Educator Newsletter #96

March 6, 2011

Welcome! This is a free educator newsletter offered to you by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller.

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: Ignoring Distractions
5.  Just Asking

1. Quote

"America believes in education: the average teacher earns more money in a year than a professional athlete, business executive, lawyer, or radio talk show host earns in a whole week."

2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

How would it change your day if your role was to elicit questions rather than ask them?
Get a full year of SW Contemplations free when you order the Spirit Whisperers book.


3. Bumper Sticker

Spotted on a green Blue Ford Explorer in Natick, MA: 
Teachers Make Other
Professions Possible.

4. Article: Ignoring Distractions

By Chick Moorman
Charlie was clearly an unforgettable workshop participant. He was one of eighty educators from a K-12 public school system in central Pennsylvania. (Names and places have been altered for obvious reasons.) He, like all the teachers on the day I met him, was required to be present as part of the district's annual staff development day.
Charlie didn't care much for staff development and made no effort to conceal his feelings. He sat in the middle of the group the day I was presenting and went about his own agenda as I endeavored to cover mine: Teaching for Respect and Responsibility. This disgruntled teacher sat reading the newspaper as I presented material designed to help teachers teach students how to be responsible and respectful. When I say "reading the newspaper" I do not mean he was reading the newspaper with it folded on his lap in an attempt to hide his disinterest. Oh, no. Charlie held the paper upright and wide open so I could read the front page headlines. His behavior was a clear message to meeting planners and everyone present that while he had to be there, he didn't have to like it or participate in any way.
Recognizing him as a potential distraction, I quickly removed my focus from Charlie and gave him little attention. I concentrated instead on the participants who were sending me enthusiastic energy and mirrored that positive attitude back to them. Those teachers were actively filling in their packets, taking notes, and interacting with a partner upon request. Charlie mostly just sat there, oblivious to the activity around him.
At the morning break, meeting planners rushed up and apologized to me for Charlie's behavior. They cautioned me not to take it personally and explained that he chooses the same behavior during every staff development program. He had been written up, reprimanded, and pleaded with. Yet, Charlie remained unmoved. At my workshop he refused to work with a partner, seldom wrote anything down, and put in his time without causing a major incident.
During the course of this seminar I told teachers, "If you want a behavior, you have to teach that behavior." I stressed the importance of giving students an opportunity to practice the behavior and then shared ways to debrief it following the practice. I gave examples of teaching, practicing, and debriefing behaviors that included respecting the guest speaker, getting started quickly, disagreeing politely, and inviting others to participate.
One skill I decided to include at the last minute was ignoring distractions. I suggested they teach students to:
  1. Recognize the distraction.
  2. Call it by name.
  3. Make a decision not to be distracted.
  4. Refocus on the task at hand.
The day was filled with practical, skill-oriented techniques that teachers would be able to implement immediately. Lecture-bursts, practice, and questions and answers helped participants learn how to Teach for Respect and Responsibility.
Near the end of the workshop I reminded participants that I would be returning a month later for a follow-up session. I informed them that the first order of business on that day would be to get in groups and share what had been implemented and how students responded. The full-day seminar ended without any significant change in Charlie's behavior. He did, however, fill out the final evaluation form, giving me an average rating which I chose to see as a compliment.
Five weeks later I returned to this same school to do a follow-up day of training. As promised, I put participants in groups. To my surprise, Charlie joined a group and seemed to be participating in the discussion focused on implementation efforts and their results. After sufficient discussion time had elapsed, I asked for groups to report to the entire group what they had discussed.
Charlie stood up with his hand in the air. It appeared to me he was signaling to me first. I called on him, took a deep breath, and waited with uncertainty as he began to speak.
"Everyone in here knows me," he began. "They know I have no use for staff development and think it's a waste of time. But something happened this week that I want to talk about. I'm the boys' basketball coach. I have never had a losing record. We have a great program. We finish near the top of our conference every year.
"Our arch rival is the school across the river. Our first goal is to beat them. Twice. Home and away. We have better facilities than they do. We have better athletes than they do. We have better coaching than they do." (This comment drew a laugh from the attentive staff members.)
"Last Friday after you left they came across the river and beat us on our home court. They beat us by one point. That cannot happen. It hasn’t happened in six years. There is no way we should lose to them."
All eyes of everyone present were glued on Charlie as he continued. "Our rivals had a player who was extremely cocky. He was in the face of many of my players, taunting them, egging them on. His behavior was very close to being over the line as poor sportsmanship. If fact, on several occasions I think it was over the line."
"My players set out to show him up. They retaliated by talking back to him and getting in his face. My best player took a swing at him and was ejected. My top scorer fouled out trying repeatedly to take the ball away from him. My players lost their composure and lost the game."
"I spent the entire weekend thinking about that game and what had happened. Sometime on Monday it occurred to me that this cocky kid was a major distraction to my players. Then I remembered your workshop. I thought I remembered you saying something about ignoring distractions. I went to my desk to look for the packet you passed out. To my surprise I had left it on my desk. I usually throw those things out." (More laughter.)
"I found the page on ignoring distractions and discovered that was one of the few things I had written down that day. I reviewed the material and decided to teach my team how to ignore distractions. At practice that afternoon I designated one player as the distracter. I made him wear a red jersey and asked him to do all the things he had seen the distracter do during the game."
"I taught my team to:
  1. Recognize the distraction.
  2. Call it by the name 'Mr. Distracter.'
  3. Make a decision not to be distracted.
  4. Refocus on what they were doing."
"On defense they were instructed to say to themselves, 'There he is, Mr. Distracter. I choose not to be distracted.' They were to refocus on playing defense by repeating the mantra, 'Move your feet. Move your feet. Move your feet,' which we preach all the time on defense anyway."
"On offense they were instructed to say to themselves, 'There he is, Mr. Distracter. I choose not to be distracted.' They were to refocus on playing offense by thinking, 'Pass and cut, pass and cut, pass and cut.' Or 'Move without the ball, move without the ball.'"
"I also told them if they chose to be distracted by Mr. Distracter they were choosing to have a good seat for the game, the one next to me on the bench. We practiced dealing with this distraction all week."
"The following Friday night we bussed across the river and played the same team on their home court. Not one of my players was distracted by this player who again gave his best effort to get my players unglued. They stayed focused and concentrated on the task at hand. If fact, Mr. Distracter got so distracted and flustered that he fouled out of the game. We won by thirty-one points."
Charlie wasn't finished. "I want all you teachers to listen up to this guy because this is good stuff. These skills helped my basketball players win a game. But more importantly these are skills they can use to win in life. These are life skills and are what education is really all about. I like knowing I can teach my student athletes skills they can use off as well as on the court."
Charlie sat down. As he did, his colleagues rose in unison and gave him a standing ovation.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the coauthors 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. Just Asking

