Friday, January 11, 2013

Teaching Colors

One of my students is just beginning to work on identifying colors.  We are targeting only 2 colors to begin with (red and blue).  I chose these colors because they are pretty different from one another (starting with blue/purple or orange/red could be make it harder for him to discriminate between the two).  This task is super easy (and cheap) to put together! 

 I found these white containers at the dollar tree and they fit notecards perfectly, so they are great for this color sorting task.  I took a bunch of blank notecards and drew different designs on them using blue and red.  I used a variety of blues and reds (crayons and markers) so that the student would be working on generalizing what "blue" means from the get go and not only associating "blue" with one specific color.  

At first, my student was just responsible for sorting the cards into the two containers.  Now that he has that mastered, I hold the deck of cards and make him say the color "red" or "blue" before he can take the card and sort it.  

I also use this fluency timing with him.  I set my timer for 30 seconds and he goes through the colors and tries to say each one.  We count how many he got and keep data on the bottom of the page for each day of the week.  For a packet of these fluency timings (covering a variety of other topics as well), check out my TPT store.

He is doing great with this!  Soon, I think he will be ready to add in another color!  Next up....GREEN!  Happy Friday and have a great weekend!


  1. When you began this activity, when you showed him each color card, did you name the color before you asked him to sort it? I am curious how you are working on getting him to say the name of the color. I have been working on receptive/expressive skills with a student for almost 2 years - letter id, number id, shapes, colors, coins, and am not getting anywhere. The BCBA thinks that part of it is motivation, he is not motivated to complete the task. When I try to do receptive discreet trials and ask him to "point to triangle" he will often not look at the cards, and just tap each one, or grab one without looking and give it to me. I've tried doing this in all sorts of ways without much success. The student is also aggressive, and these are non-preferred tasks, so I often see aggression and destruction when trying to work on this. He does have a lot of really great skills in other areas - lots of functional life skills, pre-voc skills, and can identify tons of pictures, both boardmaker and real pictures...but I seem to keep struggling with him on these skills. I am currently writing an IEP and am struggling with where to go with him - he did not make the progress on last years goals I would have liked to have seen.

    Sorry for the novel - just looking for ideas!

    1. Yes, I did name them as we sorted them. I think the first few times, I just let him sort them on his own to get comfortable with that aspect of the activity. Then, I held the deck of cards and held up one card at a time (for maybe 10 cards). I had him imitate me saying the color. When he imitated me, I gave him the card and allowed him to sort them. He is super motivated by finishing his work, so the only way he could get cards to sort was by imitating me. After we did a few sessions with imitation, I put in a time delayed prompt where I paused for a few seconds before providing him with color, to see if he would say it on his own...and he did! So, now, he names the cards on his own before he gets his card to sort. We have a pretty huge deck of cards, so I don't make him name all of them...instead we do our 10-20 trials, and then he gets to sort the rest on his own without talking (since talking is difficult for this student!). The issue of motivation can be hard to work with. Do you have anything he enjoys in the classroom? You may already have tried/do this, but you could give him a token board to use to work for desired items upon completing his work. At first you could give him tokens after just imitating, then later fade out to tokens only for independent responses. And as soon as the session is over, he immediately gets access to a preferred item. Hope this helps!