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DIY marking

Teachers spend a lot of time marking work, but it's a pointless exercise if pupils don't look at it or don't understand the marks. In an effort to teach them some of the skills of redrafting, and to encourage them to look at the teachers' marks, we produced "Put it right" cards with examples of the symbols used, for example an "S" for spelling mistake and to indicate that there is a need for a new paragraph. They can use a wiggly line under a word when they are not sure of the spelling.

They are also taught to do their own marking or editing, both of their own pieces and other children's.

When I first introduced this idea I put a piece of work on the board with obvious mistakes, which they corrected. They were then given a marked piece of work to correct, and later moved on to marking their own work and others'. I always emphasise to them that when they mark other children's work - which they often do together - it's important that they begin by discussing what's good about the work, before moving on to making any corrections.

Although the process was strange to them at first, they now offer constructive comments in a positive and encouraging way. They have started being more critical of their work and spend more time looking back over it and editing it.

Patricia Monk, literacy co-ordinator, Copeland Road Primary School, West Auckland, Co Durham

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