  1. Do you know how basing teachers' pay on test scores will affect their performance?
  2. Wouldn't that be a good idea before you jump into it with both feet?
  3. Where is your research?
  4. Do you know how teacher morale will be affected?
  5. What about the recruitment of teachers? What will merit pay do to that?
  6. What will your plan do to the ways teachers collaborate? Have you given that any thought?
  7. What data lead you to believe that it is the poor teachers that will leave?
  8. Do you have any idea how many teachers will leave the profession?
  9. Does it matter to you who leaves, or are you just happy to replace veteran teachers with new teachers who cost less?
  10. What price tag is attached to the new tests it will take to implement this plan? Where will that money come from? What do you intend to eliminate to pay for them?
  11. Will the new tests take into account factors that are beyond a teacher's control? Have you articulated what those factors are and made them known to the public?
  12. To what degree will your plan encourage teachers to teach to the test? Is that your intention, and if so, why?
  13. When teacher excellence is measured on a narrow range of what it means to be effective, what do you want them to leave out? What are they doing now that you want them to eliminate?
  14. Are you asking these questions before you put forth your answer? If so, what did you find out?
  15. How interested are you in finding answers to these questions? Or do you already have your answer?

Chick Moorman

Contact Chick at:
1-877-360-1477 (toll-free)


Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at:



Copyright 2011 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.


