When a company sets out to make unique eyeshadow colors with names like “Girl on Fire” from the Hunger Games collection, there are bound to be some flops. Some sixes when the goal was tens. My daughter informed me that these are called derps–foolish mistakes. Instead of tossing the derps, one company, Shiro Cosmetics, offers them up to the public.Shiro Cosmetics Flirtatious Failures

Derps are incredibly valuable. When working with adult learners I find our conversations focused on “what it is not” are just as thought provoking as “what it is.” For example, independent reading time during workshop is not SSR (sustained silent reading) and guided reading is not popcorn reading in a small group. These distinctions are important to building a common language among colleagues.

Some time has passed since I did this podcast with Katherine Casey but it’s got me thinking again about how I can share derps more often with teachers to deepen our learning. Katherine facilitated my first training as a coach and I read her book, Literacy Coaching: The Essentials every year that I work with a new coach. She’s got smart advice about using derps to our advantage.

Heather’s Podcast With Katherine Casey


How do you use derps in your work?

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