Taking photos of students while they work is nothing new to the elementary world, and I even spent a year next to a talented teacher/photographer. So while I can’t claim to have a novel idea, I am thinking of bringing it into my classroom for the first time in a way that I hope will be meaningful to my students. I am taking photos of students demonstrating routines and behavior that I want to promote, as well as mistakes. Yes, Mistakes We Are Proud to Share and Learn From.
I always tell the students that we all make mistakes and it’s ok. But more than that, they are even better when we share them, because we can learn and maybe teach someone else so they don’t make the same mistake!
Here are examples. One is good practice, demonstrating how one student made the partial sums method work for him (putting HTO on the side and boxing it in was his idea), and the other shows what happens when another student didn’t line her numbers up properly, “disrespecting” place value.
These will be displayed in class on the same laundry rope I hang my math charts on. Since I can’t predict when mistakes will happen and be the kind you can visually represent in this way, I didn’t want to create a whole bulletin board for it that would take more time, planning, and explanation to my admin. But if you have the space and permission, this could be a great way to “celebrate” all the kinds of work our students do, show them *how* mistakes can teach, and even make those teachable moments that much more memorable.
Let’s face it. Mistakes happen. Might as well turn them into a positive learning experience!