## Wednesday, October 3, 2012

### The Power of Purple and Green

Anyone who's familiar with my handwriting won't be surprised that handwriting is important in my classroom.  (People often mistake my writing for something that's been typed.)    One of the tricks I learned several years ago from Math Their Way helps my kids head into second grade with pretty good handwriting skills.  I teach all the numerals and letters with a purple and green crayon.  Here's a picture of a few of the purple/green numerals on my wall.

Every numeral and every letter is made with purple and green, even if there's only one stroke involved.  More importantly, purple is always first.  For example, starting at the bottom of the numeral 1 is illegal, because that's green, not purple of course.

When I teach the numerals and letters, I will actually say the colors as I make them.  The kids do too, even though they never actually use purple and green crayons.  Whether they're writing with their whiteboard markers or pencils, they will say the purple and green as they write.  (Under the pictures below, I've included how I would say the colors for the letters.  You'll notice that if there are two purples or two greens in a letter, I'll say the color names twice.)

A - "Purple, purple, green."  a - "Purple, green."

B - "Purple, green, green,"  b - "Purple, green."

C - "Purple, green."  c - "Purple, green."

It might seem goofy, but it really does work.  For most of the kids, the visual and auditory connections (and a whole lot of repetition) help seal the correct directionality in their little brains and hands.  The simplicity of it helps as well.  There aren't any fancy directions for each letter that need to be memorized.

Just in case someone out there seems the slightest bit interested in this purple/green thing, I've created a few documents that will show how the numerals and letters are made with purple and green.  Click on the pictures for your own copy, and try not to notice my rudimentary tech skills when I made them. :)

1. This is a great idea! I can see how it would be a great visual for the kids.
Connie:)

1. Thanks Connie. It does provide a good visual reminder.

2. I might have to try this I HATE it when they start a letter at the bottom, and no matter how many ways I say it, I still have some that do it. Thanks for the tip and freebie.
Tammy

1. Tammy, I still have kids trying to start at the bottom, but I think this helps a bit.

3. Look who else has been busy! I am loving this idea. I preach starting at the top too, but have never seen this idea of the colors. Great!
Lori
Conversations in Literacy

1. Lori, starting at the bottom is such a hard habit to break. This seems to help a bit.

4. Tammy I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing! I am going to start it with my kiddos tomorrow and I'm going to share it with my team and the OT! :o)

œKaryn
A is for Apple B is for Blog
Kideducator@comcast.net

1. Thanks Karyn. I'm glad you're finding it so useful. Good luck with it.

5. This is SO cool Tammy. I can't wait to try it. Thanks
Lyn
Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales

1. Lyn, I'm glad that you think so. I hope it works with your kids!

6. That's an EXCELLENT idea, Tammy. I saw this years and years ago and completely forgot about it. I sure wish I could visit your classroom -- too bad we weren't closer!

❀Barbara❀
Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

1. Barbara, you're the first one who's heard of it before. Cool! I'd definitely be up for visiting your class too. Southern Idaho and Canada should definitely be closer!

7. I like this idea, but I'm curious about the color choice. Is there a reason behind using purple and green?

1. Meghan, I don't believe there is special reason for purple and green. Good question!

8. Okay, I'm loving the idea of this. I wish our Kindergarten classes would do this... Maybe it would help them to start their letter in in the correct place. Most of my kiddos start their letters at the bottom and go up...drives me crazy. lol

imgoingfirst@gmail.com

1. Delighted, yep I know how it is with kids starting at the bottom. I do think this helps.

9. You are so clever! And one of my favorite color combos!

Laurie

1. Thanks Laurie, although I can't really take credit for the idea! :)

10. Oh, WOW, I think you just changed my life! I taught Math Their Way--back in the day, lol--but I don't remember seeing this technique. Thank you for sharing it!!

The Sunday Song for 10/7 is there...it's "starry night" by Chris August. :-)

1. Pretty cool that I had a part in changing your life! :) I'll be checking out your Sunday Song soon!

11. So many great ideas!! I love the quote about choices. In a huge district with many scribed lessons, it helps to be reminded that being able to make choices is HUGE to student motivation. Thank you!!

1. Ann, thank you much. You're right. Motivation is directly linked to choice. It's huge.

Michelle :)
Kindergarten Stars

1. Thanks Michelle. I'm glad you found me blog too.

13. Thank you for sharing this...I think this will help several of my visual and tactile learners! This year's group has some definite handwriting needs. As we try to teach more and more it seems like we have less and less time for things like handwriting!
Jenny
Owl Things First!

1. Jennifer, handwriting is one of those things I can't seem to let go of. I know what you mean though. Time is an issue.

14. Wow! I had forgotten all about the purple and green until I had a flashback with your post, LOL! This is great. I have one very persistent bottom up writer who doesn't have good listening skills. So even as I'm saying "start at the top, no the top" at an ever higher pitch and with greater intensity, he's still heading for the bottom -- even when I move his hand!! This might help. I'm doing it on Monday!!

Donna W.

1. Donna, good luck with the purple and green on Monday. It doesn't fix all bottoms-up problems, but it seems to help. :)

15. I teach Reception and Year 1 (age 4, 5 and 6). I don't have any who start at the bottom (I'm only talking about the children who have a general idea of how to form letters) but I do have a few children who write some of their letters backwards. This might help children learn about the difference between d and b. Not sure it will help get f and s around the right way but I will look forward to trying it come September.

1. I hope that it helps!