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Volume 2 Number 2

Cheryl Ristow never thought her life would change so much with one click. This month's cover story tracks our own Aggie/CA from net newbie to published author!
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Alfie Kohn Article
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Jan Fisher Column
BCL Classroom by Kim Tracy
Read Across America
How to Excel as a Reading Specialist
Independent Learning
ADD and the Structured Environment
How Do I Manage a Class?
6 Traits of Writing
Indians for Mascots
Child Violence
The Unsinkable Sub
Visually Impaired and EC
Magic Slippers Poem
Becoming a Tech Savvy Administrator
The Killing of a Spirit
Bullying in Schools
Student Photo of Mars
Web News & Events
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Poll: Weirdest Thing?
Letters to the Editor
New in the Lesson Bank
Humor from the Classroom
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
Gazette Back Issues
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© John P. Wood for Learning Laffs  


10. The little class that could, but decided they would rather not

 9. Thank God for Special Ed!

 8. Class with the oldest average ages

 7. Trade school here we come!!!

 6. grade 13??

 5. Not smart but never absent

 4. Brought to you by the fine makers of Ritalin

 3. Accused but never convicted

 2. Social security at WHAT age?

 1. Now what???????

by Goose/TX (

Last week during my science class while we were building geodesic shapes, I noticed that one of my students was feverishly attempting to finish homework for another class. Upon asking her what type of assignment she was working on, another student explained that all of the students in their social studies classes were required to define 30 vocabulary words.

I suggested that possibly I should also give them vocabulary words to define. Immediately, the students alarmingly expressed their protests to such an assignment. I then explained that they would be required to incorrectly use several science words in incomplete sentences. After a short silence, one of the students asked how he could possibly learn anything from such an assignment. In reply, another student suggested, "Learn from your mistakes."

"Exactly," I agreed. I then explained that Albert Einstein stated he had successfully discovered hundreds of incorrect ways to build a light bulb before he actually succeeded. Considering this situation, I proposed that if a person does indeed learn from his mistakes, then possibly, the more mistakes a person makes, the more he learns. To further demonstrate this line of reasoning, I proposed that everybody in class should incorrectly build a geodesic shape and attempt to explain what was incorrect about the shape. "However," I proposed, "if you originally intended to build a shape incorrectly, and succeeded in incorrectly building the shape, then you would have the correct results because you would have successfully accomplished what you intended to."

Next, I suggested the following scenario. Suppose I were to assign my students the challenge of finding the density of a marble. The students who turned in their results first with the correct answers would have not learned much, because obviously, they already understood the process of finding the density of the object. The students who,after attempting various incorrect methods, finally arrived at the correct solution would have learned the most because they discovered more incorrect methods of attempting to arrive at the correct results. Therefore, the students who eventually found the correct answer after several incorrect attempts should receive a higher grade than the students who found the correct results on their first attempt. This was too overwhelming for my students, and we discontinued the discussion. However, I continued to contemplate the situation relative to my experiences while attending school as a student.

If my teachers had adopted this policy, I'm sure that I would have been an honor student in algebra. I probably discovered more incorrect methods to work an algebra problem than most of the students in my class. Therefore in my opinion, I learned more than any of the students in my algebra class.

Unfortunately, I doubt that my theory of incorrectness will ever gain significant creditability due to the state of Florida. Their blatant demonstration of incorrectly attempting to count incorrectly marked ballots probably destroyed any creditability I could have conjured up for my new educational proposal.

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© John P. Wood for Learning Laffs