Friday, May 18, 2012

Green Highlighter Activity

My students LOVE the green highlighter activity.  I LOVE the green highlighter activity.

This idea was completely stolen from Square Root of Negative One.

My students are already familiar with the color green.  I grade by color rather than numbers (more on that later).  So when a student sees green, he automatically feels good about his work.

The first time I did this activity I had a little discussion with my students.  I told them that I didn't want them to solely rely on me to be the source of all information.  They were responsible for their own education (which is something we talk about a lot), but the new part was that they were also responsible for their classmates' education.  Wha?!?!  I told them that I wasn't going to provide much feedback or instruction that day, it was up to them.

I had the problems all ready for class and handed out a few at a time.  When I saw that a student was correct I drew a green checkmark on their paper (the way I usually grade) then handed them the highlighter.  This meant they were correct and free to walk around the room and assist other students.  Once everyone had a green checkmark, the class answered any lingering questions and the process was repeated.


- To determine how many highlighters I need per class, I divide the number of students by 5.

- I don't allow anyone else to be standing/walking except the highlighter people.

- I don't answer any questions.  As I'm walking around the room and notice a student is wrong, I keep walking, looking for a student who is correct.

- If there are questions at the end of a problem, I don't answer them.  It's up to the students to help each other out.  Honestly, I have yet to get a question after everyone has a green check.

- I try to find a way to give my "weak" students a green highlighter.


  1. What a great idea! I absolutely love it. A personal goal of mine is to build student confidence. I hate hearing students say that they are bad at math. I can see this turning kids around.

  2. I am about to steal the activity and turn it into a formative active in Spanish I and II classes. Thanks for the post!

  3. Awesome. I hand out stickers with formative assessments in class and have considered handing the first few kids a sheet of stickers and I have yet to do it. It's on the list for this week!