The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 2
April 12, 2002
Welcome! This is a free newsletter on becoming a Response-Able teacher
and developing Response-Able students.
My mission is to inspire, encourage and uplift the spirits of educators
so they can in turn inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of their
IN THIS ISSUE
3. Teacher Talk
4. Subscription Information
5. Bumper Sticker
6. Idea Exchange
7. Parent Talk System Training
8. Article: "Blockers"
“The hitchhiker who sucks her thumb never gets anywhere.”
Although I can’t do everything at once, I can do something at once.”
Did you hear about the teacher who told a student to go to the end of
the line? The student came back and reported that someone was already
Teacher Talk to increase Attribute Awareness
Attribute Awareness is an attempt to help
students link their successes and failures to their own efforts. The
goal is to have them attribute personal success to effort, energy, persistence
or another factor over which they have control.
Attributions are the reasons one assigns for achieving success or failure.
Lack of ability, luck, not enough effort, and difficulty of the task, are
the attributions most often used by students.
Arranging your classroom so that students experience success is an important
first step in helping them see themselves as successful. Another, more important
step, occurs when a student realizes she or he personally contributed to
that success. Students must see the cause and effect connection between
their behavior and the outcome for that success in order to experience the
maximum benefit of that success. That’s where the importance of effective
Teacher Talk comes in.
Skillful Teacher Talk on your part can help students link effort, strategies,
and ability with results. Some examples follow:
“Madison, this is your highest test score. I guess that extra practice had
“Latrell, that final revision put you over the top. It shows you really
have learned to write in complete sentences.”
“Pablo, your test score went up again. Using note cards seems to work for
you as a study aid.”
“Brenda, choosing not to complete the make up assignments hurt your grade
“I see your handwriting is becoming more legible. What do you attribute
Often students don’t know why they failed or succeeded. When teachers use
Teacher Talk like the examples above to give performance feedback that helps
students link results with effort, strategy, or ability, they help them
take responsibility in the present and raise expectations for the future.
“Teacher Talk: What It Really Means” by Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber is
available from Personal Power Press, $13.95 by calling toll free, 877-360-1477
or emailing IPP57@aol.com.
4. Subscription Information [back
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who is interested in improving their professional practice by forwarding
it to them.
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Don’t lessen the lesson.
In four words this bumper sticker reminds us to implement consequences so
that students can learn what happens if they do and what happens if they
don’t. It helps us remember to refrain from bailing students out, saving
them, rescuing them. If we lessen the lesson the lesson that students learn
may well be that I will not be held accountable nor have to be responsible
because someone will always be there to take over for me and keep me from
feeling the cause and effect of my choices. Don’t lessen the lesson. Allow
students to experience the legitimate consequences of their actions.
A high school teacher in Kentucky recently shared a strategy he found effective
to help students do better on tests. After he created a chapter test, he
divided it into two parts. The first part contained one-fourth of the test
which he gave on day one. That same day the test was corrected and returned
to the student. Explanations, reasons, and examples of quality answers were
given and discussed as part of the debriefing.
On day two the remaining three-fourths of the test was given. Students now
had a better idea of what to expect on the test and the quality of answers
that was desired. Although not all students chose to use this opportunity
to more effectively demonstrate their learning, many did.
7. Parent Talk System Training of Trainers [back
We are looking for individuals who desire to help parents improve their
parenting skills by using Parent Talk to become more Response-Able parents.
The next training of trainers in The Parent Talk System is scheduled for
July 25-27, 2002 in Dearborn, MI. Call toll free 877/369-1477 or email IPP57@aol.com to request a detailed
By Chick Moorman
Christian Miller didn’t do substitute teaching because he needed the money.
He did it because he enjoyed it. He was a former teacher, now retired, and
sincerely liked being around children. “Subbing is one of the ways I stay
young,” he told many of his friends.
