Me: Hi, I’m Sarah.New Acquaintance: Hi, I’m [insert NA’s name here]. What do you do for a living? Me: I’m a math teacher! Actually, I have a business where I make math videos and resources to help students, teachers, and even parents understand how to tackle math problems.NA: Oh my! Thank goodness for you. I’m terrible at math. So are my kids. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Then, cue the "New Acquaintance’s" sideways and slightly downward stare as they travel back in time to their horrific experiences with math in school. I get this ALL. THE. TIME from people, including kids. When I launched the , it was important to me to start each episode with the Mathematical Mindset Creed. Math Misconception Mystery series(Sidenote: If you’re a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade teacher, and you do not have this series in your life yet, do yourself a favor and to preview a free episode!)click here The very first line in the creed is “This is a safe place to make mistakes. Mistakes help me learn and grow.” This declaration is a game changer, ya’ll! People tend to hate math because they don’t like to make mistakes and feel embarrassed when they do. We have to be intentional about how we set the stage for learning. This year, my students busted out the Mathematical Mindset Creed every day before we started a lesson. In the beginning, I made a big fuss over the idea that everyone is going to make mistakes this year. Even me! That’s math. And frankly, that’s life. When I make a mistake, a legit mistake, not one that I’m throwing out there on purpose, it is like a PAR-TAY in my class. Suddenly, we are all super invested in the problem, analyzing every step to figure out where I went wrong. And when we do, I explode with smiles and say, “When I make a mistake, it is like a game for me. I HAVE to figure out where I went wrong.” Of course, I always have a student stand up and shout, “Ms. McCarthy, this is a safe place to make mistakes!” To which we would all chime in, “MISTAKES HELP ME LEARN AND GROW!!!”
How do you create a “safe place” where mistakes are necessary to learn and grow? Comment below!
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