Going Back And Trying Again!

As part of my current Annual Learning Plan, I’m focusing on communication in math. This includes both oral and written communication, and I’m using many different tools to have students develop these skills.

On Monday, we began a new unit on Number Patterns, and to start off, students were given a variety of number patterns. They needed to work in small groups to figure out these different patterns and explain their answers. Yesterday evening, I was watching the videos that different groups recorded, when I came across this two-part video.

There are many things that I like about these two videos, as the students worked hard to explain their answers, show their work, and really make the audience aware of their thinking. The amazing thing about this group is that they decided to work over the lunch hour, as they chose to work out the problems on paper first before recording the videos. By the time that they were ready to record, it was nutrition break, but they were so eager to record that they stayed in and worked.

While I wanted to share these videos on the classroom blog, I was reluctant to do so, as I noticed two small mistakes in the second video. What was I going to do? This is when I decided to show this video to the class today as a teachable moment, and help the students work through the errors.

It was actually the students themselves that inspired me to do so. In the second video, the group ran into a problem with one of the questions, but instead of erasing and recording again, the students spoke about the importance of making mistakes and learning from them. Today’s mini-lesson provided this opportunity as well.

The most fantastic part about all of this, is that the students were willing — on Halloween — to re-record their video, discuss their mistakes, and show their new learning. They even gave me permission to share all of these videos on my blog, as a great example of how much we can learn from our mistakes.

Thank you to these three students for reminding me about the importance of going back and trying again! How do you get your students to do this in the classroom? How do we build a classroom culture where we can all celebrate mistakes? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!


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