www.chickmoorman.com -- www.thomashaller.com July 7, 2005
The Response-Able Educator Newsletter #43

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.

1. Quote

"You may be the best banana split ever, but there will always be someone who doesn't like bananna splits."

Kay Tomsich

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 Naperville, IL:

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 minds.

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 gold paper.

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).

Preview Books

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 disruptive.

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 Book

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 staff.

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 inmates.

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 motivation?

G.) If you are at a summer conference or credit course and someone offers you a breath mint, it's wise to take it.

8. Humor

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 lovelac3@hotmail.com.

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 lovelac3@hotmail.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 hmcfadden@gretchenhouse.com.

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.

Other Dates

Chick Moorman

Contact Chick at 1-877-360-1477 or email him at ipp57@aol.com.

Chick's Website

Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at 1-989-667-5654 or email him at thomas@thomashaller.com.

Thomas' Website

Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit

Preview Book

Copyright 2005 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.

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