Throw Out Your Red Pen and Correct in Yellow

Throw Out Your Red Pen and Correct in Yellow

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Throw Out Your Red Pen and Correct in Yellow

Throw out your red pen and correct in yellow. Correct only the ones that are right. Those that are left unmarked indicate a need for do-overs to get things right and will allow all students multiple opportunities to reach proficiency. This responsive strategy sends a clear message to students: you care about them and their work.

We need to “de-criminalize” mistakes and failures. Students need to learn that making mistakes and failing is a normal part of life, and not anything to fear. Creating an environment that is safe to talk about failures and problem-solving promotes the notion that honest errors are viewed as great learning opportunities to get things right. Good failures offer students some of life’s best lessons. Students need to know that good failures coupled with growth-producing feedback help them know what they need to do to correct their work. Remind students that the greatest thinkers in history, i.e., Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Dr. Salk, and The Wright Brothers (to name a few) experienced their share of setbacks, failures, and disappointments.

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Jim, the founder of Staff Development for Educators (SDE), was a prolific champion for student, teacher, and school success throughout his 30 years leading the company. What started as informal educator discussions around a New England kitchen table in 1986 has grown into premium professional development opportunities reaching hundreds of teachers and administrators each year. Jim's research, insight, advocacy, strategies, and inspiration were the highlights of his thousands of personal appearances at state, national, and international conferences, his hundreds of trainings in schools across the U.S., his numerous books and published articles, and his presence in the lives of thousands of educators and children for more than three decades. His legacy will live on with SDE's continued mission to offer practical and research-based instructional strategies to help all students learn.