I’ve used highlighters and markers during my lessons for awhile now. This year, I started the year telling my students that we were going to use color with a purpose. While I don’t use this technique every day, it is VERY helpful when teaching some lessons.

At the beginning of my lesson, I tell my students that whenever I write in black, that’s the signal they should be writing in pencil. If I’m using a color, then they should be too. I let them pick their colors - they like having choices. Here is a list of five examples of when I use color with a purpose.

**1. Conditional Statements**- When I teach conditional statements, I have the students mark the hypothesis (“P”) with one color and the conclusion (“Q”) with another color. When they write the converse, I make then use the colors to show that the P and the Q switched places.

**2. Parallel Lines**- When I first introduce the vocabulary of alternate interior angles, same side interior angles, etc. I like to have students color code the types of angles. I think that the angles stand out to the students a little bit more. Using Color with a Purpose can really help students if they need to use a diagram for multiple problems. They can mark the diagram in a different color for each problem.

**3. Composition of Functions**- My students always seem to have trouble visualizing composition of functions. By writing each function in a different color, my students can clearly see what is happening.

**4. Multiplying Matrices**- I don’t know how else I would teach this lesson if I couldn’t color code the different parts of the matrix. My very first year, I did not use color and my kids were lost. Now, I use color every time I multiply matrices by hand, and I haven’t had any students have trouble. This one was a life saver for me and my students.

**5. Angles in Circles**- It can be very difficult for students to see the different relationships between the angles in a circle. By highlighting angles, all of the distracting segments are removed and students can identify the types of angles easier.

Now that I’ve used Color with a Purpose, I won’t go back. I have an odd collection of colored pens and pencils, markers and highlighters in a giant tub in my room. Kids know that they are free to borrow them at any time. Any homeless pens, markers, or pencils are just added to the tub. I collected so many homeless ones last year that I didn’t even have to buy any at the beginning of the school year.

Love this I also use colour for purpose in my math class @mathwithmonkeys

ReplyDeleteI love this post. It's not a gimmick, it's to emphasize relationships. I will be using this for composition of functions with my algebra I students.

ReplyDeleteHello! I've used the idea of Color with a Purpose and wonder if you know the origin? Asking for a friend (really, not in that silly way folks ask questions for themselves on the internet!).

ReplyDeletekalamitykat, you know, I'm not really sure of the origin. I first heard about it at a conference when I started teaching. I think it's one of those things like highlighters - been around forever.

ReplyDeleteAwesome writing.

ReplyDeleteI love it for FOIL! I love it for everything really!! It just co.es naturally to me. Also awesome for graphing! Translating from a word problem in the equation....

ReplyDelete