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The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 31
May 20, 2004


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 [back to top]


America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.

--- Evan Esar (1899-1995)


2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back to top]


What if there is plenty of time? What if what they don't get now, they can get later? What if there is no right time to learn this lesson?


3. Facts [back to top]


The number of male public school teachers is at a 40-year low. Of America's 3 million teachers, only 21 percent are male. In elementary school, male teachers now represent 9 percent of the teaching force. That is down from 18 percent in 1981. Minority males make up 16 percent of the teaching population. Forty-two percent of public schools have no minority teacher. (National Education Association survey)


4. Teacher Talk Tip [back to top]


"Always/Never" Pay attention to how you use the words "always" and "never. "

"You always blame someone else."
"You never attempt to do anything extra."
"Why do you always interrupt me?"

A problem for teachers who use "always" and "never" in their Teacher Talk is that the words divert students' attention from the issue that needs to be dealt with and focuses it on the accusation. A typical internal response to "You always have to be first" is denial. The student remembers the one time three years ago when she chose to be last. She is now so busy thinking that she does not always have to be first that she is unable to attend mentally to the problem at hand.


Chick Moorman is currently booking summer and back-to-school programs. To reserve your date, contact Chick at


5. Bumper Sticker [back to top]


Spotted on a Chevy Blazer in a driveway in Milan, MI:

If it weren't for Sports
This would be about my Honor Roll Child.


6. Book Report [back to top]


"Are you a teacher?" I asked a customer who wanted to purchase a "Spirit Whisperer" book at the Michigan PTA annual convention.

"No, I'm a room mother and a PTA officer," she responded.

"Well, I just want you to know that 'Spirit Whisperers' is a book for teachers. It's about how to teach to a child's spirit. (I often give this explanation at my book table because I want to make sure people know what they are buying. I don't want a parent to buy a book intended for teachers, thinking it has lots of parenting examples in it.)

"I know," she said. "It's not for me. It's for my son's teacher. It's an end-of-the-year appreciation gift. His teacher is a Spirit Whisperer, and I think she could use it. She gets a bit discouraged in this age of overemphasis on test scores. Plus, I want her to know I care about her efforts to teach children rather than curriculum."

I sold her the book — personally autographed, of course. The interesting part of this situation is that it was not an isolated incident. I had similar conversations with several other parents looking for appreciation gifts for teachers who touched their children's spirits, who taught to the human side of the teaching equation.

Several other customers purchased graduation gifts for soon-to-be teachers. All in all, I sold over 25 books to customers who wanted either a graduation gift or one to show appreciation. In each case, I recommended three different books, listed below, and let the customer choose. If you know a teacher you want to appreciate or a 2004 college graduate in the field of education, consider the following:

SPIRIT WHISPERERS: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit by Chick Moorman ($25.00)

Spirit Whisperers exist. They are out there in every school, in every grade level, in every part of the country. They coach, they lead youth groups, they teach school, they counsel, they administer, and they parent. Most often they do their work in anonymity. Quietly, steadily, they go about their task of teaching to a child's spirit. This book is an effort to celebrate Spirit Whisperers and help them remember that there are others like them working to inspire, nurture, uplift, and help young people tune in to the spirit and power within.

TEACHER TALK: What It Really Means by Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber ($13.00)

This book is about teachers' talk — the comments, questions, commands, and suggestions that teachers direct at students every day. It explores the way teachers talk to children and exposes the underlying "silent messages" that accompany their spoken words. By selecting words and phrases intentionally and using the Teacher Talk suggested in this book, teachers will empower their students and enhance their students' learning.

OUR CLASSROOM: We Can Learn Together by Chick Moorman and Dee Dishon ($20.00)

This book will help K-6 teachers create a classroom environment where discipline problems are less likely to occur and where students are less likely to activate the new three R's — Resistance, Reluctance, and Resentment. The book shows how to build an atmosphere of togetherness and cooperation, focusing on activities and strategies that foster notions of belonging, interdependence, and mutual respect.


7. A Sign of the Times [back to top]


How would you like your students to go to the ShopRite Center for physical education and the Flowers Library and Media Center to check out books? Thanks to the school's sale of naming rights, that's exactly what happens at the Alice Costello School in Brooklawn, NJ. The gym and library have been renamed and sold to the highest bidder.

The school name could be next.

"A lot of small schools are fighting for their survival. What we are doing here is going to be the norm in ten years," Superintendent John Kellmayer says.

Can't you see it now?

Ads on the sport teams' jerseys.

Company logos on the basketball court's free-throw lanes.

Advertising on the sides of school buses.

An exclusive arrangement with Pepsi for vending machines that give the school a cut of the proceeds.