Recently assigned to sub in a third grade classroom, Christian was moving
uneventfully through the day. Thankfully, no behavior problems required
his attention. He had followed the detailed lesson plans for math and language
arts. Spelling appeared next on the agenda.
The directions for spelling were simple enough. Christian was instructed
to announce a ten-minute study time and then give the students a trial test
on their weekly list of words. Students spelling all words correctly on
the trial test would be excused from the final test on Friday.
At the conclusion of the short study time, Christian asked students to clear
off their desks and take out a piece of notebook paper. Immediately, seven
students sprang from their chairs and headed towards a bookcase at the back
of the room. “Whoa,” announced Mr. Miller. “Where are you going?”
“We’re going to get the blockers,” two students answered simultaneously.
“Blockers? What are blockers?” asked the surprised substitute teacher.
“They’re what we use to block our papers so that other kids can’t see them,”
answered one eight-year old. “They block the other person’s view,” added
Constructed with two 8 by 10 sheets of cardboard and taped in the middle,
blockers stand upright. They are designed to shield one student’s paper
from another’s eyes.
“No, no, no,” cautioned the substitute. “We don’t need blockers.”
“Yes we do,” responded the third-graders.
“Why?” Christian asked aloud.
“Because we’ll look on each other’s papers,” said one child. “Ya,” agreed
“You look at each other’s papers?” asked Christian.
“Several of us,” reported one student.
“No,” countered Christian, “no one will look today. We don’t need the blockers.”
“We need them because some kids cheat. They look,” warned a well-intentioned
girl in the back of the room.
“Let me see a show of hands,” challenged Christian. “How many of you are
going to look on another’s paper?”
“See, we don’t need blockers today,” Christian explained to the class.
“They say they won’t, but they will,” a student informed the substitute
teacher. Heads nodded in agreement.
Undaunted, Christian asked, “How many of you are just saying that you won’t
look, but you really will?’
“See,” he said again, “no one in this room is going to look.”
“We always use blockers,” shared one persistent student who wasn’t buying
into the--- we don’t need blockers--- theme. “Mrs. Tattersall wants us to
use them so we don’t cheat. They block us from cheating,” she explained,
hoping to get this substitute teacher to finally appreciate the necessity
“O.K. we’ll use blockers,” announced Mr. Miller, appearing to finally cave
in to the perceived need to use an external object to protect one child’s
paper from another’s need to look.
“We’ll use blockers,” he continued, “only this time we’ll use our inside
blockers. Looking or not looking at another’s paper is an internal decision
that each of you make. It’s something that happens on the inside of you.
If each of you chooses to use your inside blocker, we won’t need outside
blockers. Things like honesty, integrity, respect, and caring are decisions
that each of us make on the inside. When you make an inside decision, the
outside takes care of itself. Outside blockers are only needed when the
inside blockers have not been turned on.”
“How about if we play with using our inside blockers today and see how that
goes?” Christian challenged the room full of eight-year olds. “Let’s see
how well your inside blockers are working. Are you willing to turn them
on and see what happens?”
“Yes,” several students responded, finally conceding to the relentless challenge
of their substitute teacher.
“O.K. Number your papers from one to fifteen. Put your name in the upper
right hand corner. Turn on your internal blocker. Here we go.”
The spelling test proceeded without incident. Students practiced spelling
words and they practiced using their inside blockers.
Following the test, Christian allowed students to correct their own papers.
Papers were then collected and left for the regular classroom teacher to
peruse. Later, he assumed, scores would be added to a grade book so that
the learning could be appropriately documented.
No record was made of the 23 eight-year olds who successfully used internal
blockers that day. No note was left for the regular classroom teacher to
explain why blockers weren’t used. No documentation of the learning experience
was necessary. Perhaps that type of learning is best recorded the way it
is used, on the inside, in the hearts and minds of the students who experienced
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presented by Chick Moorman contact him at toll free, 877/360-1477 or email IPP57@aol.com
Copyright 2002 Chick Moorman Seminars, all rights reserved. Share
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