SoCal Teacher Launches Movement to Improve Grammar, Reduce Text Talk

Middle school teacher Heather Shotke launched the "gramMARCH Challenge" after noticing students were using abbreviated social media language in school assignments

A Southern California teacher has launched a movement to help reduce the use of texting lingo by students as part of a month-long effort she calls the "gramMARCH Challenge."

"R u ready 4 da gramMARCH challenge? Save the d8 on ur calendar bc it will b n event u dnt wanna miss," a press release humorously stated.

The gramMARCH Challenge is a movement created by Heather Shotke, a middle school teacher who noticed that students were using abbreviated forms of language typically used on social media - LOLs, OMGs, emoticons - in their schoolwork as well.

"I am disappointed and appalled," Shotke said. "Kids are using 'text language' in their academic work and they think it is acceptable because that is how they are communicating with their friends on social media. It worries me that they cannot differentiate between a formal, school assignment and a text to a friend."

For the month of March, those taking on the gramMARCH challenge will write using proper grammar, full sentences and use entire words in text messaging, formal writing and all forms of written communication.

Muscatel Middle School in Rosemead and Rowland High School and Rowland Heights are some of the participating schools, according to Shotke’s Twitter feed.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet Project estimates that teens ages 14 to 17 send an average of 100 text messages a day.

"Anecdotally, it takes about 30 days for something to become a habit," Shotke said. "So, if we can get people to accept the gramMARCH Challenge and write with proper grammar in all communications – including texts, tweets, Kiks, Instagram captions and status updates on Facebook – for the month of March, we may be able to make the shift back to intelligent communication."

More information on the movement can be found on the gramMARCH website.

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