www.chickmoorman.com --- www.thomashaller.com February 15, 2006
The Response-Able Educator Newsletter #49

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.

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. Quote
2. Questions about the Quote
3. Bumper Sticker
4. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
5. Sign of the Times
6. Article: "Sounds Like You Have a Problem."
7. Teacher Talk Tip
8. Coming Attractions
9. We Get E-mail
10. Did You Know?
11. Schedule of Events


1. Quote

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you."

Mortimer Adler


2. Questions about the Quote

National Reading Month is fast approaching. In honor of that important occasion, let's take a moment to think about reading and what Mortimer Adler says about books.

Do you believe what Adler says? Is the number of books that get through to us really more important than the number of books we read? If so, then why are there so many reading charts on the walls of schools using stars to indicate the number of books students read? Why do major corporations give free food when a certain number of books have been completed? Why do professional educators go along with corporations who entice children into their restaurants or bring food to the schools as a reward for a certain number of books finished?

Do we keep track of the number of books that get through to our students? Do we measure the ways in which those books make a difference in their lives? Do we even ask students about how and why certain books impacted them? Are we communicating to children that the real reason for reading is to grow personally, be entertained, be exposed to new ideas and concepts, and change our lives for the better? Or are we teaching them that the reason to read is to earn a pizza party?

Do we take the time to debrief books that children find meaningful, or when they finish one book do we send them hurriedly on their way to begin the next one? Is quantity more important than quality? Is consumption of vast numbers of pages more important that serious contemplation?

If we really believe that the most important number is how many books get through to students, why don't more of our behaviors reflect those beliefs?


3. Bumper Sticker

Spotted on a blue Saturn coupe in Grand Island, NE:

Alcohol and Calculus don't mix.
Never Drink and Derive!


4. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

Look today with beginner's eyes. See everything as if you were seeing it for the first time. Pretend that you and your students are new to each other. Can you create a new first impression?


5. Sign of the Times

A.) Arizona and Massachusetts are leading the way in the latest school trend of turning buses into traveling billboards. A real estate agency, a local toy store, and an ambulance service are some of the companies that paid Scottsdale Unified School District over $300,000 this year alone to put messages on the buses. Watch for this idea to expand greatly in the next few years as schools search for new revenue sources.

B.) Spotted on the wall in the gym at Dearborn Heights Montessori School: "We win when we teach what it takes to win. We lose when all we care about is winning."

C.) Seen in a high school English classroom: "If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is."


6. Article: "Sounds Like You Have a Problem."

By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

"Can I use the phone to call home?" Jeremy asked the middle-school principal one morning. "Depends on whether or not your need fits the phone criteria," Mr. Watson told him. "What do you mean 'criteria?' What is that?" Jeremy asked.

Mr. Watson simply pointed to the sign that was attached to the office phone. It read: "This phone will not be used to create a problem for someone else."

"I need to call home and have my mom bring my white shirt," Jeremy explained. "I'm in choir and we have a performance this afternoon. Mr. Olson won't let me participate unless I have a white shirt. Then I'll get a zero for the day for nonparticipation."

"Bummer. Sounds like you have a problem," Mr. Watson responded.

"Yeah, that's why I need to call my mom. I want her to bring me one."

"That would be creating a problem for your mom, and that violates our phone policy," Mr. Watson informed him with equal amounts of concern and empathy. "What do you think you can do to solve your problem?"

"There's nothing I can do. I guess I'll have to take a zero," responded the dejected sixth-grader.

"You always have more choices than you think you have," Mr. Watson told him, using one of his favorite Teacher Talk phrases.

"Can't think of any," Jeremy mumbled weakly.

"I've seen a lot of middle-schoolers forget things over the many years I've been here," Mr. Watson informed Jeremy. "Want to hear some of the choices I've seen other kids your age come up with?"

"I guess so."

"Well, I'll throw out some ideas. If you think of any, you mention them, too. Let's see how many possible solutions we can create."

"OK."

"I've seen some students check in the lost-and-found to see if there are any white shirts there. That's one possibility. One girl checked with Mrs. Ammon, the art teacher. She brings in old white shirts from time to time to use for students to cover up with so they don't get paint on their school clothes. Maybe she has one that is not too paint filled. Mrs. Conroy, the physical education teacher, gives white t-shirts away from time to time as gifts. Maybe she would loan you one."

"Or I could see if Mrs. Connors is going home for lunch today. Her son is my size and maybe she'd loan me one" Jeremy added.

"Or you could get some white paper from Mrs. Ammon and cut out a white shirt. Maybe Mr. Olson would let you stand in the back wearing a white paper shirt," offered the principal.

"Well, there are a few possibilities," summed up Mr. Watson. "One of the things I know about you, Jeremy, is that once you see choices you're always able to find one that works for you," he said as he began to launch into his often-employed one-minute problem-keeper/problem-solver lecture burst.

