"We were never the carriers of our own stories. We never trusted our
own voices. Reforms came, but we didn't make them. They were invented
by people far removed from schools - by "experts." Such reforms bypassed
the kinds of school-by-school changes, both small and structurally radical,
that teachers and parents might have been able to suggest - changes that,
however slow, could have made a powerful difference."
The students had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to
persuade each of them to buy a copy of the group picture.
"Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you're all grown up
and say, 'There's Jennifer - she's a lawyer' or 'That's Michael - he's
A small voice from the back of the room chimed in, "'And there's the
teacher - she's dead.'"
3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back
What if real achievement is not about what we know or what we do, but
is measured by what we are? If so, are you adequately preparing your students
for their achievement tests?
Higher-Level Thinking Vocabulary
When did Columbus sail the ocean blue?
Recite the primary colors.
Who was the fourth President of the United States?
What happened next in the story?
Simple recall questions, which often require only a one-word response,
ask students for memorized answers. They do not ask for thinking. These
questions tend to emphasize relatively unimportant knowledge, produce
shallow thinking, and prepare students to become great Trivial Pursuit
players. In addition, their repeated use helps students develop a "quiz
show" mentality and a distorted perception of intelligence.
To avoid this situation in your classroom and to ensure that the questions
you ask call for real thinking, add these 30+ words to your Teacher Talk
Generalize, induce, qualities, pattern, classify, reasons, parts, sort,
sequence, factors, procedures, same/different, compare, contrast, differentiate,
infer, connect, rate, prioritize, summarize, condense, opinion, evaluate,
decide, changes, possibilities, predict, forecast, combine, design, simulate,
improve. (From Questions for Life, Performance Learning Systems, Nevada
Use any one of these words, and there's a good chance you will create
a thought-provoking question. Here are some examples:
Compare Magellan to Balboa.
From the reading, what can you induce about teen drivers?
What are some possibilities for solutions here?
What do you predict will happen next?
What is your opinion of the main character?
How could you improve it?
What categories would you sort these into?
In what ways is the orange the same as the apple?
Challenge yourself to add this vocabulary of thinking to your classroom
questions. Watch and listen to the reactions your efforts generate. After
you've collected some data, ask yourself, "How are these reactions the
same as and how do they differ from those I got in the past?"
5. The Teacher Talk Seminar [back
The Teacher Talk System announces the following open seminars:
Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management (K-12)
Lansing, MI March 25, 2003
Chicago, IL March 26, 2003
Atlanta, GA March 27, 2003
The seminars include many Teacher Talk ideas and the Sounds of Spirit
Whispering. Email email@example.com to request a detailed brochure.
6. Manage Your Subscription [back
A.) If you are receiving the newsletter as a forward and would like
to insure that you get your personal free subscription, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be added to the educator newsletter.
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C.) Back issues of the Response-Able Educator Newsletter can be found here.
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If so, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and request
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E.) Please recommend this free e-newsletter to any teachers you know
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Be sure to let us know your old e-mail address so we can unsubscribe it.
7. Article: Cause I'm Good At It [back to top]
by Chick Moorman
It was a crowded restaurant, so full that I had to give
my name to the hostess and wait in the lobby until my name was called.
Several others who had preceded me had not yet been seated, so I had to
stand. It was there, standing in the waiting area minding my own business,
that I noticed her.
She must have been around five or six years old. She was
sitting next to her mother waiting to be called for dinner. She had already
received three crayons and a paper to work on, the kind of paper that
restaurants give kids to keep them busy until their meal arrives. It contained
riddles, an escape-from-the-dungeon challenge, a word search, and a dot-to-dot
I watched as she worked on the dot-to-dot picture. The numbers
went from one to fifty. It was obvious to me that the dots, when connected,
would make an elephant. When the youngster got to number ten, which clearly
showed the head of an elephant, I asked her, "Do you know what that is
going to be?"
"Yep," she replied.
"What?" I questioned.
"Looks like one to me too," I offered.
Torn between minding my own business and proceeding with
the conversation, I chose to ask one more question.
"Well, if you already know it's going to be an elephant,
why are you still connecting those dots instead of doing some of the other
activities on your paper?"
She looked at me as though I were some kind of weirdo and
replied, "Cause I'm good at it." End of discussion.
Later, I thought about that incident and the little girl
who did things because she was good at them. I thought about school and
how we usually have kids work on the things they are not good at. In fact,
in most schools one of the rewards for getting good at something is that
a student no longer gets to work on it.
If a child working on multiplication tables masters the
3's and 4's, the child is given 5's and 6's. If the child then masters
the 5's and 6's, he or she is immediately moved on to 7's and 8's. Some
If a student learns addition, he or she goes to subtraction.
When the student learns that, it's on to multiplication. The reward for
learning something a student doesn't know is "Here's something else you
don't know. Work on that for a while."
Of course we need to help students learn things they don't
know. And most class time should probably be spent on that. But couldn't
we create some times when students work on things they already know?
Wouldn't there be some value in having students who are
working on their 8's and 9's go back and do their 2's and 3's? It would
give them a sense of how far they've come - a yardstick with which to
measure their own progress as learners. It might help them realize, "These
are easy. I remember when they were hard. Maybe the hard 8's and 9's will
seem easy someday."
I like to do what I'm good at, too, don't you? I love leading
seminars, writing books, and riding horses because I'm good at those things.
I'll bet the same concept holds true for you.
Why not provide some time each week or each semester for
students to revisit what they previously learned? Let them go back and
play around with what was taught the first two weeks of the semester.
Devote some time on Monday to letting them burn through some easy material
that once was hard. Debrief with them afterwards, checking out what they
thought about it. You just might find they enjoyed themselves because
they were good at it.
8. Question and Answer [back
Question: May I copy articles and ideas from your newsletter and share
them with others?
Answer: Yes, please do. All I ask is that you put my name on anything
you use and tell people where it came from and how they can contact me.
All previous newsletters can be found at www.chickmoorman.com/newsletters/.
Spotted on a dirty Toyota in Wausau, WI:
"A procrastinator's work is never done."
The paperback edition of "Parent Talk" is now in bookstores across the
country. Selling for $13.00, the Simon and Schuster Fireside Original
has a slightly different title from the hardback edition. Ask for "Parent
Talk: How to Talk to Your Children in Language That Builds Self-Esteem
and Encourages Responsibility."
Except for an updated and slightly expanded introduction, the new paperback
is the same as the hardback edition. I have copies available at firstname.lastname@example.org if your bookstore doesn't yet stock the paperback.
Subscriber comments, ideas, and concerns are valued. Email your
comment to IPP57@aol.com
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or exchange your email address, ever. It is safe with us. Always!
To find out more about workshops, seminars, and keynote addresses
presented by Chick Moorman contact him at toll free, 877/360-1477 or on
the web at www.chickmoorman.com.
Copyright 2003 Chick Moorman Seminars, all rights reserved. Share
this with your circle.