with grades K-12. I could see high school students being reluctant at first; however, the “Color Zones” should be posted in class, creating more autonomy, not less. This is especially true when accompanied by a well established, practiced, and implemented classroom management program. There are 5 Zones that come with different expectations:
Blue – start of class or entry assignment zone
Green – teacher-directed (or traditional lecture)
Purple – independent work
Yellow – collaborative learning
Red – testing zone
Each color zone addresses a slightly different set of behaviors. Below is a general explanation of each zone but the posters are written in much more precise language for easy reading on the classroom wall:
Blue - lasts only 4-5 minutes and is for entry assignments so the teacher can take role call uninterrupted. It requires students not to talk or walk about the room. The only hand signal they may use is if they do not have a writing utensil, they may ask for one using the appropriate hand signal (see my hand signal posters on TpT).
Green – no getting out of seat, speak only when called upon, use hand signals, etc.
Purple – getting out of seat with a purpose is acceptable, speak only in whispers, use hand signals, etc.
Yellow – during collaborative learning students should be able to walk about and speak at a normal indoor volume. They may still use hand signals, but they should also be able to approach you during this time. As well, you should be walking about the classroom eaves dropping on their collaborative work.
Red – in the red zone, students should not speak to anyone for any reason, nor should they get out of their seat without permission. They must use hand signals and keep their eyes on their own test or quiz to eliminate the appearance of wrongdoing.
Please note: each zone should be printed on colored paper that coincides with the zone; for example, the blue zone should be printed on a piece of blue printer paper, the green zone on a piece of green printer paper, etc. I recommended laminating the pages, as well, for longevity of use.
This product compliments my “Hand Gestures” poster set nicely since the use of hand gestures is addressed in each color zone.