My class have been working all year on what I like to term ‘writing like a writer’. We have writing sessions were we ‘get dirty’ with our writing, by critiquing each others writing. By that I mean we criticize and suggest improvements for each other. I am firmly of the belief that even the best writer can aim to improve. That words can be crafted and nuanced in new and interesting ways. But the art of giving and receiving constructive feedback is hard. It is particularly hard if you are twelve years old and you have struggled over a paragraph, only to have your teacher or your peers seemingly complain about it.
Likewise I hate to do what I term ‘slash and burn’ on their writing tasks. Not only do I think a written task covered in red ink must be soul destroying but I want my students to learn that they must take responsibility for errors, I want them to edit carefully. To write, to craft, to re-read, to reflect, to change and to improve. Which is why I am so excited today to have picked up this simple tip from twitter last night.
When marking your students work use two coloured highlighter pens. The first one is Pink and when you use that one to highlight words or a passage, what you are saying is ‘I’m tickled pink’ by your ideas, or your grammar etc. The second is Green, when you use that one what you are saying is ‘this writing has room for growth‘, or this is where you need to improve, this section or word should be edited. As soon as I read this tip, I thought why didn’t I think of that! So simple, so clever, I also knew it would work for me.
I only spent a short while on Twitter last night but my visit led me to a new blog and this idea. Proof indeed that it does not matter how long I spend or where I visit, I always learn something new and that it is often the simplest ideas that are the most useful.