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Sunday, September 21, 2014


When I visited Kentucky last week they gave me a book called BEAUTIFUL OOPS! by Barney Saltzberg. It really is a delightful book that reminds everyone that we can learn from our mistakes and make something good out of "oops!"

If children learn to experience failure in the classroom, they will be much better equipped to handle it in real life and the work force. The important thing is to “allow” children the freedom to learn from their mistakes without punishment or ridicule. Losing a game, making a mistake when you read, or running down the hall are all opportunities where children can learn and be challenged to try something different the next time. Trusting children to deal with natural consequences and then try again can develop independence and the executive function.

I make mistakes, you make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. You’ll find many mistakes on my CDs or videos. Use that as a “teachable” moment to point out the correct thing and remind the children that nobody’s perfect. I really do try my best and beat myself up when people point out my mistakes. It reminds me to be careful not to shame children or others for mistakes!  I believe Alexander Pope said, “To err is human; to forgive divine.”

I made up this little ditty to the tune of “This Old Man.”

It’s O.K. to make mistakes
Mistakes are always O.K. to make.
You can say, “Ooops!” and try it again.
It will be fine in the end.

Moms and dads, teachers, too,
We all make mistakes, it’s true.
Say, “Oh, well!” and try something new.
Use mistakes to learn what to do.

Here’s an art project that builds on the BEAUTIFUL OOPS! book. Cut holes out of paper and challenge children to create something out of their hole.