www.chickmoorman.com -- www.thomashaller.com November 18, 2005
The Response-Able Educator Newsletter #47

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. Bumper Sticker
3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
4. Teacher Talk Tip
5. Article: Skywalker Sprouts, Inc.
6. Did You Know?
7. The 6+1 Literacy Packet
8. We Get E-mail
9. Schedule of Events

1. Quote

"You believe that if you had more time, you would have more peace. But it's the other way around: If you had more peace, you would have more time. Creating more time is not logistical, but attitudinal." - Alan Cohen

2. Bumper Sticker

Spotted on a grey Plymouth Valiant in Cincinnati, OH:

Math Problems?
Call 1-800 n[a^3e(sin(x)+2.6cos(y)]/dx

3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

Will you concentrate on giving or getting today? Why not make that choice with intentionality and put it into practice in this present moment?

4. Teacher Talk Tip

I stood on the rail watching the horses go around during the first few classes of the Michigan Arabian Horse Fall Classic. Later that day, I would ride my gelding in my first-ever Class A show. I had been to smaller shows, with less competition. But this was different. This was an A show and I could feel the butterflies beginning to dance and flutter in my stomach. My instructor's fifth-grade daughter stood on the rail with me watching as skilled riders put their horses through their paces. I turned to her and confessed, "I'm getting nervous. I'm going to be out there right after the lunch break and I can feel it in my stomach. No doubt about it. I'm feeling nervous."

Brittany, the eleven-year-old, turned to me and said, "Why don't you just call it 'excited' instead of 'nervous' Maybe that would help."

I guess Brittany didn't know I teach people about the importance of language. I guess no one told her I have written over 1,000 pages about how critical our words are. Good thing, too, because if she had known she was talking to a self-proclaimed verbal skills expert, she might have held her tongue and I would have been denied a valuable lesson. I would have missed an incredible reminder about the importance of the words we choose to use to describe feelings, events, and situations that present themselves in our lives.

I believe it makes a difference whether we call it "a field trip" or "an educational exploration." It matters if we name it "detention" or "the responsibility room." Our perception changes if we describe it as "a mistake" or "an opportunity for learning."

Thank you, Brittany, for the lesson. I choose to think of it as a learning experience.


5. Article: Skywalker Sprouts, Inc.

By Chick Moorman

Pretest on why you would want to begin growing sprouts in your classroom.

* To increase students' knowledge concerning nutrition.

* To provide an opportunity for students from an urban setting to produce some of their own food.

* To demonstrate to children that food need not be sugary or starchy to taste delicious.

* To increase students' skill in telling time, computing, and determining coin value.

* To provide students with a successful experience of operating a business.

* To build group pride and a feeling of connectedness.

*To allow learning to take place in context rather than isolated from real life.

* To provide a structured environment under which children can increase awareness of division of labor, assembly line, sanitation, and supply and demand.

*All of the above.

Skywalker Sprouts, Inc., is a business. It is owned and operated by 25 second-graders and their teacher, Sally Rutherford (not her real name), at an elementary school in a metropolitan area in Michigan.

The sprout business germinated in Sally's mind during the summer. "I've always shied away from organizing a business in the classroom," she told me, "because I felt I couldn't make the time commitment. We are under so much pressure to raise the test scores that anything fun, interesting, or demanding a degree of internal motivation is frowned upon by the administration." But Sally raised sprouts for her family during the summer and enjoyed the experience. "I came to see sprouts as an easy process," she says, "and it creates a nice product. And I am a professional educator. I know I have to get these students involved if learning is going to stick for any length of time beyond the testing period."

The simplicity of the project was tempting, but would the students enjoy sprouts? Sally decided to check it out. During one of her traditional afternoon fruit breaks, she substituted sprouts for the fruit. The children enjoyed them and Skywalker Sprouts moved closer to existence.

With the students' taste and interest tested, Sally moved ahead with her plan. A shopping committee was given the task of purchasing supplies. Alfalfa seeds, bought at a local health food store, cost $2.19 a pound. Gallon jars and baggies required an additional expenditure. Sally supplied the front money and the business continued to grow.

