Tonight, I realized that I made a big mistake. I was driving home this evening and thinking about my Math/Music activity from today. I kept replaying the comment that I made about 4 beats in a bar. I had this nagging feeling that something that I said or did related to this music activity wasn’t right. I tried reasoning with myself that I was correct. But I just couldn’t be convinced, so when I got home, I sent out this tweet:
It wasn’t long before an English teacher from Kitchener, Callie, replied to my tweet (and then our conversation unfolded).
I can’t believe what I did! How could I have made such a huge mistake?
Now I felt stuck. It was during our Math/Music activity today that I realized that many students did not understand the connection between a half and a whole. I was speaking to my amazing EA, Melissa, after school today, and she had a great idea involving Lego and fractions. I then started to look at different block and shape options that would help students see that two halves make a whole. I left school totally prepared to have students create different combinations of four beats using half notes and whole notes: using visuals to “see” what fractions really mean in a meaningful context.
I kept trying to convince myself that despite the fact that half notes are actually two beats, whole notes are actually four, and there are only really four beats in a bar (and not 16), that I could still make my activity work. But it wasn’t long before my discussion continued with our terrific Arts Consultant, Karen, and I knew that as much as I wanted this plan to work, it wouldn’t. Based on this realization then, I need to go to school tomorrow and tell my Grade 1 students that,
- I made a big mistake.
- I was right that there are four beats in a bar, but completely wrong about the value of each note.
- I will be correcting my mistake, and we will learn the right way, but first, I need some help. (I’m meeting with Karen next week, and I will be getting this help.)
I know that we learn a lot from failing. I know that we learn a lot from trying again, and I know that I will learn a lot from this experience. But you know what? Failing isn’t fun, and thinking that I may have caused confusion for my students, definitely upsets me. I’ve made many mistakes in my teaching career, and I’m sure that I’ll make many more, but hopefully I won’t make this same one again. I hope that my Grade 1’s will understand when I tell them about my mistake tomorrow. Today was a good reminder that we can all make mistakes … even when we think that we may be doing the right thing!
How do you admit to students about your mistakes? How do you learn from these mistakes? I’d love if we could share our stories, and share the learning that comes from them!