Response-Able Educator Newsletter #88

March 31, 2010

Welcome! This is a free newsletter about becoming a Response-Able educator who develops Response-Able students.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of educators so they can in turn inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of their students.

In This Issue

1.  Quote
2.  Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
3.  Bumper Sticker
4.  Article: When Is a Sub Not a Sub?
5.  Miscellaneous Questions
6.  Staying in Touch

1. Quote

"Unlike assembly lines that discard materials that can't guarantee a predetermined uniform result, public schools don't discard any child. Children can come hungry or filthy; they can speak English or Spanish or Vietnamese, or Hmong; they can be athletic or clumsy, artistic or musical; they can be black or white, Latino, or Asian; they can be gay or straight, rich or poor, Muslim or Jewish or Christian or Hindu or atheist. They can know a lot or a little. In public schools, teachers take the students as they are, respect all as they are, and promise to teach all, as they are. It might be the plaque on the Statue of Liberty that says, 'Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free' but it's the public schools that live that message daily."
Kylene Beers, president, National Council of English

2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

What can you do today to help this student feel safe to show you more of herself than she has been willing to show so far? How can you change your behavior to encourage that?
Get a full year of SW Contemplations free when you order the Spirit Whisperers book.


3. Bumper Sticker

Spotted on a blue Ford Focus in Oklahoma City, OK:
There Is No Crying in Math Class

4. Article: When Is a Sub Not a Sub?

By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
Students who find substitute teachers replacing their real teacher for a day do not always treat them with the respect they deserve.  The appearance of a sub is often the signal for students to engage in a series of behaviors they would typically not choose if the normal classroom teacher were present. Sitting in different seats, answering to different names,  initiating power struggles, refusing to follow directions, ignoring directions, talking more and working less are just a few of the antics that some students choose in the presence of a substitute teacher.
Part of the problem can be traced to the word substitute. The prefix sub often indicates inferior, not as good as, or next best.  If you played subpar, you played below  average. A substandard  performance points to one that was below your standard.  When the advertised special is sold out, you are often offered a substitute. When a star player is injured the coach puts in a substitute. That being the case, it is not surprising that students learn to view a substitute teacher as being a level or two below their normal teacher.
That's why Laurie Tandrup, a fifth-grade teacher at Onoway Elementary School in Alberta, Canada, does not have  a substitute teacher when she is ill or goes to a professional meeting. Instead, when she is absent, the fifth graders have a GUEST teacher. And Laurie's students have been taught to treat a guest teacher like they would be expected to treat any other guest -- with respect.
Laurie believes that if you want a behavior you have to teach a behavior.  So the last time she knew in advance that she was going to be absent she prepared her nine- and ten-year-olds for the event.  Laurie began her preparations the day before she would be gone. She invited students to help brainstorm a list of what it would look like and sound like to respect the guest teacher. Students decided that respect in this case would look like following directions, sitting in your seat, working on assignments, finishing  work, and raising hands to ask and answer questions. Their list of sounds like behaviors included one person talking at a time, asking for help if needed, asking for permission to do things, and saying please and thank you. The class practiced the behaviors for a portion of the day. Debriefing followed, feedback was given and the list adjusted slightly.
Next, Laurie enlisted her students' input in planning the day. They took each subject (math, language arts, physical education, etc.) and planned what they wanted to have happen while the guest teacher was there. The lessons had to fit Laurie's criteria of being related, rigorous, and relevant. The criteria were satisfied as students decided to use computers to do research for an essay during language arts time, make corrections and skill-practice for math, and do warmup running and skill-challenges for physical education. By involving students in crafting their own day, Laurie built ownership for the design of the day. She empowered her students, creating less need for them to exercise power at the expense of the guest teacher.
Finally, this second-year teacher asked students to come up with a rubric detailing how they could tell if the day they designed turned out to be an excellent day, a good day, an average day, or a day that needed much improvement. Students, with her help, created behavioral descriptors for each level.
Laurie left a detailed note for the guest teacher to let him know what to expect.  She then designed a few debriefing questions that she would use when she returned the day after the appearance of the guest teacher. Her brief list included: 
  1. Rate on a scale of 1-10 the degree to which you respected the guest teacher. Explain your rating by telling why you chose that number.
  2. What is one thing that you did to respect the guest teacher yesterday? Why do you think that was important?
  3. What is one improvement you feel our class could make next time to show increased respect for the guest teacher?
The morning of her return to the classroom, Laurie placed the debriefing questions on the board. Students were asked to write their reactions on paper. A lively discussion followed. The processing of the previous day’s experience helped students look at their behaviors and learn from them.
All of Laurie's students helped design, create, and evaluate their day. All had an experience with assessing  their own behavior.  All had an opportunity to think critically about the behaviors they chose. All had an experience with learning how to show respect for a guest teacher.
When is a sub not a sub? When they become a guest teacher, of course.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the co-authors of Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children: Practical Strategies for Parents and Teachers to Help Children Manifest a Better World. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for educators and another for parents. To sign up for them or learn more about the seminars they offer teachers and parents, visit their websites today: and

Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children


5. Miscellaneous Questions

To elementary teachers: Whatever happened to class projects like the classroom mural of Native American tribes, the solar system, or the birds of North America?
To all: Why do we confront physical violence and allow much verbal violence to go unchecked?
To school administrators: If you have raised your test scores significantly, have you informed the parents what you eliminated so that so much effort could go into producing that result?
To science teachers: How fast would the speed of lightning be if it didn't zigzag?
To all:  If the equation Achievement Equals Potential Minus Self-Interference is valid, what are we doing to help students reduce their amount of self-interference?
To school improvement advocates: Wouldn't it make as much sense to hold yourself responsible for what teachers do in the classroom as it does to hold teachers accountable for student learning?

6. Staying in Touch

Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman have recently added new ways to stay in touch. Please consider joining their network in the following ways.
A.) The Uncommon Parenting Blog
Learn to parent like no other so your child can grow up to be like no other.
Recent posts include: 
Subscribe to the blog feed or sign up to receive it via e-mail on the right-hand side of the home page.
B.) Facebook
Both Thomas B. Haller and Chick Moorman have joined Facebook. We would each welcome an opportunity to be added to your friends list. Please send us a friend request that tells us you are an educator newsletter subscriber so we can identify how we know you. 
C.) Twitter
Yes, we have both begun to Twitter. 
Thomas Haller is now twitting. Instead of following what I am doing throughout the day, I invite you to follow what I am thinking. To join me as I tweet my thoughts, go to
Chick Moorman is now on Twitter. To sign up for timely questions, short but raging rants, bursts of inspiration, and random thoughts and observations on parenting and teaching, follow the link. Why not be the first on your block to initiate regular contact?

Chick Moorman

Contact Chick at 1-877-360-1477 or e-mail him at


Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at 989-686-5356 or e-mail him at



Copyright 2010 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.


Special Event
The Parent Talk System Training of Trainers
July 27 - 29, 2010
Lake Forest Golf Club
3110 West Ellsworth Road
Ann Arbor, MI  48103

Featured Presentation
With Thomas Haller
Students will learn . . .
  • How to accept responsibility for their actions.
  • How and why to speak with respect.
  • How to focus on a goal and strive for success.
  • How to use their thoughts and words to produce results in their lives.
  • How to take 100 percent ownership of what has shown up in their lives.
  • How to soar like an eagle and become successful in today's world.
Do your students know about the myth of the glass head?
Do they know how language can change one's level of responsibility?
Do they know what it means to turn your pencil around?
Do they know about the Statue of Responsibility?
For a detailed description on what happens at this exciting student assembly, click on the link below.
To bring this inspirational assembly to your school, contact Thomas at or call 989.686.5356.


Product of the Month

Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child’s Spirit

by Chick Moorman

Hardcover book, 220 pages ($24.95)
Do you want self-responsible learners? Do you want self-motivated students who have developed an internal standard of excellence? Do you want to help students develop an "I Can" stance toward life? Do you want to help them learn to be solution oriented and personally empowered? Do you care if your students learn about integrity, respect, honesty, sharing, acceptance, and forgiveness?
If so, Spirit Whisperers is the book for you.
Learn how to put Spirit Whisperer energy to use in your professional practice as you nurture, uplift, inspire and help your students tune into the spirit and power within.

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April 12 - Manchester, NH
Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Contact Bureau of Education & Research (BER) at 1-800-735-3503 or
April 13 - Burlington, VT
Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Contact Bureau of Education & Research (BER) at 1-800-735-3503 or
April 14 - Albany, NY
Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Contact Bureau of Education & Research (BER) at 1-800-735-3503 or
April 15 - Syracuse, NY
Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Contact Bureau of Education & Research (BER) at 1-800-735-3503 or
April 16 - Rochester, NY
Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Contact Bureau of Education & Research (BER) at 1-800-735-3503 or
April 21 - Quebec, Canada
Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Eastern Townships School. For information contact Luc Rodrigue at
April 21 - Quebec, Canada
Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound presented by Chick Moorman, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Eastern Townships School. For information contact Luc Rodrigue at
April 22 - Bay City, MI
Reclaiming Your Roles as Sex Educator: How to Talk to Children About Sex presented by Thomas Haller, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Bay Valley Hotel and Resort, Bay City, MI. Questions email Click here to view the flyer. Click here to register on-line.


Personal Power Press


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