Reducing Planning and Marking Time

Seona MacRuary

Seona MacRuary is a primary school teacher in Glasgow, and is now Assessment and Support Manager for Giglets.

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Seona MacRuary

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Was there ever a time where teachers worked 35-hour weeks? I doubt it. Whether you’re working 40, 50 or 60 hours a week, we all know, it needs to be reduced, as teachers deserve a positive work-life balance.

A resource that helps me reduce planning and marking time when in the classroom is Giglets: an online literacy resource, bursting with texts and tasks for primary and early secondary education. Giglets supports learners and teachers in developing reading comprehension by creating an immersive experience for the learner and providing the teacher with a broad range of high-quality tasks, linked to the curriculum.

With a few clicks, you can assign your learners an engaging text complete with animations, theme music, audio and illustrations. Thank goodness there is no need to sort through the piles of (sometimes tatty) books in the library, hoping there are enough copies. This can then be used for individual, group or whole-class reading with huge capacity for differentiation.

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With a couple more clicks you can pick and choose the tasks suitable for your focus. There are reading test questions, higher order thinking skills questions and a wide variety cross-curricular tasks available.

On finishing a task, children can complete a self-assessment, giving teachers immediate feedback on how confident a learner felt with a task. I felt that was invaluable for planning next steps in learning and ensuring I was meeting the needs of each individual learner.

Just as invaluable is the way of marking within Giglets. Reading test questions, where pupils can demonstrate their understanding of a text, are marked automatically by the system, giving the learner immediate feedback on success and areas of text which should be reviewed. This can then be submitted to the teacher and either printed or stored within the archive. Higher order thinking skills questions and cross-curricular tasks can be marked on- or offline in the way that suits the teacher best. I often used peer-assessment and class review, as well as individual marking, to keep my marking load manageable.

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This also works well for homework, as it can be assigned, marked and fed-back via the platform, eliminating the time spent at the photocopier or typing up homework tasks.

In order to support learners and ensure learning is accessible for all, I have a teacher friend who prints her resources on four different colours of paper. This is, of course, admirable and all part of being an effective teacher, but we can’t deny that this takes her extra time. Through Giglets, learners can personalise their reading experience by choosing their page colour, font colour, font and font size in the accessible reader. The full platform is compatible with screen readers which ensures that all learners can access the curriculum through Giglets.

Teachers have a wide range of tools available to them which can enhance learning and help reduce workload. Giglets is one I would certainly recommend adding to your toolkit.

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