Many of you know that Kristina Smekens utilizes a purple highlighter to acknowledge great word choice within student writing. Since purple highlighters are a more obscure color to find, she knows most students don’t have access to them. So she uses this to her advantage. For every great word or word-phrase she notices in student writing, she highlights it in purple. She tells the students this is a signal to let them know, “You used the right word in the right spot, and I noticed! Keep it up!”
Students quickly become more choosey of the word choice within their writing, looking to get more purple highlights on their next pieces. They even become more aware of strong word choice (purple words) within their everyday lives.
Second grade teacher Wendy Beck shared this story about one of her Bright Elementary (Bright, IN) students. “One of my 2nd grade students came up to me this morning, sharing how her finished basement flooded during the night. She told me all the yucky details of the event and ended her story by saying, ‘My mom sure did use a lot of purple words!'”