We read the book, MoMA Make Art Mistakes: An Inspired Sketchbook for Everyone. The students sat on our new tiger striped rug. They each had a white board and marker. We explored a few of the activities in the book. At first they wanted to know how to draw what the activity was asking them to draw, i.e., "take a dot for a walk" - making a line. (Some had a dot and then a line squiggling out from it. A few drew a dot, then a lasso around the dot and a little stick figure holding the other end of the lasso, literally taking a dot for a walk. So fun!) I refused to give them any direction aside from repeating the sentence from the book.
The really amazing part of using this awesome book, is that the students really incorporated the lesson of making mistakes into their art all year. When a new student joined us and made a big deal out of a mistake, the students who had the make mistakes lesson would tell them about the lesson and show them the book, which was kept on the easel all year. It was really cute to hear students who used to make such a big deal out of a mistake teaching others that it is OK to make mistakes.
We also read The Dot (1-2 grade)
and Ish (3-4 grade)
then continued the discussion of making mistakes and just doing our personal best. It's OK if we're not as good as the professionals. And, in fact, some of the professionals even look to children's art as inspiration for their own art!