Monday 12 October 2015

What's in my marking kit?

Recently I tweeted this photo of my marking kit as I was sitting down to mark some Y4 writing.  There was a lot of interest in the box and its contents so I thought I'd go through what I have in it and how I use them.  The box itself is from Hobbycraft and was a bargain £5 when I bought it in the summer.  Some colleagues have gone back to buy it and been successful.  It's available in clear, pink, blue and green
Marking Kit

Click on an item to view it on the seller's website - it will open in a new window so you can keep reading.

Repetitive Phrases Stampers - e.g. "Please use full stops", "Take more care with your presentation" or Personalised Stampers
I first started buying stampers when I found myself using the same phrases over and over again.  These save me so much time.  
Personalised Stampers
Repetitive Phrases
Growth Mindset Stamper - e.g. "Super Effort" or "Great Work - Keep It Up"
Some work simply needs to be seen by a teacher - it may be that no in depth marking is required or that children have marked the work themselves.  Alternatively, you may need to get somewhere fast or just improve your life-work balance.  A stamper like this will help you whizz through a set of books in around 15 minutes and praise children for their effort.  

Special Stickers - e.g. Dinosaurs, Football, Minions, Frozen etc!)
Nowadays, stickers are useful for giving children information but they started life as pure rewards.  Stickers like this, which are linked to children's hobbies and passions, can give children a wonderful feeling of pride when they see it on their work.  My class love to get a special sticker, they even put in requests and are incredibly grateful when I buy some and use them on their work.  Sometimes they choose to wear the sticker instead or collect them on Reading Records.  These don't have a direct impact on learning but, in my eyes, anything which gives children excitement about learning is of value.  

"On Target" Stamper and "Target Met" stickers (could be a stamper instead)
Our target sheets have numbers so we simply put the sticker and a number. The child can then highlight it on their record.  We've found this has really enhanced children's engagement with their writing targets and the impact of them.  

Targets in action
"Your Next Step" Stamper and Coloured Dots 
These go hand in hand to encourage children with how they move on. I used to use just the stamper but I found myself writing the same thing out hundreds of times.  Instead of doing that, I now use the coloured dots to show children what their next step is and I display the code in the next lesson.  I also link the colours in with our Good, Amazing, Awesome way of challenging children.  You can read a bit about that here
Your Next Step in action
There are also two stampers I have which don't stay in my marking kit; they stay on my desk:

Lots of people hate the idea of stampers like this and the "verbal feedback given" ones.  However I find this is very useful to carry around when helping children during a lesson. Sometimes, especially in maths, you come across children who have got lots of answers wrong.  Instead of marking each one, I just stamp thing after their incorrect work, support them to improve their understanding and then I only need to mark the work below the stamper which the child has completed after my intervention.  Sometimes I ask the child to note down what we talked about to help remind them of their mistake and their new knowledge.  Obviously, this helps anyone who is looking at your books to see what happened in that lesson too. 
We've Talked About This in action
"Adult Assisted Work" Stamper 
This is really important for assessment in this new curriculum.  I have to look through children's books to check which objectives they are able to do independently.  Every adult has access to this stamper in a lesson and it enables me to differentiate the independent work from assisted work.  

Other items
  • Green pens - my choice of marking colour. I love green! 
  • Random stampers - most of these I've inherited or bought very early on.  
  • Highlighters - see how I use them here.
  • Tabs - to show where children have forgotten to go back and respond to feedback. 
  • House point stickers and headteacher's award stampers/stickers (watch out for apostrophes!)
  • Stickers which praise handwriting and spelling.
Tabs in action - show where a child needs to respond to feedback but has forgotten.
Other posts about marking and feedback:
Stamper Snobs and Me
Stampers in Action
Marking Marking Speedy
Making Marking Meaningful

Please note that some of the contents of my marking kit were given to me by Brainwaves.


  1. Oh wow Jo this is amazing ! I'm so disorganised when it comes to marking equipment can never find the pen I need (often due to ta stealing it) but this would be perfect. Thanks. Katie

  2. This is a fantastic guide! My sister is training in her school at the moment and I've just put a load of this together in an order to give her for Christmas :) Thank you :)


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