In Celebration of Mistakes

Reflections on Learning

Celebrating Mistakes

Much to the annoyance of people around me, I tend to think in creative but logical and linear terms. I like my thoughts ordered and sensible but they don't come out that way to start. My imagination tends to be imagining solutions to the disorder. I imagine myself an architect of technological and human systems, processes, and even movements. This may annoy my friends who have to hear about it. They can never keep quite keep up because next, I'll design something new. What annoys me is designs that nobody actually follows. Sometimes I feel like that last person to follow the rules. It conjures up images of friends all laughing and wondering why I’m still doing things that old way.

I make a lot of spelling mistakes. The English language seems devoid of rules and I never know what other people are doing. I'm busy creating reality in my head, why should I care what everyone is doing? For example, I learned “i” before “e” except after “c”. I liked that, it was a solid rule. Hardly. The first part of that rule is okay, most words put the “i” first, but when you have a “c” most words still put the “i” first. The iciest glaciers make idiocies out of the conceit of “except after c.” It pricks the conscience sufficiently and proficiently to imagine this scientific deficiency. I make a lot of spelling mistakes because I keep thinking there must be some logical way to know how to spell words, when really, they are just conventions, and I’m not wired for conventions.

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who make mistakes and those who correct them. There are those who create content and those who spot the mistakes in the content. Professors are the exception who often seem to be people who can master both. When we think about our values as men and women of faith what is more important, to live without making mistakes or to live our lives fully? So go ahead make mistakes. You learn a lot more from making a mistake than from getting it right.

One of the areas where we need to make more mistakes is in writing. The first priority in writing needs to be to get what’s in our minds—our ideas, imagination, and responses, into printed form. This can be done through cursive, printing or typing. Some will do it with their thumbs on a phone. Start by making every mistake. Then go back and fix it after you’re done. In your PC there’s something called “Notepad”. That’s a great word processor that won’t get in your way. No spell check, no grammar check, just you and the keyboard. Spit it out! Later, fixing those mistakes is a great way to learn spelling and grammar.

Mistakes make great design and scientific discoveries. Mistakes happen we do stuff and follow through on ideas. Mistakes happen when we're creative and fully engaged in self-expression and making a difference. Mistakes are fun and interesting.  The worlds most creative people are the ones who are willing to make the most mistakes.

Mistakes also make a great topic for study. The world’s greatest mistake might be a good Social Studies investigation. Think of the Titanic, the army that attacked itself or the Mars Polar Orbiter which crashed because of Metric vs Imperial measure. Go ahead, get messy, make mistakes and learn.

Dates and Resources

My main job during this part of the year is to review your samples and provide feedback. The more samples you send the more you get service you get from Rob. I look in SeeSaw each morning and respond to everything I see. 

Tasks for You

  1. Social Studies Samples. In a few short weeks, I'll be reporting on your child's progress in Social Studies. I would like everyone to send in samples of what your children are able to do in Social Studies.  Please upload it to SeeSaw and I'll find it there. 
  2. SeeSaw is working well. If you're having trouble accessing it or would like extra support in SeeSaw, drop me a text or email and let me know when we can get together. Providing evidence and samples of your child's development is required in this program. That said nearly everyone does an amazing job of getting me samples through SeeSaw. Congrats to you all.  If you have not posted on every subject by November 15, I'll use the phone or Zoom to get a better idea. If you'd like to schedule it now, send me an email.
  3. Foundation Skills Assessment for Grade 4 and 7. You will receive a package. Just to the tests as outlined in the instructions. Some people make the tests out to be more important than they are. They are a sort of intensive survey. Your individual results can vary on any given day, but they do provide parents, schools, and the Ministry of Education invaluable information for how we are doing. Please do participate.  Participation can also be a learning experience for both youth and parents.

Dates and Links: November 23-- Term Ends

I am using SeeSaw and gathering information for report cards until November 23, which is the end of the term. I will begin writing report cards on November 12 based on what you have uploaded.  Where there is enough data to write a report card I will alert you so that you can send in additional information. In most cases when there is a problem in the report card it is not due to lack of learning but due to a lack of communication and reporting. Please send lots of school work into SeeSaw. Some of you are sending a lot of pictures of outings and activities. These are great, but please do not send only that. I need to see what the learners are able to do. In the case of computer-based learning, pictures of the screen can be an excellent way of recording progress.

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources