Top marking tips!(18 Posts)
I was a secondary teacher before having kids, we're now overseas and I've been working as a TA in a British curriculum primary school - in September I'll be teaching y2.
I think I am most concerned about keeping on top of marking (it's certainly the thing that one of our NQTs really struggled with last year). I think, when I need to take stuff home (please bear in mind I'm not in the uk so pressure is not as great), I'd rather take planning than marking.
What works for you?
I hate taking marking home so I have my own little routine that I do before I leave to go home.
1) tidy classroom
2) mark all work then annotate plans with any changes for the next day.
3) set up for the first activity for the next day
4) leave by 5.45 at the latest to pick up dc.
I teach r/y1.
I find tackling a whole pile of books a bit daunting and I end up not doing them at all so instead I try to do about 10 at a time. Once I've done those I put them back on the shelf and do the next ten. It's stupid but it does feel quicker that way.
We also print stickers in our dept to tick common targets especially ones to do with presentation/organisation which saves writing them out and for assessments we use A5 sheets with all the criteria for each level on so we just tick what the pupil has done and highlight what they need to do to improve. There is space for a teacher comment and a pupil comment to make sure it is read before pupils stick them into their book. This saves ages!
I do a mini assessment every two weeks which is peer marked, space for teacher comment and space for student comment, space for an improved answer should anything need improving. It's A4, and I only take the A4 sheets home. Not the books. The books are peer checked for tidiness and accurate notes, and I add a comment as I'm walking around the classroom. I try to do a row a lesson. The students also self-assess every lesson against the aims of the lesson.
So basically I just have a stack of A4 sheets to mark in my own time, easy to transport and not as intimidating as 32 books a day.
Stickers and a bank of www and ebi comments that can be pasted into the stickers sheet. Saves oodles of time and satisfies SMT!
Alternatively I give thrm a printed slip with the WALT and sometimes WILF and date which they stick in at the top of their work. I pink yellow or green highlight depending on what they've achieved.
It will depend a lot on what the school expectation is. Primary is usually 'all work marked for next lesson in that subject' IME, which means English and Maths marked every day, other subjects between once and 3 times a week.
Expectation where I have worked is that printed slips with lesson objective and success criteria are stuck in before every piece of work, student and / or teacher uses some kind of code (smiley faces, colour, ticks) to indicate achievement. Narrative comments are then expected in some work - current school is pink = good, green = next steps, highlighting throughout work and comments at end in English and in cross-curricular writing. Maths is simpler - tick, cross, dot and C for correction to be done, comment if required. Previous school was 2-3 stars (things done well) and a wish for each piece of work in all subjects.
If it is allowed by the school, one way of making things quicker is to have a 'code sheet' for next steps - can either be a list of statements or simply numbers (pupil writes what the number means in their book) Pupils then follow this with some improved work showing what you have asked for.
I both plan and mark at home, because one reason that teaching works for me is that I have a busy 'mum life' in the hours immediately after school finishes, and then get back to work later in the evening.
Keep a pen in your hand at all times is the biggest piece of advice I can give you. That way you'll find yourself quickly writing feedback in books over the course of a lesson and have a few less books to mark at the end. Sounds like a little thing but it really helps make all the difference.
Also, use pockets of time. Eg if a lesson has finished just before break/assembly get a table (or the whole class) to leave their books open, send the chn to break/assembly and use that time to quickly mark those books. Chn then tidy up when they get back in. This one's a great timesaver but only works if you're not on duty!
Do you know what the marking policy is? It could be that your pupils do lots of peer/self assessments, which are hugely helpful both from a learning a timesaving POV.
One of the most popular stationery orders for teachers at our primary is a "verbal feedback given"stamp! Certainly speeds up marking
Agree with 10 books at a time.
Sometimes, if it's possible, have the students work on loose sheets, which you then mark and return to them for sticking into their books. I find a pile of sheets less intimidating to mark than a pile of books. Also the sticking in time during the lesson can also be used as time for the students to read your feedback and ask for explanation of any comment they don't understand.
Get a "verbal feedback given" stamp and then have the student write underneath your stamp a concise summary of what you advised them - evidence that they have understand what you said.
Similarly, have the students tick your written feedback or do something else (e.g. copy spelling corrections) to show that they have read it.
Consider getting other stamps or stickers too - look on Amazon, etc. Or make your own stickers.
Also this may sound obvious but do make sure you know your school's marking policy for each subject (if there is one!) Otherwise you may end up doing "too much" marking, or putting in a huge amount of effort that isn't recognised or is even criticised because you're not doing one of the required things.
Make sure the students give you their books open at the page for marking rather than a closed book. This will save you time.
Consider having a checklist on the classroom wall or stuck into the book of things that the students should check before handing in their book (e.g. date, title, capital letters, full stops, etc.). This will save you time writing the same comment over and over again (e.g. "Where is the date?")
I think careful planning where possible too. For example if you are expecting the children to complete longer writing pieces which will take you longer to mark, could you have a practical maths lesson with no marking? I know this isn't possible everytime but it helped me some days as we would expect to mark work before the next lesson with as a pp said can be everyday with Lit and Num.
Some really good tips here, thank you. Verbal feedback stamp being ordered now!
My understanding at this school is that y2 maths is still often based around manipulatives and white boards with the expectation that work will be recorded in books twice a week so that should decrease marking a little. We have new primary management arriving though so I guess I may need to wait and see.
Is there anything I might not have thought of that will help my record keeping?
Less is more....how much can the children you teach actually read?
Justtoobad It´s a good point you make, but in both of the schools I´ve taught at (and a few other schools where I´ve spoken to staff), marking policies don´t really take into account that younger students can´t actually read all - or any - of the written feedback teachers are instructed to put on work. I know it´s a source of frustration for my colleagues in EYFS and Infants.
I used to do all the English, then all the maths, then any foundation subjects a table at a time until the caretaker kicked me out. One of my colleagues tries to mark maths in her lunch break (but that stresses me out).
The thing that works best for me is actually doing a table at a time (assuming you've got the tables doing the same activity - otherwise sort the books into activity piles). Then I do English and maths for table 1, table 2 etc, then foundation subjects. By doing it like this I can focus properly on what that group were doing (and it is immediately apparent if Child A was struggling, or if children C and D were copying). If I do a subject at a time I feel a bit overwhelmed.
Also, our marking policy involves pens, stamps and highlighters. I carry a pen and mark whilst the children are working, but then in the afternoon I do all my red pen marking, then all my highlighting, then all my stamping, then close the books. I leave the pile of books on the table. In the morning I whip round and put them away (or recruit a small helper). It's much quicker than changing hands 5 times.
If I'm really rushing, I mark standing up. I'm much quicker that way!
Record keeping - take photos (especially for maths). If you have a class tablet, even better - I spend a lunch time sorting photos from the week before into albums (table 1 Maths Term 1 week 6 or similar). It means if someone has a query about what the children were doing I can pull it up.
I don't teach primary but second walking round marking as you go along and - TOP TIP - get kids to hand in books open to that day's work so you don't have to spend time flicking through.
Ahhh it sounds so annoying, all these colours and stickers etc.
What a wasted of your time, horrendous.
Most of the kids can't read what you've written or would understand the codes! So pointless.
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