www.personalpowerpress.com October 2, 2006
The Response-Able Educator Newsletter #55

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. Sign of the Times
3. Bumper Sticker
4. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
5. Article: Taking a Stand Against Homework
6. Did You Know?
7. Featured Staff Development Program
8. Product of the Month
9. Schedule of Events

1. Quote

"Elementary school students get no academic benefit from homework except reading and some basic skills practice and yet schools require more than ever."

"High school students studying until dawn probably are wasting their time because there is no academic benefit after two hours a night; for middle-schoolers, 1 1/2 hours."

Harris Cooper
the nation's best-known researcher on homework
Duke University professor

2. Sign of the Times

A.) Spotted on a wall in a high-school English teacher's classroom:

Puns are for children, not groan readers.

B.) Seen in a middle-school counselor's office:

The Three R's

Responsibility for the individual to self.

Responsibility of the individual to the group.

Responsibility of the group to the individual.

3. Bumper Sticker

Seen on a Fleetwood Niagara pop-up camper in Memphis, TN:

What schools need is a moment of science.

4. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

Feeling frustrated and under pressure? Does it seem that you are not getting enough done when everything around you is moving fast? Perhaps the best way to handle this situation is to slow down.

Would you like to have a daily dose of Spirit Whisperer contemplations delivered to your e-mail address? If so, click here.


5. Article: Taking a Stand Against Homework

By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

You know what's happening with homework in American education. Simply put, more homework is being assigned than ever before and it is being assigned to younger and younger children. But is it good? More teachers are beginning to think not.

Fueled by the research and the popularity of Alfie Kohn's book, The Homework Myth, many professional and thoughtful educators across the country are altering their homework policies. Some are assigning less. Others are making sure their homework only involves projects that connect the school and family, such as having the student teach a family member what he or she learned or interview parents about their life experiences. Some tell parents that the child should only work on homework (infrequently assigned) for 20-30 minutes. At the end of that time the child is to stop, regardless of where he or she is in the assignment. Still other teachers are assigning no homework at all.

Since this altered homework stance is often new to the parents, an explanation is in order. When you follow what you know in your heart is best for children and it bucks traditional practice or even school policy, it is essential that you have your rationale ready to go.

Look over the list below, modified from one used by a fourth-grade teacher in Seattle, WA. Pick the suggested responses that make sense to you. Use them to create your own personal response to those who are asking you to do what is not always in the best interest of children or conducive to developing an intrinsic motivation for children to keep on learning.

1.) School is the only place in our society where a person must work all day and come home and work some more. It is like working a double shift. Would you put up with that?

2.) Family conflict is increased because of the nagging and yelling or simple frustration it often takes to make sure homework gets done. The struggle our children are putting up to resist inappropriate use of homework is divisive to families.

3.) Homework erodes family time the opportunity to do things together to build family solidarity. Time to eat together, tell stories, play checkers, go for a bike ride, and hang out together is being lost. Homework assignments show disrespect for the family's right to decide how to spend their free time together.

4.) Homework leaves less time for nonacademic learning, including reading for pleasure, collecting bugs, visiting a zoo, or trading baseball cards.

5.) Homework could well be the number one inhibitor of our children developing a desire to go on learning. It can extinguish curiosity and the love for learning.

6.) Homework is often so distasteful to children that parents resort to offering incentives, praise, and bribes for doing it. This further teaches children that learning is not something to do for learning's sake, but because you get rewarded for it.

7.) Just because kids have homework to do at night does not mean any learning is taking place. In fact, homework often drives children away from learning the intended lesson. What they learn is that learning is distasteful.

8.) Evidence does not exist demonstrating that homework has any academic benefit to children in elementary school.

9.) There is no research that shows that homework builds responsibility and good study habits. Many times children develop poor work habits when it comes to doing homework. Surface-skimming, procrastination, and daydreaming can occur more often than the desired habits.

10.) Self-responsibility is more about learning to manage freedom than it is about practicing compliance with other-directed assignments that please the adult. Children do not learn to act responsibly when they are tightly regulated.

11.) Giving homework to children who already know how to do it is a waste of their time. Giving the same assignment to students who do not know how to do it produces one of two results. Either these students feel stupid and give up, or they sit at the study table and do the assignment all wrong. In that case, they don't feel stupid until the next day, when the homework is evaluated.

12.) My job as a professional educator is to encourage children to love learning, not to get them ready for unpleasantness (tons of homework) in the future. People don't typically learn how to deal with unhappiness by giving them a lot of unhappiness on which to practice.

13.) Pleasure reading and reading for meaning are two of the casualties of homework. Who would want to pick up a book and read after doing an hour or two of homework?

14.) Since there is clearly no evidence that shows homework is beneficial, I will err on the side of less rather than more.

Is it time for you to take a stand against homework? Have you recognized the negative effects it has on students but have not been sure what to do about it? Do you need some encouragement? Please feel encouraged. There are teachers all over the world who feel the same way you do. These teachers are attempting to help restore our children's love of learning by cutting back on homework, or even eliminating it altogether. Please join them.

Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. Chick has also written Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit. Chick and Thomas 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 needs, visit their websites today: www.chickmoorman.com or www.thomashaller.com.

Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child


6. Did You Know?

A.) MathematicallySane is a grass-roots group of teachers, administrators, teacher educators, parents, and mathematicians who are concerned about the future of mathematics education.