Junk food vending machines to entice students to spend lunch money on Little Debbie cupcakes and Butterfinger candy bars to help increase the school's budget.

Corporate logos in the upper right-hand corner of each student's desk.

Rental of display cases in the high school to promote local businesses.

An e-bay auction of the school's name to the highest bidder.

It's a sign of the times.


8. Article: Homework [back to top]


By Chick Moorman

There are two first-grade classrooms in an elementary school in a small southern Michigan community. They are located directly across the hall from each other in the early childhood wing. Both first-grade teachers are ten-year teaching veterans. Both teach language arts using the whole language/experience story approach. Both take their jobs seriously.

Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Brown often invite their students to express themselves through drawing. Each of them encourages students to create experience stories by adding words to their drawings. Stories are displayed in the classrooms for a short period of time and then added to each student's work file.

Both teachers watch for misspelled words and words that children ask for help in spelling. These words become each individual student's special reading words for a week. The students carry their individual collection of words around with them fastened to their belts with a shower ring.

When adults in the building see Mrs. Johnson's or Mrs. Brown's students walking in the building, they stop them and ask them to read their words. The first graders are easy to spot because of the tag board words bouncing at their waists as they move through the building. After the children read their words to the adults, the adults sign the last words on the rings, signifying that they witnessed the students reading.

Each teacher has students line up to go home at the end of the week with words in hand. Each teacher has students read their words to her before they exit the classroom. Each makes two piles of words as the students read: one pile contains the words the child read correctly, and the other contains the words the child read incorrectly or did not read at all.

Up to this point both teachers handle the reading words identically. The similarity ends there.

Mrs. Johnson throws away the words her children know and gives them the ones they don't know to take home and practice with their parents. Mrs. Brown throws away the words her students don't know and gives them the ones they read successfully to take home and read to their parents.

Imagine the weekend scenes that occur in the homes of these first graders. On one side of the street, Mrs. Johnson's student takes out the pile of words he doesn't know and begins to struggle. His parents, anxious for the child to learn to read, overreact and add concern and pressure to the mix. The child continues to struggle as the parents' concern rises. They begin to see their child as a poor reader.

In the house across the street, Mrs. Brown's student gets out his words and begins to read. He is flawless in his efforts. His parents get excited, give praise, and call grandma to tell her what a great reader her grandson is. They see their child as a student who is learning new words every week.

What is the purpose of homework, anyway? In first through third grades, shouldn't it be just to go home and show off a little? What is the value of sending home words, problems, or worksheets that the child cannot do? That scenario only sets the child up for more struggle. If a student has homework that he does not know how to do, his choices are to do it incorrectly, blow it off, sit there and struggle, or ask a parent for help, thereby revealing his ignorance and adding pressure to the learning situation.

How about sending work home that helps the child look successful? How about creating a moratorium on homework that is not understood? How about helping students see homework as fun by allowing them to go home and show off the things they CAN do?

(Feel free to print and distribute the above article as long as you attach the following tag line:

Chick Moorman is the author of "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit" and "Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Child in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility." The books are available from Personal Power Press at (toll-free) 877-360-1477. Chick Moorman also publishes a FREE E-newsletter for parents as well as this one for educators. Contact him at to get your free subscription to one or both newsletters.)


Chick Moorman is available to keynote your back-to-school inservice day, fall staff development meeting, conference, or recognition dinner with "Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers." Contact him at or call (toll-free) 877-360-1477. Full-day seminars include the following topics: "Teaching for Respect and Responsibility" and "Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management."


9. Training Opportunity: Helping Parents Learn Verbal Skills [back to top]


WANTED: Training facilitators to learn the Parent Talk System's Language of Response-Able Parenting model.

GOAL: To help parents learn effective verbal skills to use with their children.

Take a giant step toward helping the parents in your school. Become a skilled facilitator of the Parent Talk System by attending our summer facilitator training. Join the growing number of people from around the world (USA, Mexico, Spain, and Australia) who have learned how to help parents raise responsible, caring, confident children. We will help you learn to put the highly effective Parent Talk skills into the hands of parents in your school, church, or organization. You will leave this three-day training with the skills and confidence to touch the hearts and minds of parents in your community!

Parent Talk System Training Details: July 29, 30, 31 Dearborn, MI Spring Arbor University Campus

Facilitated by Chick Moorman and Judith Minton

Limited to 25 participants. Graduate credit available.

To request a detailed brochure, email (Be sure to include your mailing address.)


10. Sister Publications [back to top]


Are you receiving our two sister publications, The Response-Able Parenting Newsletter and our Couple Talk Newsletter? If not, and if you would like to receive them, email and tell us which one you would like to receive.


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To find out more about books, tapes, and materials by Chick Moorman, contact him at (toll-free) 877-360-1477 or on the web at


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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 on the web at


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