How to mark in lesson time

Reading Time: 2 minutes

green pen burst

A guest post by @teacherworkload

One of my resolutions for last year was to permanently have a green pen (we mark in green) in my hand during my lessons (or pen dipping as our English team call it). This means I can go around students and get them to correct spellings, punctuation and capital letters right there in the lesson. I got into the habit of “targeting” students who I knew had weaker literacy.

I took this one step further, we teach in mixed ability groups, this means when we do extended pieces I have extension tasks for those that finish quickly. Now, before a student goes on to an extension  activity they must come to the feedback table, where I will “mark” the work, and give students feedback instantly- they will then instantly make the changes (in purple progress pens), before going onto the next task. This means that when I come to sit down to that pile of books, in some cases, half of the books had green pen in them (and the satisfaction of opening a book to see it already is marked…. sooo good!) This significantly  sped up marking. I even got into the habit of planning lessons where I can do this, and would ask targeted students to bring books up mid work, so I could offer feedback to them- all the time writing brief (and very brief) comments about how to improve the work or what to do next to ensure progress.

What were the other students doing while I was marking individual books? Well luckily the expectations of what was to be completed was clear, students knew that if they did not complete the expectation that they would stay in at break/lunch/come back/ have a poor report etc. But what I did not expect was that some of my more distracted pupils, actually started working with a higher level of effort and motivation, so that they could receive this feedback and praise, immediately.


Teacher Workload is run by Lizzie Crean, Head of Humanities, who is passionate about providing top tips for reducing teacher workload and improving teaching and learning