Mistakes are our friends!

Can you think of a time your mistake led to something really great?

When I was a kid my mom would often drag us to her latest artistic interest.  Los Angeles was full of them: a garden, a gallery, a house by a famous architect. Many times as we drove around trying to find the place, I’d hear her say, “Oh! I know where we are- I got lost here once!” That woman knows LA inside and out because of all the times she got lost there!

Think about learning something new:

  • An overdrawn checking account can lead to better financial habits, so it never happens again.
  • Flat cookies mean we’ll never forget the baking soda.
  • A loud wrong note in choir gets it fixed early on, so we aren’t still singing it wrong at the concert.
  • Tossing out our failures at steeping, grinding, or pressing leads us to make a really great cup of coffee!
  • And certainly, falling off the bike helps us to tweak our technique until we can ride off into the Upside Down.

Somewhere along the way, people got the idea that not knowing the right answer means they are bad at math.  But making mistakes is the very process of learning!  It doesn’t make us stupid, it makes us smart!

My favorite illustration of this concept (and one I show the first day of my class every year) is this clip from Meet the Robinsons: 

Why I Love Standards-Based Grading

Standards-based grading alters the whole purpose of practice work and removes the shroud of mystery from the dreaded math test. It’s a game changer!

Math is Figureoutable!

The very idea that we already know what we need to solve a tough problem can instill confidence right from the start!

Attitudes (Mistakes are our friends II)

If we want to change how our students feel about mistakes, our classroom has to be a safe place to make them.

Is Math Class a Bully?

What’s it like to have a bully in your life?
Being repeatedly shamed and humiliated. Feeling powerless to make it better. Dreading school…  

“You failed!…And it was awesome!”  🙂