This chapter tells about how mistakes actually grow our brains and how important it is to create an environment that encourages risk taking and mistake making. There’s a bit of science at the beginning of the chapter that tells about how mistakes actually help your brain grow and then LOTS of talk about how important mistakes are.
My Big Takeaway
Creating a classroom environment and culture that promotes risk taking and sees mistakes as the path to growth is ESSENTIAL. Students need to understand that we all make mistakes in math (and in life) every day. It isn’t the mistake that we make, but how we react to it and what we do with it that matters most.
My Three Favorite Quotes:
This is so unbelievably true. One of my favorite Kid President quotes is, “Not everything that happens is awesome, but your response can be.” Our students NEED to learn how to struggle and that the struggle is what helps them improve.
I want to work really hard this year to create a classroom space built on trust and support so that my students feel comfortable making mistakes and struggling together.
While in the past I’ve worked really hard to make math more fun and to teach it in engaging ways, I did focus on strategies and procedures too often. Thinking of math more flexibly, like art class or music, can free our students up from the rigidity of all the rules. If students can see that math is all about relationships and seek to make sense of the problems, they can work through anything.
A bit of this chapter spoke about ways to create a classroom culture safe enough for making mistakes. One of these ways had to do with grading. The suggestion was to eliminate testing and grading as much as possible and even to add points for certain types of mistakes. I can’t wait to hear more about this and get some real ideas to implement in my classroom.