Mistakes are Gifts!

Mistakes aren't just okay, they are gifts!

Six years ago, I was attending some amazing professional development as part of the West Cook Math Initiative- now called Metro Chicago Math Initiative. We had a frequent guest facilitator, David Foster, leading us in a math talk and then discussing re-engagement lessons. I will never forget the day that he said, "Mistakes are gifts." In fact, I believe he said he had heard this from a teacher in Japan that was explaining the role that mistakes can play in helping students understanding mathematical concepts.

Bottom line, I don't know who to give credit to for this quote, but it certainly has had an impact on me. It is something that I repeat to students that I teach, teachers that I coach, and participants in professional development that I lead. I just can't say it enough!

Here's my vlog of my reflections on this idea:

If you like the idea of using mistakes in your classroom, consider re-engagement lessons as an alternative to "reteaching." You can read more here!

image from Inside Mathmatics


  1. Yes! I've seen Doug Eagan use this strategy in Classkick, not only inviting discussions about student answers but also inviting discussions about peer feedback to student answers! Really engaging for students to realize it's not only their work, but also the way they give feedback, that helps everyone learn together!

  2. I liked your blog very much it is very interesting and I learned many things from this blog which is helping me a lot.

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