A typical sprout harvest lasts one week. Sally begins by soaking the seeds at home on Saturday night. On Monday, she transports the swollen seeds to school, where they are put in gallon jars. Cheesecloth is then placed over the jar openings and secured. Students thoroughly rinse the seeds and spread them around three or four times a day. On the second day, roots appear. Leaves sprout on the third or fourth day. On Thursday, the sprouts are placed under a light source so they will green up.

On Friday the sprouts are readied for marketing. Students bag them in three-ounce portions. In assembly line fashion, the seven- and eight-year-olds weigh, bag, staple, and box the sprouts. Orders which were taken on Monday are then filled. Money is collected, counted, and banked.

Initial selling was limited to parents of Skywalker students. Two one-gallon jars were necessary to fill the demand. More recent selling has involved the entire school. Now five one-gallon jars are in operation.

Students rotate jobs every three weeks. Applicants must fill out a form indicating their preferred job, experience, and reasons for applying. Jobs include label maker, cashier, bookkeeper, rinser, cleanup, packager, delivery person, and advertiser. Everyone participates each week.

So far, the project has been a success. Parents report using and enjoying the sprouts. Children have been observed choosing sprouts over candy during school parties. The class has developed a heightened sense of group pride and togetherness.

As with any business, problems and frustrations exist. What do you do with excess crop if all the sprouts are not sold? How do you handle crop failure? How do you explain to prepaid customers you can't fill their orders because of a broken jar?

Yet, problems breed opportunity. When problems arise, students get to experience the solution-seeking process first hand. They have real opportunities to practice problem solving and overcoming adversity. They get to practice planning, cooperating, and working together to reach a common goal.

A booklet on sprouts was produced by Skywalker for distribution to first-time customers. It details some basic facts about sprouts, lists recipes, and describes the sprout-growing process. On page four of that booklet, one second-grader wrote, "You soak them in jars. And you rinse them many times a day until Friday. Then you sell them."

Pretest answer:

* All of the above.

Chick Moorman is the author of Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish A Child's Spirit, and Parent Talk: How To Talk To Your Child In Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility. He, along with his partner, Thomas Haller, are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. To obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your staff development or parenting needs, visit their websites today: www.chickmoorman.com and www.thomashaller.com.


6. Did You Know?

A.    According to a study released by the Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University and the Great Lakes Center for Educational Research and Practice, the pressure associated with high-stakes testing has no real impact on student achievement. The testing has served to increase the number of students repeating a grade and those dropping out of school before graduation. It seems as though students do not profit from the standardized test craze. Enrichment has occurred for some people connected to the testing industry, however. Testing companies, expensive consultants, and political champions of the failed cause have benefited from the tens of millions of dollars that could have been spent on school improvement.

B.     Girls have passed boys on state and national tests. In addition, they require less special attention and are more likely to stay in school and graduate. A U.S. Department of Education study reveals that boys have lost the academic edge they once held.

C.    The arts teach. According to Elliot Eisner, author of The Arts and the Creation of the Mind, there are 10 lessons the arts teach that many educators and much of the general public are not aware of.

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.

 2. The arts teach children that problems have more than one solution.

 3. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.

 4. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know.

5. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving, purposes are seldom fixed.

6.  The arts teach children to think through and within a material.

7.  The arts teach children to say what cannot be said.

8.  The arts enable us to have experiences we can have from no other source.

9. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

10. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.

D.    The definition of a circle is, "that in which a teacher goes round and round when attempting to explain geometry to students."

7. The 6+1 Literacy Packet

The Traits of Writing

Through the Eyes of a Young Author

The Traits of Writing is a captivating educational DVD featuring Reese Haller, 4th grader and author of Fred the MouseTM: The Adventures Begin. In this inspiring DVD Reese explains how he used the 6 traits of writing when creating and publishing his first book.

The 15-minute DVD is designed for teachers to use in the classroom. It can be shown in its entirety or stopped after each trait presentation for further discussion and writing exercises.

Reese's powerful presentation is accompanied by a set of 6 Fred the Mouse books for an investment of only $39.95.

Every elementary school will want a copy of Fred the Mouse and The Traits of Writing Through the Eyes of a Young Author in their library.


8. We Get E-mail

Dear Chick and Thomas,

THANK YOU !!! Your reframing of tattling has helped me immensely......I have always felt that the kids who "tattle" are responsible kids trying to help the adults in their lives to do their jobs......this is a great way to channel responsible behavior!

Jean B.


