The other day, as I sat checking math papers, one of my students asked me why teachers always use red pens? Unsure of the real reason, I told her that red was the color of love and grading with red ink shows students how much we love their work. This answer worked for her, but left me thinking about red pens. I've read studies that explain why teachers should avoid red ink. I've tried grading with other colors, but it just seems weird! Until recently, I was a BIC Cristal Stic Ball Pen user. These pens are inexpensive and easy to find. Over the summer, I bought a three pack of Pilot Frixion erasable pens. I loved the idea of being able to erase and still use red ink! My love for this pen quickly faded when it ran out in just a few weeks and costs a small fortune. Back to the BIC I went until recently when I was asked by Shoplet.com Office Supplies to review the Pentel Oh Gel Retractable Roller Pen and the John Dickinson Black n' Red Casebound Notebook.
I really like these pens for several reasons. They feel really comfortable when writing. I love a pen that has a comfortable grip and is thicker to hold. (This is the one problem that I have with the BIC pen. The hexagon-shape is not comfortable to write with even though the price is right.) The ink in the Pentel pen also glides nicely across the paper. My only wish is that Pentel would come up with an erasable gel retractable roller pen!
I was also happy to receive the John Dickinson Casebound Notebook. It has many nice features, including a date planner and several resource pages. I also like the built-in ribbon marker for quick page referencing. I plan on using this notebook for staff meetings and professional development since it matches my school colors of red and black!
I would love to hear your thoughts on grading with red ink and your list of go to pens!!