www.chickmoorman.com -- www.thomashaller.com
July 7, 2005
The Response-Able Educator Newsletter
Welcome! This is a free newsletter about becoming a
Response-Able educator who develops Response-Able students.
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.
"You may be the best banana split ever, but there
will always be someone who doesn't like bananna splits."
2. Bumper Sticker
Spotted on a Ford Ranger truck in Hershey, PA
4 out of every 3 people
Have trouble with fractions.
3. Spirit Whsiperer Contemplation
What if it's not possible to change the external
things that trouble you today? It is possible to change your thinking.
Change your thinking and you change your life.
4. Sign Language
A.) Observed on the back of T-shirts worn by teen
camp counselors of the Kiddie Kamp pre-school YMCA summer youth program in
Professional Role Models
Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility
B.) Seen in a middle school counselor's office:
Want to be trusted? Tell the truth.
C.) Spotted in a high school band room:
The highest fences we need to climb are those we build within our own
D.) Seen in an entryway to an elementary gym:
Exercise as if your life depended on it.
5. Article: Look Who's Special
Look Who's Special
by Chick Moorman
"Tonya helped Heidi take off her boots."
"Anthony knew his letter pictures today."
"Marcus spoke up in speech."
"Heidi shared her scissors."
These are just a sample of the comments appearing on the LOOK WHO'S
SPECIAL board in Judy Brandt's kindergarten classroom. They were suggested
by the children and recorded by Judy. They are now on display with many
others on a giant bulletin board.
The project, which is an attempt to help the young students share
positive feelings about one another, began with their teacher's
observations. Judy noticed that many of her students' verbal responses to
one another were delivered with a negative flavor. To put it another way,
the kindergartners simply tattled a lot.
Judy observed the situation, defined the problem, and set out to
effect a change. Her response was LOOK WHO'S SPECIAL, an activity designed
to help children heighten their awareness of positive behavior among
themselves and their classmates. It was one more effort on Judy's part to
provide kindergarten children with experiences at extending language usage
and verbal expression skills.
Judy kicked off the special project with a class discussion on what a
special person might be or do. The five- and six-year-olds responded with
notions that included: 1.) Someone who shares with you. 2.) Someone who
does nice things for you. 3.) Someone who helps you with something. 4.)
Someone who is doing better or improving.
The discussion of special people helped the students recognize and
articulate special contributions from classmates. That was beneficial, but
Judy wanted more. She wanted to add visibility and permanence to the
activity. That desire led to the creation of the bulletin board and a
daily sharing of positive comments.
As a result, the children now gather together at the end of each
school day for a class meeting. At this time they share verbally. They
tell nice things that have happened to them during the day. They also
share observations of nice things that have happened to others. Their
comments include observations such as:
"Jason drew his washing machine good."
"Becky helped Walter unbuckle his boots."
"Curtis shared the blocks with Marcus."
As the students share verbally, Judy plays her role as secretary. She
simply takes dictation, copying down each child's comment word-for-word.
The comments are added to the bulletin board under the name of the child
who was observed being special. Each person in the classroom has his or
her own spot on the special board marked with a self-portrait and special
Two rules govern the possible responses. No one may comment about
themselves, as all contributions must be observations of others. And all
comments must come from the children. Judy does not add her observations
to the board. Within that framework, all comments are accepted.
Not every student comments every day, and not every student has a
comment made about her every day. Judy is careful to see that everyone
does participate and that everyone is included at some time. Each day more
special things are added to the board. It evolves and grows with each
positive comment that is verbalized and recorded.
At any time in the school day children can glance at the board and see
written proof of their existence in that classroom. They can see the list
of items others have suggested about them. And they can visualize the
sprinkling of positive comments that they have shared about others.
When a child's gold paper has been filled with comments, it is removed
and a new blank sheet replaces it. The list of positive observations is
then folded in half and fastened with a gold seal. The "special" message
is then sent home to be shared with family and friends.
Because Judy found a special way to help kids notice and share
specialness, positive communication has increased in this kindergarten
classroom. Kids now say more nice things about each other. Now that's
special. And so are Spirit Whisperers like Judy Brandt.
Chick Moorman is the author of Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish
a Child's Spirit and co-author of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with
Purpose (Personal Power Press, toll-free, 877-360-1477).
6. Teacher Talk Tip
Too Much Teacher Talk
Too much teacher talk and the use of complex sentences get in the way
of the learning of many young students. A four-year study of 10,000
Australian children revealed that close to one-third of
four-to-six-year-old children find school is a sea of babble. The
unskillful teacher talk leaves them confused, uninterested, and
The study showed that children will improve both concentration and
literacy rate when teachers speak more slowly and choose shorter
sentences. Researchers found that twenty percent of the young children
studied had trouble processing sentences that contained over nine words.
In addition, nine- and ten-year-old students found sentences longer than
thirteen words challenging.
Apparently, fast-talking teachers exceed young children's ability to
process the information.
Preview Teacher Talk
7. Did You Know
A.) Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are available
to keynote your back-to-school staff development program or present one of
their highly-acclaimed full-day seminars for your building or district
Their most popular seminars are:
Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers
Transforming Aggression in Children
Teaching for Respect and Responsibility
Brain Functioning Behavior in Children
Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management
Contact them at www.thomashaller.com or www.chickmoorman.com to begin
the discussion of possible dates and topics.
August dates are filling up fast. Act now to insure a dynamic start to
your school year with Chick or Thomas.
B.) 8.7 million fourth- through twelfth-graders read below grade level
according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
C.) If you spend all your time pulling the weeds in the garden of a
child's life, you are bound to pull out flowers not yet above the ground.
D.) Research out of Lehigh University's College of Education reports
that American school children are being given less time to eat than prison
E.) There used to be pats on the back or pizza parties in an effort
to increase school attendance. When prepaid credit cards and new car
lotteries hit the scene, many called it bribery and wondered what could be
next. Apparently that answer has arrived. Lowell High School in Fort Worth,
TX, now gives seniors who maintain excellent attendance and gain acceptance
to college or the military a free $1,200 laptop computer. To avoid
sanctions under regulations of the No Child Left Behind Law, which
requires 95% attendance, school officials turned to the incentive.
F.) Has anyone thought of giving students more choices, making the
courses more engaging, and helping students move to an intrinsic style of
G.) If you are at a summer conference or credit course and someone
offers you a breath mint, it's wise to take it.
STUDENT: "I is…."
TEACHER: "No, Mary. Always say 'I am…'"
STUDENT: "All right. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."
9. Schedule of Events
Aug. 16 - Dearborn, MI
8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Cooperative Strategies for At Risk Students,
Dearborn Academy, Dearborn, MI. For Information contact Stacey Mahe at 313-982-1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aug. 17 – Dearborn, MI
8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Creating Responsible Learners, Dearborn Academy,
Dearborn, MI. For Information contact Stacey Mahe at 313-982-1300 or email email@example.com.
Aug. 31 - Ann Arbor, MI
9:00 am - 12:00 pm, The Teacher Talk System, Gretchen House Child
Care, Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Ann Arbor, MI. For
information call Heidi McFadden at 734-761-2576 or email
Sept. 15 & 16 – Traverse City, MI
9:00 am - 3:00 pm (Sept. 15th), 9:00 am - 11:00 am (Sept. 16th), The
Verbal Response System, Eaton County Juvenile Justice Association, Shanty
Creek Resort, Traverse City, MI.
Contact Chick at 1-877-360-1477 or email him at
Contact Thomas at 1-989-667-5654 or email him at
Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's
Copyright 2005 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas
Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your