I have one child who is very disturbed by seeing his answers marked wrong on his work. By very disturbed, I mean this child has crawled into a corner weeping and wailing because I insisted that 3 + 3 does not equal 4. He stayed in that corner for about an hour before crying himself to sleep. Math is serious business my friends.
I normally fall into the “meh, get over it” group when it comes to grading papers. You make a mistake, you learn your lesson, you move on. No fuss needed. My little guy weeping and wailing over the tragic error in his simple math facts did do a number on my stone cold heart. I came up with a simple solution to the drama.
I threw away my red pen.
In fact, for this particularly sensitive kiddo I don’t use a pen to mark his work at all.
I use erasable colored pencils. I put an X over the problems he gets wrong. Then, I call my sweet kiddo over. We go over each problem. As he shows me that he knows how to answer, I erase the mark. So far as this kid is concerned, that mistake never happened.
When my kiddo pages through his workbook on his way to the lesson he is supposed to do each day, he is not looking back over his past failures. It’s just a little thing, but it really helps this child be less hung up on the fact that he doesn’t always get his math problems right. It’s made his hardest subject much easier on him and I hear a lot less weeping and wailing. That is more than worth keeping a few colored pencils in my teacher’s kit.