CLASSROOM – Be Someone Else

National Day Calendar Classroom - August - 2021-2022 - Week 1 - Be Someone
(Last Updated On: November 9, 2022)

CLASSROOM – Be Someone Else

Oops! That’s supposed to read “Blame Someone Else,” not “Be Someone Else.” The Classroom is exploring the differences between blaming others for our mistakes and taking ownership of them.

When I created the image, I admit I misread the day on the calendar. I thought it said, “Be Someone Else Day,” and planned to develop projects exploring other cultures, eras, and historical figures. When I realized my mistake, I thought I would have to start over. I shared it with a co-worker and said, “Look what I did. Silly me!” She pointed out the opportunity, and here we are! While my mistake is generally minor, it could have made more work for me. Instead, by owning my mistake, someone else helped me find an opportunity in it.

Lots of mistakes throughout history have turned into something valuable. Those inventors, scientists, and great thinkers may have tried to blame machinery, someone else, or their circumstances. Some may have even walked away without considering the possibilities. But they didn’t! They turned their mistakes into something many of us benefit from every day.

Examples of Mistaken Inventions

Alexander Fleming – While searching for a cure for diseases, he discovered penicillin from experiments he had thrown away – his mistakes. When the Petri dishes became contaminated, they began to grow a mold, a mold that battles bacteria! Fleming took his mistake and turned it into something powerful.

Ruth Wakefield – The American baker ran out of the baker’s chocolate she needed for a chocolate cookie recipe. She either forgot to add it to her shopping list or didn’t realize she was out before baking. However, her mistake in planning turned into a new recipe. She added bits of sweetened chocolate to the dough, thinking it would melt and mix in a lot like the baker’s chocolate. It didn’t. Oops! Another mistake. However, she didn’t throw the cookies out. She realized her mistake was actually an opportunity! Her cookies with bits of chocolate in them became known as Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Constantine Fahlberg – Sometimes, forgetting to wash your hands can be a good thing, but not really. Wash your hands! But that’s precisely what Fahlberg did while working as a researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Because he forgot to wash his hands, a small amount of a chemical made its way onto his lunch. When he realized it was sweet, he discovered the artificial sweetener called saccharin.

Patsy Sherman – While the chemist worked in a lab for 3M, she dropped a mixture she was working with on her shoe. She wiped it off and went about her work. However, over time, her shoe became dirty – well, not all of her shoes. The part where the spill was remained clean. Her mistake in dropping the mixture weeks before led to the creation of Scotchguard.

HOW TO OBSERVE in the CLASSROOM – Be Someone Else

Download and print this week’s projects. We offer two this week. You can also follow the suggestions below to help your students explore the days in their own way. It might surprise you what they discover! We’re often surprised by our own discoveries!

Celebrate Every Day in the Classroom by:

1. Asking a question about the day or observance and finding the answer.
2. Exploring the subject further. Whether you read a book, interview an expert, watch a documentary, or run an experiment, there is always more to learn about the observance.
3. Writing about the day or observance. You can write about what you learned or what the day means to you.
4. Telling someone about the day. You might be sharing information that is helpful to someone. Or, you might brighten someone’s day.
5. Solving a problem. Many observances discuss issues around the world that need fixing. How would you fix it?
6. Being creative. Draw, paint, build, design, bake, create your idea of what the observance means.

Of course, as always, sharing on social media isn’t required; learning is. But if you do, please use #NDCClassroom to share on social media.


Download and print this week’s projects. Discuss how playing the blame game may make our mistakes more problematic.

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