Way to go, you two! Thank you so much for addressing the issue of tattling. When we teach children not to report, we set the stage for adults not reporting rapes and other injustices. They need to have their feelings validated. Keep up your work for children.

A Florida Teacher


Chick and Thomas,

Thanks for the newsletters. I find them very useful and always interesting. I used your story "Horse Sense" for the beginning of our in-service. I read it to our staff and found it a great story to begin our year.


Carol D.
Wausaukee, WI


Dear Friends,

It is gratifying that so many of you write to share your appreciation of our work. It is certainly motivational for us and we greatly appreciate it.

It is not possible for us to respond specifically to every e-mail we get. There are simply too many for us to handle. Please be aware that both of us read every one of them and take your suggestions seriously.

Not everyone agrees with all our positions, and some of you write to share healthy skepticism. We appreciate that, too. We need all of your voices to help us learn about and grow in the important areas of raising and educating young people today. Thank you for caring and thank you for reading.

Special thanks to Marilyn Karras, who has read all 46 educator newsletters and all 46 parent newsletters we have published and has responded by e-mail to every issue. Her thoughtful and specific comments have helped us realize how people are interpreting our words.

To access the educator or parent newsletter archives, click here.


Chick and Thomas

9. Schedule of Events

Nov. 21 - Temperance, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound Presentted by Chick Moorman, Bedford P.S., High School Auditorium, Temperance, MI. For information contact Deb Ostas at 734-850-6185 or email ostasd@bedford.k12.mi.us.

Nov. 22 - West Bloomfield, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound Presented by Chick Moorman, Jewish Academy of Metropolitan Detroit, Jewish Community Center, West Bloomfield, MI. For information contact Julie Ruskin at 248-592-5263 or email jruskin@jamd.org.

Nov. 29 - Manchester, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound Presented by Chick Moorman, Manchester Public School, High School auditorium, Manchester, MI. For information contact Julie Greene at 734-428-0301 or email her at jewels3500@aol.com.

Nov. 30 - Ann Arbor, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound Presented by Chick Moorman, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Lakewood Elementary, 344 Gralake, Ann Arbor, MI. Sponsored by Lakewood Elementary, Abbot Elementary, Haisley Elementary, Wines Elementary, and Eberwhite School. For information contact Lucia Yu at 734-761-5081 or email lacy6139@aol.com.

Dec. 3 - Pontiac, MI
10:30 am - 3:00 pm, Keynote Address: "Raising Responsible, Caring, Confident Children" and concurrent sessions Presented by Chick Moorman, Michigan PTA: Parent Source, Oakland Schools, Pontiac, MI. For information contact Donna Oser at 517-485-4345.

Dec. 3 - Waterford, MI
9:15am - Keynote presentation entitled "Tomorrow's Leaders Today" Presented by Thomas Haller and his son Reese, Michigan PTSA Parent Source, Oakland ISD Waterford, MI.
Dec. 3 - Waterford, MI
10:30 am, "How to get you kids to do homework without having a nervous breakdown yourself" Presented by Thomas Haller, Michigan PTSA Parent Source, Oakland ISD Waterford, MI.

Dec. 3 - Waterford, MI
11:45 am, Winning the Whining Wars Presented by Thomas Haller, Michigan PTSA Parent Source, Oakland ISD Waterford, MI.

Dec. 6 - Flint, MI
11:30 am - 2:30 pm, Transforming Aggression in Children Presented by Thomas Haller, Professional Development Armstrong Middle School, Flint MI.

Dec. 6 - Bloomfield, MI
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm, Teacher Talk/Behavior Management Presented by Chick Moorman, West Bloomfield, Roosevelt Elementary, West Bloomfield, MI. For information contact Steve Palmer at 248-865-6620.

Dec. 6 - Bloomfield, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Parent Talk: Words That Empower, Words That Wound Presented by Chick Moorman, West Bloomfield, Roosevelt Elementary, West Bloomfield, MI. For information contact Steve Palmer at 248-865-6620.

Dec 12 - Bay City, MI
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm, Reducing Power Struggles Presented by Thomas Haller, MacGregor Elementary, Bay City, MI.


Chick Moorman

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


Thomas Haller

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


Copyright 2005 Chick Moorman Seminars and Haller's Healing Minds, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.

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