Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Can Mistakes Tell You?

Today as my Super Stars were reviewing facts about plane shapes (circle, square, rectangle, triangle and hexagon), I was listening, watching, asking, and supervising as I walked through the room helping each student with his or her math journal.  Joining a friend at a spot on the carpet, I took a peek at her page:

She gladly read and pointed her way through each column:

"Circle (shape), circle (not the word she glued down), and it has zero sides and zero corners."

"Square (shape), square (not the word she glued down), and it has four sides and four corners."

"Rectangle (shape) rectangle (CORRECT word), and it also has four sides and four corners, but two of the sides are long, and two of the sides are short."

She continued on through triangle and hexagon.

Asking her to look again at the circle and square columns, I asked her to find the word for each and read them to me.  She misread "square" for "circle" and "circle" for "square." I then asked her what sound she heard at the end of "circle."  She said "l," so we looked at both words again, to see if "l" appeared near the end of either.  Asking her what sound she heard at the end of "square," she said "r." She quickly looked at the words, and then realized her mistake, laughing "Oh!  I just looked at the beginning sounds.  "S" and "C" can both make the same sound (snake, cereal).  Next time I'll look at all the letters."

Mistake explained, I got another glimmer of insight as to how my friend first looks at words: by initial letter/sound.  

With some gentle pulling, she was able to apply more glue and give the words "square" and "circle" the old switcharoo.


I've uploaded the PDF printable journal page for you.  The images on the PDF display correctly when printed, so don't worry about the square that appears to be missing its bottom!  The page would also be easy to print out and then enlarge if your students need bigger pieces with which to work.

1 comment:

  1. It's so important to take time and see what is behind a mistake. Very nicely done!


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