“Red Hot Marking” of Children’s Work

“Red hot marking” is the term I use to describe how I mark children’s work.  As a teacher, I believe that children’s work should be marked as soon as it’s done, when it’s “red-hot”.  The children get instant feedback and know that their efforts have not been ignored.  I used to hate it when my work was not marked at school, or when the teacher just used to put random ticks on my work without even reading through it.

You should also bear this in mind if you are a parent and working with your child at home.  Children love to be praised and respond well to encouraging ticks and words during their work.

Try the following strategies:

  1. Mark a child’s work as soon as they have done it.  If there is too much to mark, then at least mark part of it.  Alternatively ask the child to do the first 3 questions out of 10 and mark those before allowing them to continue.

  2. Mark the work in front of the child.  They like to see you put the ticks and comments on, and it also gives you the opportunity to verbally tell the child what they have done right.

  3. Beware of putting in too many crosses in RED INK all over the child’s work.  If when marking a piece of work you find that there are lots of mistakes, it’s better to mark a little bit and speak to the child about it.  Don’t put “SEE ME” at the end of the piece of work.  It put’s the child on edge.

  4. Discuss the good and bad points of the work with the child and set new targets.  Make sure that the child is aware of their targets before and after doing a piece of work.  Having a target, for example accuracy, neatness, creativity, or a specific grammatical point gives a focus to the child.

  5. Sometimes a child can mark their own work, if the task is multiple choice or if it’s maths.  However, this should not be done too often as it doesn’t give you the chance to go over the mistakes.

  6. Always mark homework as soon as it is handed in, and give back to the child during the same lesson or the next lesson.  If you leave too much of a gap between submission of homework and marking of homework, children will forget and the effort on homework almost seems wasted.

  7. If you don’t get time to mark straight away then tell the child why and make a promise that you will mark it as soon as possible.

These strategies accelerate learning and are easy to do.  Do you use any of them?  Which ones work best/are easiest to use?  Or do you have your own technique of marking?