"We have two different kinds of students at this school, Jeremy," Mr. Watson stated. "We have problem solvers and problem keepers. Problem solvers look at all the possible solutions, pick one, and implement it. If it works, they feel empowered. If it doesn't work, they often pick another one and implement that. On occasion, problem solvers use three or four possible solutions and none of them work. But do you know what? Even if no solution is successful, the problem solvers often feel better and more powerful. That's because at least they did something. They didn't just give up. And many times one of the solutions does help them solve the problem. Then they really feel empowered."

"We also have problem keepers at this school. Problem keepers look at the possible choices and say to themselves, 'None of these will work.' They walk around feeling sorry for themselves and blame other people for the predicament they created for themselves. They hold mini-pity parties and get others to agree with them about how awful and unfair the situation is. They end up feeling like a victim and don't experience a strong sense of personal power."

"Guess who we let choose at this school whether they want to be a problem solver or a problem keeper?"

"The students?"

"That's right. We let the students pick which one they want to be. And who do you think gets to decide in this situation whether to be a problem keeper or a problem solver?"

"Me?"

"Right again. In fact, the first thing I'm going to ask you when I see you tomorrow is, 'Did you decide to be a problem keeper or a problem solver?' And I'll want to know how that choice worked for you."

"OK."

"Jeremy, I know you can handle it. I'll be at the concert this afternoon. I hope to hear your clear voice singing out with gusto. Create a great day."

"Thanks."

"You're welcome."

Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. Chick is also the author of Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit. 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 obtain more information about how Chick and Thomas can help you or your group meet your educational or parenting needs, visit their websites today: www.chickmoorman.com or www.thomashaller.com.


Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit

CLICK HERE TO PREVIEW BOOKS.


7. Teacher Talk Tip

Be cautious when praising your students. Overpraising in an effort to build self-esteem can be counter-productive. Heaping lavish praise on natural development can send a message to the student that your expectations for her were really not all that high. If your Teacher Talk is "Wow. That's unbelievable" when a student writes a decent paragraph or scores well on an exam, you communicate that you didn't believe she would do that well. Your words work against your desire to develop confidence and internal motivation.

Instead of saying, "That's unbelievable," use descriptive praise to communicate what you see. Tell her, "This is the highest score you have created this semester," or "These three examples helped me understand the point you were making." By using descriptive praise you allow the student to draw the conclusion. You leave room for her to make the evaluation. And you make sure you don't send the message that you were surprised by her accomplishment.

CLICK HERE TO PREVIEW BOOKS.


8. New Opportunities

Our first e-course is now available to all subscribers. Entitled Good Praise/Bad Praise, this three-week electronic course is written for parents and teachers who want to improve how they praise children. It is comprised of three lessons, delivered to your e-mail address at the rate of one a week. The material goes beyond what we have written about the perils of praise in Parent Talk and Spirit Whisperers and gives participants practice activities and assignments designed to transform their style of praising so that children build self-esteem and confidence as well as develop an internal standard of excellence.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

LITERACY DAY: A powerful way for your school to show its commitment to literacy.

LITERACY DAY is a full-day celebration packed with materials, presentations, instruction, and encouragement that focuses solely on reading and writing. It is a day committed to motivating teachers, parents, and students to enjoy reading and the writing process.

This exclusive offer is being extended only to those of you currently on our educator newsletter list. It is not going out to any other school personnel.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO BRING LITERACY DAY TO YOUR SCHOOL.


9. We Get E-mail

Dear Chick and Thomas,

I love receiving your newsletters. Thank you.

As an editor, I tend to notice misspellings and errors. In your Literacy Day Announcement, under the heading One Last Thing, "recieve" should be "receive". Remember "I before E except after C."

Also, I recently visited a restaurant called Caf Gratitude in San Francisco. One of the employees apparently made a mistake, and shouted out in celebration, so even the patrons could hear: "I made a mistake!" I really appreciated hearing somebody handle a mistake this way. There was no shame blame, or heaviness; at the same time the employee accepted responsibility for what he had done. How refreshing to be reminded that mistakes are okay.

Be well.

Sudha


Hello Sudha,

Thanks for the reminder about the spelling of receive and for the anecdote about mistakes. We agree that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process and can be used as data to learn and improve. If we�re not making any mistakes, maybe we're not learning anything.

Sincerely,

Chick and Thomas

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10. Did You Know?


A.) Students do better when they look away when answering a teacher's question. Teachers and parents often misinterpret "gaze aversion" and assume children do not know an answer. Therefore, they do not give them enough time to construct an answer. (From the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.)

