Saturday, 30 August 2014

Green Pens and a Freebie

I'm always trying to come up with new ideas for marking Math that will leave me more time to work with individuals.  Here are some things I've tried over the years:
1.  Mark after school, at lunch time, at home....We've all done this and wished we didn't have to.  Apart from the obvious drawback I found that students needed immediate feedback on their errors for best results and there's never enough time the next day to work on corrections.
2.  So I went to having everyone line up and wait while I marked on student's work at a time, then did their corrections and went to Math centers.  Better for getting the corrections done, but OOHH that line got noisy!
3.  This was better:  When work is done students stand behind their chair and work on a Math colour-by-number sheet, and I circulate and mark.  When the marking is done, the student does their corrections and goes to Math tubs.  I did this one for a long time and it worked pretty well.
4.  Last year I wanted to do Guided Math and I needed that marking time to work with small groups.  So I went to my latest system:  Green Pens.
I put out two answer keys for the daily Math sheet, and 2 green pens.  When they are done they head over and mark their own sheet using a green pen.
If they get all the answers right they take a green pen and an answer key to an open space in the room, get a mini desk, and become an Official Math Marker.
Students who finish can then go to either the Official Math Marker or to the second answer sheet (if they haven't both been claimed already).  If they don't have all their answers right they return to their desks, do their corrections, then go to Math centers. 
Each time the Official Math Markers marks work that is 100% correct they pass the pen along to that person and go to Math centers.  I make this optional.  Some kids would rather just go to centers. 

It's a WIN/WIN set up.  Students are highly motivated to get all their answers correct the first time around, and I get to have time for my small groups! Yay!! (And they love going to Math centers so it's not a huge negative if they get one or two wrong).

As an added incentive I always have a set of stickers that are related to the season or theme that we're studying.  If all their answers are correct the first time the Official Math Marker gives the one sticker for the front of their Math book.  They put them on in lines of 10.  Each time they fill a row they earn a tag for their lanyard.
Here's the tag I made for them:
Click here to get a free set. 

I just found this excellent linky from Head Over Heels for Teaching as I was blog surfing, and thought I'd join in this week.

 There are so many great ideas here!

Have a great long weekend. And check in next week.  I'll be offering more freebies.


  1. What a great idea Debbie! I love that the kids take ownership and the lead of grading/correcting their own work, allowing you more time to work with other students. I have to steal this! (at least for easy to grade assignments). Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  2. I LOVE that marking idea, Debbie. I'll be stealing, too!

    Grade ONEderful