You’re Going To Want To Steal This Teacher’s Super Easy Color-Coding System

Such an easy hack!

Inside of a student's desk with color-coded workbooks

The first few days of school are all about supplies and setting up your class for success. You’re collecting tissue boxes, labeling notebooks, and passing out workbooks. But for some students, organization doesn’t come naturally. And even for the organizationally inclined, trying to figure out whether they’re pulling out their language arts workbook or their science notebook is at best a guessing game. After all, you can’t see the cover when it’s inside your desk.

So to combat the “which workbook” struggle, we’re taking notes from @TeachingTakesHeart and color coding our workbooks. It’s quick, simple, and it’s making our transitions that much easier. Give it a try!

Inside of a student's desk with color-coded workbooks

Image source: @TeachingTakesHeart

How does color coding workbooks work?

You’ll need nice wide permanent markers in as many colors as you have subjects. We recommend getting your workbooks colored before you pass them out. For example, stack all your math workbooks and swipe the marker on the bottom edge in the same color. Repeat with other workbooks in different colors.

If you’ve already handed out your workbooks, you can still do this—it’s just a bit more work. Take your markers with you to each desk and mark each one with the appropriate color.


Once you have everything marked, it’s simply a matter of asking students to locate the correct color. “It’s science time! Grab your purple workbooks!”

What else do I need to know?

This hack works best with traditional student desks. (I know some of you may have different set-ups, but I’ve never not had them.) Other teachers tell me this works with spiral and composition notebooks as well, so go to town!

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You're Going To Want To Steal This Teacher's Super Easy Color-Coding System