An Extraordinary Opportunity
The Parent Talk System Training of Trainers
  • Make a real difference in the lives of parents and children.
  • Get parents and teachers on the same page using the same effective verbal skills.
June 13 - 15, 2011, Sedona, AZ
Keep Sedona Beautiful
360 Brewer Road
Sedona, AZ  86336
July 27 - 29, 2011, Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor Regent Hotel and Suites
2455 Carpenter Road
Ann Arbor, MI  48108

Workshop of the Month
Noticing an increase in aggression, anger or violence at your school? If so, consider the following seminar by Thomas Haller.
The angry and aggressive behavior of one student affects the learning potential of all. Teachers, regardless of level of training, are expected to know how to manage students' aggression and reduce angry impulses in order to foster a positive learning environment. Not all staff have the skills or the expertise to do that.
That's where Thomas Haller's exciting workshop is of benefit. Thomas has been working closely with educators, administrators, parents and children for over twenty years providing practical, easy-to-implement strategies for managing anger and transforming aggression. Now there is a workshop that takes what he has learned and places it in the hands of the people on the front lines so they can put it to use immediately.
This seminar focuses on three areas: Prevention, Intervention and Restitution. You and your staff will come away from this meaningful seminar day with an array of practical, usable techniques for reducing power struggles, establishing accountability, and creating an environment that promotes learning. In addition, you will receive a resource handbook packed with charts, diagrams, activities and questions that are designed to help teachers, administrators and school personnel understand anger, the types of aggression, and the keys to transforming aggression into healthy self-esteem and assertiveness.
Do you want to develop the essential skills needed to work with angry, aggressive and impulsive students? Would it be helpful to know what part of the brain an aggressive student is using and learn helpful strategies to move him/her quickly to an area of the brain that is conducive to problem solving? Thomas Haller can help you do that as well as learn how to implement the Dynamic Discipline Equation and utilize effective verbal skills for behavior management in the classroom.
Call today to set up this important workshop for your staff. Free parent program included. Contact Thomas at 989-686-5356 or e-mail
A Blast from the Past
Want to help your students connect?
Check out this article from the Educator Newsletter published in 2004.
I Can Connect
by Cheryl Cook

Product of the Month
Teacher Talk: What It Really Means

by Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber

Paperback book, 138 pages ($15.00)
Teacher Talk explores the way teachers talk to children and exposes the underlying "silent messages" that accompany their spoken words. It details teachers' talk—the comments, questions, commands, and suggestions that teachers direct at students every day—and reveals ways to strengthen typical language patterns. By selecting words and phrases intentionally, you can empower your students and enhance their learning. These verbal skill strategies can be used to dramatically increase achievement and manage behavior. This book will increase your communication skills and add fun and adventure to the important challenge of teaching.

Back Issues
Want to read some back issues of our educator newsletter? This is number ninety-two. All ninety-one of the previous newsletters can be found in the archives.

Yes, we have both begun to twitter, having sent out over 450 timely tweets already. 
Thomas Haller is now on Twitter. Follow what he is thinking about the important role of parenting in today's world. Join him as he tweets his thoughts, ideas, suggestions and helpful hints about the sacred role of parenting. 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? Go to: 
Both Thomas B. Haller and Chick Moorman have joined Facebook. We would both 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 recognize how we know you.

March 7 - Bay City, MI.
Creating a Bully Free Environment: Essential Tools for Busy Parents presented by Thomas Haller, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm. Wirt Library on Center Road, Downtown Bay City.
March 9 - Midland, MI.
Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound presented by Chick Moorman, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Midland Public Schools, Central MS. Contact Shannon Blasy at 989-923-5582 or email
March 12 - Brighton, MI.
The 10 Commitments: Parenting With Purpose presented by Chick Moorman, 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm. Maple Tree Montessori. For information contact Sue Cherry at 810-599-3626 or email
March 14 - 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
March 14 - Waterford, MI.
The Six Best Parenting Strategies Ever presented by Thomas Haller, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Waterford School District. For more information contact Betsy at
March 15 - 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
March 16 - Newburgh, 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
March 17 - Long Island, 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
March 18 - Portland, ME.
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
March 21 - Mayville, NY.
The Six Best Parenting Strategies Ever presented by Thomas Haller, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Chautauqua Lake Central School, Auditorium. For more information contact Chris at
March 28 - Riverview, MI.
The Six Best Parenting Strategies Ever presented by Thomas Haller, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Memorial Elementary School. For more information contact Nancy at
March 29 - Royal Oak, MI.
The Six Best Parenting Strategies Ever presented by Thomas Haller, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. First Congregational Church. For more information contact Reverend Miller at


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