Teacher Hack for Those Same-Colored Notebooks!

Hey! Happy back to school! I wanted to share this teacher hack with you. What do you do when parents send in the same-colored notebooks?! If this is you, then I apologize in advance. But, who goes into the store and just grabs four blue Composition Notebooks?! That’s not fun! Colors are fun!

Since Day 1 of my teaching, I have ALWAYS asked parents to send in 4 Composition Notebooks- all in different colors. This has always been the best thing ever for classroom management and for classroom organization! All I had to do at the beginning of the year was to ask students to go get their blue math journal or their red spelling notebook.

Easy Peezy! They knew exactly what I was talking about and this helped greatly with independence and managing our time efficiently. Trust me, I teach Second Grade now, and even 7 year-olds need this level of organization and visual cues!

A Little Back Story

If you are wondering where this impassioned post on same-colored notebooks is coming from, we had a little incident last school year. Last year, we sent out a Supply List that asked for 5 Composition Notebooks and I listed 5 colors (red, blue, green, orange, and black) for parents to buy. I honestly just chose colors that I had seen in the stores. Well, that request turned into a massive “situation” where “parents” (This could have been just one person. You never know. It’s like the “they” that people seem to always use.) were calling the principal to complain about not being able to locate orange notebooks.

You call the principal when you can’t find a school supply? Really? Unless it involved the health or safety of my girls, I never called the principal for anything. But, it didn’t stop there. Oh, no. Even the School Superintendent was contacted. I wish that I was making this up. I really, really do! Our grade level was the talk of the county. Now, we must have the full approval of our AP before parents can even glance at our supply list.

Sidebar: We’re also banned from asking for specific brands like Crayola or Ticonderoga! It’s considered excessive and bougie to ask for brands. Have you ever tried to color with Rose Art Crayons before? I rest my case.

What Can You Do With Your Same-Colored Notebooks?

If you are in a situation where you have to deal with Composition Notebooks that are the same exact color, I want you to know that there is hope!

This is what I decided to do. I decided to print out graphics for each subject and place them on each notebook by subject. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to do this, but I knew that I wanted to. So, I raced to the store after school and low and behold, I found my answer.

There, in the middle of shelf, sitting all by its lonesome was a pack of Astrobrights Sticker Paper. The heavens were literally shining upon me. I have no idea where that paper came from (because I searched to find more and there wasn’t any), but I did know that the Lord was with me! He was. He absolutely was!

Make Your Own Sticker Labels

An image of the sticker labels that I created and printed for each of the notebooks that we need this year.  A hot pink notebook or journal with stickers printed for math, science, and social studies.

  1. Purchase sticker paper. {This link is for Avery brand paper.}
  2. Find graphics that represent each subject. If you do not own clipart, you can create a table in Google Slides and use the approved graphics that they offer. I say “approved” because you definitely don’t want to break any copyright laws.
  3. Paste one graphic into each section of your table. Or, you can create a page for each graphic. Just think of your sizing and how large you need the label/graphic to be. Add the subject to the graphic. You may need to insert a text box to type it in.
  4. Print out 1 page of stickers. Just one! This is your test page. You want to be certain that the image prints onto the actual sticker side of the page (It will feel like paper and look more white than the other side). How do I know how important this is? Well, my assistant (aka “Mini-Me”) printed them all at once- on the wrong side of the paper. Yep! I discovered this after I had cut them all out.
  5. Then, just peel and stick. Woo hoo!

Bonus Tip

Okay, I cannot take any credit for this tip. It’s actually genius and it may be easier to create than my tip. Yep, I can admit that. The stickers with the visuals are likely still best for our younger students. But, this might be easier for you to put together.

I posted about my sticker fail in my Stories on Instagram and Bri, one of my Teacher friends, messaged me with this idea.

An image of 4 Composition Notebooks sitting on a red piece of paper that is laid on a carpet.  Each book is black in color.  There is a piece of colored Duct Tape on each book- one blue, one green, one red, and one yellow piece of tape.
This image was found on the coolmompicks blog via Pinterest.

YES! You can use colored Duct Tape or Washi Tape to color-code them. Um hum, mic drop on aisle 9! ha ha.

Love this idea so much! Definitely filing this away for future use.

I hope that you found this teacher hack for tackling the drama of what to do when you receive same-colored notebooks for school supplies! You can also use my Ultimate Teacher Back to School Checklist to help you plan, organize, and prepare for this upcoming school year.

Do you have another tip that might save us time AND help our students navigate daily routines? Leave in the comment section for us!

a rectangular image for a Pinterest pin with 9 black and white Composition Notebooks.  The notebook on top is opened to two blank, lined pages.

Want to remember these tips or share them? Pin this for later!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Graphics by: Krista Wallden Creative Clips and Educlips

Much love,

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Hi, I'm Tania!

I help creative and time-conscious teachers plan student-centered lessons that interest and motivate student learning so that lesson planning takes less time and is actually enjoyable! 

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