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The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 3
May, 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 students.




1. Quote

2. Idea Exchange

3. Humor

4. Teacher Talk

5. Question

6. Website of the Month

7. Article: "A New Attitude"

8. Subscription Information


1. Quote [back to top]


"You can not teach a man anything. You can only help him find it within himself."
----------------Galielo Galilei---------------


2. Idea Exchange [back to top]


"I Urge" Telegrams

Have students choose a real person and have them write telegrams to that individual beginning with , "I urge you to..." Challenge students to construct their message in 15 or fewer words. Telegrams may be written to politicians, local officials, the school board, entertainers, t.v. executives, friends, or relatives. Messages need to reflect something students value of feel is important.


Stop in the middle of a story. Name a character and have students write them an "I urge" telegram.

Frustrated with the text book. Have students write an "I urge" telegram to the publisher.

After passing back a test and reviewing it, have student write an "I urge" message to themselves.

Ask your, soon to be moving on, students to write an "I urge" message to the teachers at the next grade level.

Read an article from the newspaper aloud. Have students respond with an "I urge" telegram.

Whatever "I urge" variation or adaptation you choose to use, be sure to show students two or more quality examples of what you expect. It will help them develop a mental model in their heads of what quality work looks like.


3. Humor [back to top]


We had a student that was so dumb he tried to blow up a school bus. He got what he deserved though. He burned his lips on the tail pipe.


4. Teacher Talk [back to top]


"I don't like what I just heard. If you are angry, please tell me another way."

When you share this key phrase with students, what you are really saying is, "I have too much respect for myself to be talked to this way. Please share your thoughts and feelings in a way that honors me as a person." This form of communication also shows respect for the child. It announces, "I think your feelings are important. You have a right to express them here. I will listen to you and consider your feedback. Please tell me in a way that gives me useful information."

P.108, "Teacher Talk: What It really Means," by Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber




“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


5. Question [back to top]


How would schools be different if we did not see them as a place of discovery, a hotbed of inquiry, or even as a center of learning, but rather we saw them as primarily a place of creation; the creation of who and what we are as human beings?


6. Website of the Month [back to top]


Do you have a student who is apathetic? Or one that blurts out in class and can't seem to help herself? How about a complainer or an excuse maker? If so, this Website is for you. Check out

At you will find help for 117 specific behavior problems. Included is information detailing the specific attitudes and actions that accompany the behavior, effects that behavior has on you and the other students, the primary cause of the behavior, and best of all, actions to take to eliminate the behavior.

The suggestions offered on this site are specific, prescriptive, and practical. Check it out.


We enjoy ideas, concerns, frustrations, successes, and encouragement. Contact us at....


7. Article [back to top]


A New Attitude

By Chick Moorman


Patty Tamble teaches math to high school students in Sauk Rapids, MN. “I have a group of students in a low ability class who make no secret out of the fact that they hate math,” she says. “They inform me continually that they can’t do math.”

It was obvious to Patty that her students needed a new attitude towards math. Since they had accumulated years of experience with math and had developed strong core beliefs about that subject, Patty needed a strategy to help them start over.  She  needed an activity that would help them throw away their old beliefs about math and begin again, hopefully with a new attitude.

Who knows where these kind of ideas come from? Patty did not find this one in a curriculum guide. It wasn’t in her math text book, either. No Spirit Whisperer directory of 1001 great ideas presently exists. The idea came from somewhere inside the math teacher in Sauk Rapids, MN who teaches students who don’t like math.

One class period Patty asked her students to take out a blank piece of paper. They did. She then asked them to write all the negative comments they could think of about math on their papers. They did.

With the first part of the assignment accomplished and her students’ full attention, Patty instructed them to ball up their papers and crush them in their hands.  “Crush all those negative beliefs about math,” she challenged. “Take out every math frustration you have ever had on that balled up piece of paper. Get into it. Squeeze it tight. Squeeze the irritation, the embarrassment, the fear right out of it.” Once again, students followed her instructions.

“It’s time now,” she announced, “to throw away those old math attitudes, to begin again with a fresh attitude, with a clean slate. I want you to line up, beginning on my right, and throw your old math attitudes away. I want you to pitch them right here into the recycling bin.”  Row by row, student by student, they lined up, threw away their old math attitudes, smiled, and returned to their seats.

Patty knows that building new math attitudes with these students could be a long, slow process. She knows that developing positive attitudes towards math after years of frustration, will require much dedication, persistence, and effort on her part. She’s up to it. She’s a Spirit Whisperer.

Patty Tamble can be reached at


(To access similar articles check out



8. Subscription Information [back to top]


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To find out more about workshops, seminars, and keynote addresses presented by Chick Moorman contact him at toll free, 877/360-1477 or email


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