July 18, 2019
By Meena Srinivasan

Lesson plan

Mistakes Help Me Learn

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Students will be able to use growth mindset techniques and identify mistakes as opportunities to grow and learn.

(10 minutes)
  • Join students together in a circle, seated on the rug or in chairs.
  • Invite them to think about a time they made a mistake in school.
  • As they think about this time, have them notice how they feel in their body.
  • Ask students to share the feelings that come up for them (e.g., disappointed, mad, discouraged).
  • Tell them to take a few breaths, and have them repeat the following statement after you: "This mistake will help me learn and grow."
  • Ask students to turn to a partner and share a time when they made a mistake, while also thinking about how that mistake helped them learn and grow.
  • Model for the class by sharing an example from your own life. (For example, you might share about learning a new skill. Perhaps you were trying yoga for the first time, and you fell in a balancing pose. However, falling actually helped you learn more about your body and how to balance.)
  • After all of the students share an anecdote with their partners, ask them to think about what this mistake showed them.
  • Ask the class, "Were you able to learn and improve after you made the mistake?" Take 2–4 comments.
  • Build upon their responses, and mention that we usually remember more after correcting our mistakes.
  • Explain that the next time they think about or look at a mistake, they should say, "Mistakes help me learn and grow."
  • Share that when they can see and understand their mistakes in this way, it is called having a "growth mindset."
(5 minutes)
  • Tell the class that together, they will practise learning from mistakes.
  • Share a mistake you recently made, and how you learned from it. Explain that everyone, even teachers, sometimes make mistakes!
  • As you talk about your mistake, tell the class, "Instead of saying 'I made a mistake,' I say, 'This mistake will help me learn and grow.'"
  • Ask the students to repeat after you: "This mistake will help me learn and grow."
  • Explain to the class that they will also reflect on a mistake they made.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask the class what they feel like when they make a mistake. (Bad? Sad?)
  • Tell them that today, we are going to practise looking at mistakes in a new way. We are going to see that they are opportunities to learn and grow. Remind students that this is called having a "growth mindset."
  • Ask them to repeat the term "growth mindset," and write it on the board.
  • Tell them that they will watch a video of a young girl who makes a mistake, and they should notice how she responds.
  • Show the "Growth Mindset Practices" video.
  • Afterwards, ask the class, "How did the girl say she felt when she made the mistake?" Build upon their answers, and mention that the girl said she felt good when she made the mistake.
  • Ask, "How did the mistake help her?" Explain that the mistake helped her learn.
  • Explain that scientists have found that people who make more mistakes are more successful, because they are more open to learning.
  • Ask the class, "How does this new information make you feel about mistakes?" Emphasize that mistakes are good and beneficial.
(25 minutes)
  • Show the class your sample 'Mistakes Help Me Learn' Banner.
  • Explain that this will go up in the classroom.
  • Ask them what they think is missing from your banner. Mention that the banner needs pictures.
  • Explain to students that each of them will create their own banner with a drawing of themselves learning from a mistake, and the banners will be placed in front of the room.
  • Ask them what they may draw on the banner (e.g., Someone who is happy they made a mistake.)
  • Dismiss students back to their seats, and distribute the 'Mistakes Help Me Learn Banner' worksheet, as well as colored pencils and other art supplies.
  • Have each of them work on their banners.


  • Ask students to write their own growth mindset phrases connected to making mistakes or understanding that there is always room for improvement.
  • Give students feedback and one or two more assignments using the phrase "Mistakes help me learn."


  • Work one-on-one with some students to help them come up with ideas of what to draw on their banners.
  • Give some students words or phrases, connected to growth mindset, to write on their banners, such as: "Growth Mindset," "Mistakes are proof that you are trying," "Love challenges," etc.
(5 minutes)
  • During the independent working time, move around the room and check for understanding by asking students to share their thoughts about learning from mistakes. Have them share the examples from their own lives that they are drawing on their banners.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask the students where they would like to place their banners in the classroom.
  • Have everyone hang up their banners.
  • Ask the class what they notice about everyone's work.
  • Ask if anyone would like to share what they drew, and why they drew it.
  • Tell them that their work will be displayed in the classroom as a reminder that mistakes do not make us wrong, and they are not bad. Rather, they are amazing opportunities to learn and grow!
  • Ask the class, "How can we encourage each other to remember that mistakes help us learn and grow?"

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