K1 Activity 3 – My Beautiful Ooops (Can Become A Yay!)


“Learning from our mistakes” can be a sensitive topic with students but when it is presented in a song, students can feel the positive intention to celebrate life with all the “ooops” (mistakes and weaknesses) and “yays” (successes and strengths) that it comes with.

The title of the song speaks to students in their language. They all know the words “ooops” and “yay.” One can be viewed as a mistake and the other as a solution or celebration. Through his thoughtfully playful lyrics, Uncle Jim helps students recognize that they might make a mistake, but they can also apologize, do something to solve it, or turn it into a work of art!

The Ooops And Yays song also celebrates friendship by encouraging students to celebrate differences, to help one another, and to extend forgiveness to others when things don’t go as planned. For example, even if someone knocks over the block tower we’ve built, we can still be friends! It reminds students that these ups and downs of life are normal and that they are always an opportunity to learn.


Students use the Ooops And Yays song as inspiration to learn how to turn an art mistake into a beautiful creation.

Principle Overview

Look around and you will notice friends and family who are really good at some things and not so good at others. While adults might grasp this as something normal, students often don’t and can perceive their own strengths and weaknesses in distorted ways. When we demonstrate our own strengths and weaknesses, we help students come to terms with their own, and help dispel the illusion that any of us are better, worse, more, or less worthy than others.


  • Ooops And Yays song
  • Ooops And Yays lyrics
  • Drawing paper, watercolors or tempera paint thinned with water
  • Brushes and/or straws
  • “Beautiful Oops” by Barney Saltzberg, “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds, or “It Looked Like Spilled Milk” by Charles Shaw (If available)

Goals and Objectives:

  • Recognize that mistakes are part of learning.
  • See the potential in a mistake to create something beautiful.
  • Demonstrate that we can help each other.
Knowing about strengths and weaknesses in ourselves and others helps us grow, learn, and work together. The Me Too! Oh, Wait! Not Me! skill builder helps students gain an understanding of their individual strengths and weaknesses and the diversity of those in their class. They also think about how to encourage their peers to use their strengths and keep trying when they struggle with a weakness.

  • Have students extend the conversation about changing an “ooops” into a “yay” by discussing how this applies to other mistakes they have made.
  • Ask students to identify ways they could help a friend turn an “ooops” into a “yay.”
Skill Builder
Use these visual resources to enhance the student experience in this unit.

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Activity Steps

  • Connector.

    Begin the activity by playing the recording of the Ooops And Yays song. Encourage students to join in the “ooops” and “yays” as they listen and even sing along. Invite them to create a motion for “ooops” (such as a shoulder shrug) and another for “yay” (such as thumbs up).

  • Connector.

    Ask: Did you have an “ooops” today? How can you turn it into a “yay?”

  • Connector.

    If available, read one of the books listed in the materials section to inspire the conversation and activity.

  • Connector.

    Talk about some other kinds of “ooops” that might happen, such as spilling juice or paints, or writing a letter backwards. Demonstrate this by dropping some paint on a piece of paper as you say “ooops!” Ask:

    How can I turn my “ooops” into a “yay?”

    Invite students to look at the glob of paint and see what it can become.

    Demonstrate their ideas by creating something with the glob!

  • Connector.

    Now it is time to try it in an art project. Pass out paper, paints, and brushes. Invite students to make a big “ooops” on their paper by dropping a glob of paint. Ask:

    What does it look like?
    What can it become?

  • Connector.

    Invite students to use brushes or straws to turn their “ooops” into “yays.” They can either paint with the brush or blow air through the straw to move the glob of paint into something beautiful.

  • Connector.

    If there is time (or on another day), you can expand the activity to work together. Explain that now they are going to help each other turn an “ooops” into a “yay.” Ask students to add a fresh glob of paint on a new piece of paper. Have them pass their paper to someone next to them. Encourage students to use brushes or straws to create something beautiful out of their friend’s “ooops.”

  • Connector.

    Celebrate the “yays” by passing the picture back to the original child. Ask:

    What did it become?
    Can you give it a title?

  • Connector.

    After the activity, encourage students to reflect on the growth mindset process. Ask:

    How did it feel to turn something that might look like a mistake into a success?
    What did you have to do to keep going?

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