B.) Students choosing linguistic irreverence in two Hartford, Connecticut, high schools are now subject to a fine of $103. Uttering profanity on school premises is being fined in an effort to reduce violence and the suspensions and expulsions that result from the verbal obscenities.

C.) Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management is our most often requested teachers' seminar. It is based on the verbal skills that are included in the Teacher Talk System. It is practical, engaging, and offers skills that teachers can put to use immediately to encourage the behaviors and attitudes they desire for increased learning on the part of their students.

D.) Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead.

E.) According to researcher Susan Black, democratic schools that give students a voice in classroom decisions, such as suggesting themes and topics to study, and in school policies such as homework regulations, tend to have fewer discipline problems, higher student engagement, and higher achievement. Also, listening to students by genuinely seeking and appreciating their ideas is a way to increase the chances that your school improvement plans succeed.

http://www.asbj.com/current/research.html

F.) We now have 5,179 subscribers to our educator newsletter. Please pass it on to colleagues you think might be interested in receiving it regularly.

CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW TO BRING ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION AND BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT SEMINAR TO YOUR STAFF.


11. Schedule of Events

February 20 - Alpena, MI
Day long presentation, Teacher Talk presented by Thomas Haller, Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona area-wide in-service day, Alpena, MI.

February 20 - Alpena, MI
Day long presentation, Teacher Talk presented by Thomas Haller, Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona area-wide in-service day, Alpena, MI.

February 20 - Alpena, MI
6:30pm - 8:30pm, Parent Talk: Words that Empower, Words that Wound presented by Thomas Haller, Alpena Country Library, Alpena, MI

February 21 - Bay City, MI
6:30pm - 8:30pm, Week 1 of 10 Commitments 4 week study course presented by Thomas Haller. Offered through the Bay City Public Schools Parent Involvement and Education Grant. Location to be announced. To register please contact Sue Murphy at (989)671-8180 or murphys@bcschools.net (Class continues on Feb. 28, March 7, 14)

February 28 - Bay City, MI
6:30pm - 8:30pm Week 2 of 10 Commitments 4 week study course presented by Thomas Haller. Offered through the Bay City Public Schools Parent Involvement and Education Grant. Location to be announced. To register please contact Sue Murphy at (989)671-8180 or murphys@bcschools.net

March 6 - Bay City, MI
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Winning the Whining Wars presented by Thomas Haller. Offered through the Bay City Public Schools Parent Involvement and Education Grant. Location to be announced. To register please contact Sue Murphy at (989)671-8180 or murphys@bcschools.net

March 7 - Bay City, MI
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Week 3 of 10 Commitments 4 week study course presented by Thomas Haller. Offered through the Bay City Public Schools Parent Involvement and Education Grant. Location to be announced. To register please contact Sue Murphy at (989)671-8180 or murphys@bcschools.net

March 9 - Keene, NH
10:05 am - 11:00 am, Radio Interview with Chick Moorman, Family Focus International Parenting Commitment Day. WKBK AM - 1290, Keene, NH.

March 11 - Walled Lake, MI
11:25 am - 1:45 pm, Creating a Culture of Accountability in the Family presented by Thomas Haller, Walled Lake Schools Parent Education Fair, Walled Lake Central High School, Walled Lake MI. For more information contact Alec Bender (248) 956-4200.

March 11 - Walled Lake, MI
1:45 pm - 2:55 pm, The Five Voices of Effective Parenting presented by Thomas Haller, Walled Lake Schools Parent Education Fair, Walled Lake Central High School, Walled Lake MI. For more information contact Alec Bender (248) 956-4200.

March 13 - Bay City, MI
9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Literacy Day with Reese Haller for the students of Immanuel Lutheran School, Bay City, MI.

March 13 - Bay City
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm, How to Inspire Children to Write presented by Thomas Haller, MaCGregor Elementary, Bay City MI. Free to the public to register contact the school at (989) 892-1558.

March 14 - Bay City, MI
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Week 4 of 10 Commitments 4 week study course presented by Thomas Haller. Offered through the Bay City Public Schools Parent Involvement and Education Grant. Location to be announced. To register please contact Sue Murphy at (989)671-8180 or murphys@bcschools.net

March 15 - Swartz Creek, MI
9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Literacy Day with Reese Haller for the students of Elms Road Elementary School, Swartz Creek, MI.

March 17 - Vancouver, WA
9:45 am - 2:15 pm, The Parent Talk System presented by Chick Moorman, Washington State University (Annual Conference), WSU, Vancouver, WA. For information contact Jane Lanigan at 360-546-9715 or email lanigan@vancouver.wsu.edu.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE DATES.


Chick Moorman

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

CLICK HERE TO VISIT CHICK'S WEBSITE.


Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at 989-686-5356 or email him at thomas@thomashaller.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT TH0MAS' WEBSITE.

Copyright 2006 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle


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