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Okay, I admit that 99.9% of the time I grade my kids' assignments with a red pen. Always have. Never really thought anything of it. My teachers all through school always graded with red pens (at least a far as I can remember) so when I became a homeschool mom, I graded with red pens, too. In fact, I figured it served a purpose being that red is a different color than pencil or blue/black pens and would stand out.
On occasion I grade with whatever pen is near so my kids' papers have been known to have pink, green, purple, or orange marks on them, but like I said, I mostly grade with red.
I remember talking with a public school teacher about a year ago who said she graded her students' writing assignments with any color pen except for red. She gave a few reasons as to why, and I think one of the reasons might have been that red marks seem more negative than other colored marks. Other colors aren't as harsh and are more encouraging is basically what I took from the conversation. All in all it was great information, but I guess I didn't take it to heart because grading with RED is such a habit for me! Plus I figured wrong is wrong no matter what color pen is used.
Well, all that has changed in the last few weeks. All because Lincoln (my sixth grader) asked me out of the blue if I'd stop using red pens to grade his work. When I asked him why, he said that when he sees red marks, all he can think about is that he got a lot of stuff wrong, but when he sees blue marks, he thinks, "Oh, I need to try harder next time." He told me it's a brain thing or something like that. He also revealed that he'd read an author's note in a fiction book he recently read in which the author thanked the editor (or someone like that) for not using a red pen!
Grading with a red pen isn't a hill to die on or anything, so I am honoring my son's request and using mostly blue (or another color besides red) to grade his work. Since I have the blue pen handy when grading Lincoln's papers, I also use it when grading my other kids' papers. I recently learned that my oldest must have really had an issue with me using red pen as well. Apparently after I started using blue to grade his work, too, he messaged a friend something like this: My mom stopped using red pen. Life just got easier.
Seriously, I had no idea that using a red pen was causing my children such grief. ;) If using a blue pen makes them happy, then blue pen it is!
What color pen do you use to grade your children's papers?
Linked to: Hip Homeschool Hop