Text Slang is Taking Over Student Essays (OMG, HELP!)

Teachers all across the country are becoming master decoders of an entirely new language – textese. As you may guess, “textese” refers to the abbreviated forms of language that have developed due to the emergence of digital technologies and platforms, largely texting and social media. And while being bilingual is usually something to celebrate – this second language is causing problems for teachers and students alike. 

Students are turning in assignments using UR instead your or you’re, and ABT instead of about – not to mention they’re laughing out loud at their own sentences by actually adding abbreviations like LOL or HA into their formal writing assignments. On the other side of the equation, teachers are pulling out their hair and burning through red pen after red pen astonished that students are submitting essays with emojis.

(Heather Shotke, second from right, with gramMARCH participants at the first annual event)

Thankfully, there’s a new grammar champion on the block and her name is Heather Shotke. Heather is a middle school teacher in Los Angeles who has seen these abbreviated forms of language increasingly migrate from the screens of smartphones to the pages of her students’ assignments. After months of seeing the text slang popping up in essays, she said “NO THX!” and created gramMARCH, a month-long challenge for students to use proper spelling and grammar.

When Yoobi learned about gramMARCH, we immediately related – it’s tough in today’s digital world to adhere to every rule, especially when you have limited characters and space to get your messages across. Sometimes it’s easier to drop a cute emoji than write out an entire paragraph describing how we feel following a Yoobi Give Event (when a balloon, blue heart, or pencil emoji can add so much fun and flair, and save us a few words).

Nonetheless, gramMARCH is putting emphasis on the importance of grammar and the distinction that students need to make between what’s appropriate for school and what’s passable in a casual environment.

We love the idea of gramMARCH so much that we teamed up with Heather to co-create an exclusive Yoobi x gramMARCH Writing Worksheet so more teachers can get their students involved in the challenge. 

Students today are impressively bright, digital savvy and determined – and we can’t wait to see how they rise to the challenge and celebrate what gramMARCH is all about - “pause and ponder prose.”

Download the Yoobi x gramMARCH Writing Worksheet Here:


(click to print)

After your students complete their worksheets, have them post a picture to social media accepting the challenge and tagging @yoobi and #grammarch.


Then let us know what the experience is like in your class in the comments below – do your students use text slang? Do you think it’s a problem? How have you combatted text slang in your classroom? Tell us in the comment section below!

Learn more about Heather and gramMARCH at grammarch.org.