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Using ideas from the book Beautiful Oops giving children challenges to develop resiliency and creativity.

Marvellous Mistakes

Armthorpe, United Kingdom
How creative can you be with a single piece of paper? Very, actually. Over the course of a project between partners within Europe we gave our classes monthly tasks that involved them having to create something from a piece of paper that had a mistake on it (one month it was torn, the next there was a coffee stain, one had a hole etc). The children weren't guided so had to challenge themselves.

Marvellous Mistakes

“I found this hard because I was stuck with what to do and didn't get any ideas from anyone which made me feel strange and unusual because I had to be creative myself.”

Seth, Student

During an international project we used the pages from the fantastic book Beautiful Oops to give children a series of challenges that made them have to indecently overcome them. 

This all involved a sheet of paper at a time which to begin with really confused and perplexed the children because the tasks were so simple and open and actually therefore required the children to think differently because there was no guidance.

Here is an example: the children were given a sheet of paper with  rip in it. They were then asked to turn it into something. Nothing else was said and the book hadn't been shared yet. The children sat unsure of what to do due to the openness of the challenge and fear that they were going to be doing something wrong even though there was no wrong answer. After creating their first effort, these were shared in class as well as partners online. The children swapped stories of how nervous and uncertain they had been due to that fear of being wrong.

Over the series of tasks the children learnt to believe in their ability and to have the resiliency to transform the mistakes into something meaningful to them. They recognised that by using different strategies and seeing the mistakes differently, each student could transform the piece of paper with an error into something meaningful - that the mistake could be overcome.

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Innovation Overview
1 - 18
Age Group
1 728
Focus areas
Growth mindset
Tips for implementation
Beautiful Oops book Plain pieces of paper
Contact information
Paddy Carroll

Achievements & Awards


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