#SOL16: #WhyIWrite – No More Red Ink!

My worst fear.

My paper is bleeding red ink.

She didn’t like it.

It was my choice.

Write about anything.

Apparently anything but that.

What did you do to my paper?

red ink.jpg

Sample document – illustration only

I gave you a chance to do it over.

You can revise, fix, and return it.

What do you want?

Just tell me!

What should it say?

Your completed assignment without errors.

With YOUR changes, it’s not my work.

Don’t you want to do your BEST work?

But it is no longer MY work.

You must fix the errors before you recopy it.


My solution.

Final copy written in red ink.

And yes, I used a fountain pen.

It was the 1960s after all . . .

red ink two.jpg

Illustration only!

Cursive, a fountain pen and a Big Chief tablet. . .

Writing materials from the 60s!

big chief tablet.jpg

No way for my final copy to be “red inked” by the teacher!

My third grade solution to a “red inked” paper.

Now I write to explore how writing instruction should look and feel in the 21st century from both a teacher and student perspective. Red ink didn’t make me a better writer in the dark days before Columbus discovered America.  It won’t help a writer today either!

Why do you write?

Have you ever had your work “red inked”?

How did that feel?

How did you respond?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 


18 responses

  1. This exact thing happened to my 7th grader this year. It’s hard to believe that teachers don’t see how it bleeds and how the writer carries the red ink far into their lives.

    1. Kimberly,
      So “unhelpful” . . . and to continue as a teaching practice . . . so damaging!

  2. Good post Fran! I remember those tablets well…and the scary red ink marks. Sadly, we had a discussion at my class last night about teachers who still love to mark up writing:( Did you see the recent TWT post about writing contests? Do you have any more knowledge about any of them? The 5th grade ELA teacher wants to try with this with some students. Tammy

    1. Tammy,
      Yes, it still happens. But when writing instruction looks like mine did – decades and decades and decades ago – there’s a problem!!!

  3. Oh my gosh, this was my worst fear as a student and something I think about every time I sit to assess a students’ writing. Love your funny solution!

    1. Jennifer,
      So much to consider when reading and writing for ALL students! I’ve always tried to have original solutions! ❤

  4. Yup- we have evolved. I find I can not bring myself to write (in any color) on student writing.

    1. Erika,
      I had some years that I wrote in green and/or purple. Such a “duh” that it was equally as bad as “red ink”!

  5. I love your “solution” of red ink! I worked with a teacher in those final years as a coach & I struggled to convince her that if she wrote all those things like your example shows, this happens: “With YOUR changes, it’s not my work.” It was frustrating that she thought that was teaching. Great that you brought this out for many to read, Fran!

    1. Linda,
      I thought I was quite creative in my solution. There are so many reasons that we need to make sure that the students are really writing their own work!

  6. This has happened to so many of us unfortunately. When I was in school there were no such things as writing workshops and conferences with he teacher. Everything was red inked by the teacher and returned for do overs with no input from the students. One reason I loved using post-it notes with ideas and suggestions on a student’s paper and talking with a student to make sure I understood where the student was going with what they wrote.

    1. You know, that’s exactly why I love “comments” in google docs. It feels like a post it for a question or a comment instead of a “fix-it” or a “must do” list that is a required!

  7. I am so glad that I don’t teach the way I was taught!

    1. Tara,
      I don’t want any child to be taught that way! So true! ❤

  8. Ah, memories of the red ink. It’s a wonder I still write. Please link this post to DigiLitSunday. I submitted the link up to NCTE. https://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/digilitsunday-whyiwrite/

    1. Margaret – Yay! Two posts for #WhyIWrite . . . so many reasons to write!!!

  9. […] 10.#SOL16: #WhyIWrite – No More Red Ink! […]

  10. […] Here,  and                                                            (probably my favorite) […]

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