MathematicallySane's mission is to advocate broadly and persuasivelyfor the rational reform of school mathematics. They seek to:

    • Help educators, citizens and policy-makers at all levels make a stronger case for better mathematics programs;

    • Gather and disseminate diverse success stories both anecdotal and data-based; and

    • Provide a forum for reform-minded mathematics educators.

They have organized this information at http://MathematicallySane.com. They hope that you find this site supportive of your efforts to make mathematics work for ALL of America's students. Send them your ideas and your feedback at mail@mathematicallysane.com.

B.) Increasing the number of required physical education courses in school has no detectable effect on weight or the likelihood of obesity among students, according to a new study in the fall issue of Education Next. These findings come as state legislatures grapple with concerns over how best to address increasing rates of childhood obesity.

In 2005 alone, 44 states introduced bills to increase or reform school PE. Increased PE requirements, however, have no impact on the overall levels of physical activity among boys, report John Cawley of Cornell University, economist Chad Meyerhoefer of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and David Newhouse of the International Monetary Fund. And, among girls, the researchers found that although increased PE can lead to more time spent exercising vigorously, it actually decreases the number of days in which girls engage in light physical activity.

C.) Forty percent of public-school teachers plan to exit the profession by 2010. This will be the highest rate of attrition since 1990. Half the number of high-school teachers plan to leave the profession in the next 5 years, according to the National Center for Educational Information.

D.) Chick Moorman and/or Thomas Haller would be honored to speak at your next staff development program. Want motivation? They can deliver. Want to shake up the troops? They can do that, too! How about a full day of verbal skills to transform how teachers talk to students? They have it. Or what about their newest full day seminar, Miss-ipline: How Most Classroom Discipline Programs Miss the Mark? Call 877-360-1477 for booking information.

7. Featured Staff Development Program

Motivating At-Risk (Underachieving) Students

Underachieving students often fail to turn in assignments. They fail to attend class regularly, fail to build positive relationships, and fail to steer clear of self-defeating behaviors. Underachievers fail to find meaning in school work, fail to ask for help, and fail to see the connection between effort, success, and failure.

Failure hurts. Failure encourages impulses to escape, attack, cheat, distract, and give up.

  • Learn to break the cycle of failure in your underachieving students...so they can improve their performance and maximize their potential.

  • Learn to put attribute theory into practice in your classroom so that underachievers understand the relationship between their behavior and their performance.

  • Help underachievers give up the victim stance and assume more responsibility for their school lives so you can spend less time motivating and more time teaching.

  • Help underachievers develop an "I can" stance towards life so they can think, act, and be more successful.

  • Dramatically decrease the number of students who choose to underachieve by learning how to manage your classroom and your own mind to positively impact your "at risk" students.

For a skill-oriented and entertaining day presented by Thomas Haller, Chick Moorman, or both, call 877-360-1477 to enquire about availability.

8. Product of the Month - Fred the Mouse� Book Three: Rescuing Freedom by Reese Haller

Paperback book ($4.97)

The FRED THE MOUSE TM book series is written by Reese Haller, who is considered the youngest published fiction author in America.

Book Three: Rescuing Freedom is a magnificent adventure in which Fred the Mouse discovers the true meaning of freedom. Readers are moved by the insightful message woven into this delightful story. As a young author, Reese motivates and inspires other children to read and write.


9. Schedule of Events

Oct. 5 - East Lansing, MI
11:00 am - 11:40 am, Healthy Sports Experiences presented by Chick Moorman, Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), MHSAA Building, East Lansing, MI. For information email Jack Roberts at jroberts@mhsaa.com.

October 7 - Omaha, NE
The 6 Traits of Writing: A 5h Graders Perspective presented by Thomas Haller, International Reading Association Conference, Omaha, Nebraska. For more information contact Julie at agardj@unk.edu.

Oct. 12 - Traverse City, MI
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Grace-Full Parenting presented by Chick Moorman, Children's House, Traverse City, MI. For information contact Nadine Elmgren at 231-929-9325 ext. 34 or email nlglass@chartermi.net.

October 16 - Mobile AL
The 6 Traits of Writing: A 5h Graders Perspective presented by Thomas Haller, International Reading Association Conference, Mobile, Alabama. For more information contact Carolyn at charris@reading.org.

October 20 - Anaheim, CA
Mark Victor Hansen Speaking Seminar presented by Thomas Haller and his son, Reese, live on stage with Mark Victor Hansen at The Mega Speaking Seminar Anaheim, CA. For more information visit www.markvictorhansen.com.

Oct. 20 - Grand Rapids, MI
Morning Keynote, Motivating Students Through the Power of Your Words presented by Chick Moorman, Michigan Association of Non-public Schools, Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI. For information contact Glen Walstra at 517-372-0662 or email gwalstra@m-a-n-s.org.

Oct. 21 - Detroit, MI
Closing Conference Keynote, Recognizing the Spirit Whisperers presented by Chick Moorman, American Association of School Personal Administration, Detroit, MI. For information contact Terry Serbin at 734-265-3020 or email serbin@monroe.k12.mi.us.

Oct. 31 - Flint, MI
11:30 am - 2:30 pm, Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers presented by Chick Moorman, Kearsley Public Schools, Armstrong Middle School, Flint, MI. For information contact Martha Davis at 810-591-7640 or email mdavis@mail.kearsley.k12.mi.us.

Thomas Haller

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


Chick Moorman

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



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