Friday, November 22, 2013

Making Mistakes

The Girl Who NEVER Made Mistakes

Really? Not possible, not even for a minute? Everyone, whether they admit to it or not, makes mistakes. At any age accepting mistakes can be very difficult especially in a society where "perfect" is believed to actually exist. The unsaid social and cultural pressure on children to be "perfect" has increased anxiety among the youngest children. As difficult as it may be, letting kids make mistakes and then being there to help encourage them to try again will help to build confident kids.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein is an awesome book to teach children what a mistake is, mistakes are a necessary part of learning, and mistakes are okay. The character Beatrice Bottomwell helped us to understand there is no such thing as "perfect" and that worrying will not help mistakes.

I have used this lesson with 1st and 2nd grade classrooms. With the 2nd graders, I have them take a pre-survey to assess their prior knowledge and beliefs about mistakes before we read the story and have any discussion. At the end of the lesson, I have them take the post-survey to re-evaluate their beliefs about is amazing to see the impact of one, 25 minute lesson, on students' beliefs about themselves and the world around them.

We learned helpful ways to deal with mistakes; laugh at our mistakes if it doesn't hurt anyone else, find a way to correct or fix it, apologize if our mistake effects others, never give up, and try try again.
The lesson and worksheet was adapted from Small Group Counseling for Children, Grades K-2, by Diane S. Senn and the pre/post survey was taken from Making the Link: Helping Children Link School Habits with the World of Work Grades 2-5 by Lisa King, Ed. S., LPC.
ASCA Standard: A:A1.4: Accept mistakes as essential to the learning process.

Peanut Butter & Homework Sandwiches?!?!?

Peanut Butter & Homework Sandwiches?!?!
Who on EARTH would want to eat those? Martin MacGregor's dog Sadie gives the excuse "My dog ate my homework" meaning again! The story, Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches by Lisa Broadie Cook is an excellent book to teach young students the importance of a positive attitude, no excuses, and taking responsibility to complete our homework.
A new lesson I developed for 2nd Grade this year promotes academic development goals and good homework and study habits.
We began our lesson talking about what our homework expectations were in their classroom, what the work excuse and mistake mean, and why homework is important. As we read the story, we stopped to discuss each mistake Martin made and what a better choice would be if we, ourselves, were in Martin MacGregor's shoes; having a snack before or after doing our homework, using a folder and backpack to carry our homework to and from school, checking and packing our backpacks and folders the night before, working on homework in the same place and about the same time everyday.
After our lesson, we worked as a large group on "Homework Time!" Activity Sheet from Small Group Counseling to circle and find what students were doing "right" and "wrong" in completing homework. We ended discussing homework expectations, what excuse and mistake mean, why homework is important, what each student does to help them be responsible to complete their homework.

The lesson was adapted from Small Group Counseling for Children, Grades 2-5, by Diane S. Senn and the 10 Homework Tips information for the Counselor's Connection Letter was found at

ASCA Standard: A:A1.5; Identify attitudes and behaviors which lead to successful learning.