Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Green Marker / Red Marker

I wanted to share with you a writing system called Green Marker / Red Marker. You may find that watching the video at on the system will help you understand it better than this post! Consider this post a delicious appetizer before the main course!

If you are like me, you find that writing is very challenging to teach. Some kids barely write anything at all, while other kids have well developed skills. When writing an essay, 3 paragraphs or 5 paragraphs, students must correctly do a whole host of mini-skills that they may or may not possess.

In this last three sentences, I did the following:
  • spelled the words
  • capitalized
  • put in spaces
  • decided when and where to start and end the paragraph
  • decided how many words were in each sentence
  • thought about where to put commas
  • included an appositive phrase
That was just in three sentences! It is no wonder that writing is difficult to teach.

Here is where green marker / red marker becomes a life saver. You let students know that they are going to focus on one skill today. Maybe that skill is using spaces. Then, as students write for a set amount of time, like 10 minutes, you walk around the classroom marking their papers. You put a dot or line with a green marker when a student correctly uses spaces between words. Also, you put a dot or line, with a red marker when the student incorrectly uses spaces between words.

You just make two marks for the skill! After you make the line or dot, you teach the child to respond with an "OK" or "Thanks."

Here is an example:

Today I went berrypicking with my family. We ate more raspberies than we piked. I liked picing the berrys a lot i had fun.
I have marked this paragraph with one red mark and one green mark. The marks were focused on spacing. In the beginning, you would ignore the spelling, capitalization and other errors. With time, you would ask the student to focus on neatness, capitalization and spelling etc. But at first, the student would just start with mastering one skill!

I encourage you to continue the meal after this little appetizer! Do check out the free video on this writing method at!

Online classes I offer for teachers through

FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL: From Stress to Success
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