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The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 33
July 27, 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]


"If we insist on looking at the rainbow of intelligence through a single filter, many minds
will erroneously seem devoid of light."

----Renee Fuller


2. Facts [back to top]


Only 57 percent of Americans read a book in 2002.

Only 47 percent of Americans read literature in 2002.

89.9 million Americans did not read a book in 2002.

----National Endowment of the Arts Report


3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back to top]


What if we decided to stop measuring knowledge accumulated and measured
knowledge applied instead? Would that change your approach to your professional practice? Why not pretend that we measure knowledge applied and change anyway?


4. Teacher Talk Tip [back to top]


Beware of asking questions to which you already know the answers.

"Do you know where your seat is?"

"What did I just tell you?"

"Haven’t you started yet?"

"What page are we on, Mr. Sconiers?"

These questions are thinly veiled ridicule in action. They mock and publicly embarrass the student. The teacher already knows that the student knows where the seat is. The teacher knows what he or she just told the student. And the teacher is fully aware that the student hasn’t started yet. These are not questions that require answers.

In fact, if the child did answer one of these questions, he or she would likely be thought of as disrespectful. Consider the following exchange:

"Do you know where your seat is?"

"Yes, it’s the third one in the fourth row over there."

Actually, it's the teacher who is disrespectful when he or she asks such ridiculing questions. In doing so, the teacher has initiated a power struggle and is asking for escalation.

Instead of asking a mocking question, make a statement that clearly details what you want.

"I want you in your seat now, Susan."

"I notice you are forgetting what I just told you, Robert. I expect you to turn fully around and give me your attention now."

"I see that eight minutes have gone by and there is no writing on your paper. This would be a good time to get going."

"We are on page 197, Mr. Sconiers. Please join us."

By stating your wants clearly, without ridicule, you increase your chances that students will do what you want. You also reduce the odds that a power struggle will develop.

Remember: Avoid asking questions to which you already know the answers.


The Teacher Talk Seminar is currently one of our most requested seminars. Skill-based and practical, this verbal skills training offers teachers strategies they can put to use
immediately. Chick Moorman is currently booking summer and back-to-school programs.

To reserve your date, contact Chick at


5. Humor [back to top]


A teacher was giving a lesson on blood circulation. Trying to make the subject clearer,
she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face."

"Yes," said the class.

"Then why is it that while I'm standing upright in the ordinary position, the blood doesn’t run into my feet?"

A student shouted, "'Cause your feet ain’t empty!"


6. Book Report [back to top]


Coming Attraction!

"The Ten Commitments: Parenting with Purpose" is coming! This new book by Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller celebrates parenting by teaching parents how to put Spirit Whisperer concepts into their parenting style. Currently in production, "The Ten Commitments" helps and inspires parents to commit, or recommit, to their families and to the important role they play in the lives of their children. The book provides a wealth of ideas and techniques that can empower every parent.

A major premise of "The Ten Commitments" is that parenting needs to be done on purpose, with intentionality. By this, we mean parenting happens with forethought, vision, and mission. Such parenting entails developing goals, values, and a parenting plan of action. It includes the belief that parenting is too important to leave to chance.

More information is coming soon. Watch this space.


7. Idea Swap [back to top]


Poster spotted in a Wisconsin elementary school:

When you come into our school, please remember ……… it is a child’s world! These
activities are —

Their Work ... Their ideas ... Their Fun

Sometimes a child’s idea of decoration, beauty, and good housekeeping does not coincide with adults'.

A child’s imagination is great! Children can do wonderful things — paint the wind, dance like a leaf, and find joy and happiness in performing simple tasks. These are abilities the adult may have lost along the way.

Enter, and return for a brief visit to the wonderful world of young children. Enjoy their enthusiasm for living and learning!

An alternative to school elections, which are usually no more than popularity contests, shows promise.

How about this?

Let a system of "commissioners" make important decisions. The commissioners would
be the group that plans money-raising events, organizes dances, decides on student assemblies, etc.

To become commissioners, students must get endorsements from 25 students along with three teacher recommendations. They then interview for the job, answering a prescribed set of questions. Answers are published.
Candidates must also submit a five-page essay.

Advantages to the commissioner system abound:

    • Fewer posters are plastered all over the walls.
    • Students with public-speaking phobia have a chance.
    • The system simulates real life more than the typical student council format does.
    • It creates a greater cross section of leadership.
    • It eliminates the popularity contest.
    • It brings organized activism to the high school.

For more information, contact Principal Pat Lickiss, Las Lomas High School, Los Lomas, CA and/or Steven France, Activity Director at College Park High School in College Park, CA.


8. Article: Favorite Colors [back to top]


By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

Robert had already been diagnosed as mildly autistic by the time he entered kindergarten. He was assigned one of the three kindergarten teachers in the school he attended. For whatever reason, Robert lasted only five weeks in that classroom. The teacher, who couldn’t handle the special needs situation, explained to Robert's parents and the principal, "He doesn’t speak at all, and I have no training in dealing with autistic students."

Robert moved on to the second kindergarten teacher. After another six weeks, she, too, gave up. "He demands too much of my time," she explained. "I get no support services for him, and the attention I must give him is hurting the other children. He belongs in some kind of special education classroom."

It was in the third and final kindergarten classroom that Robert met Miss Valerie. As he entered her classroom and was introduced to her by the principal, Miss Valerie dropped immediately to her knees. Looking him right in the eye, at his level, she extended her hand and said, "Hi, I’m Miss Valerie. Welcome to our classroom. You are wearing a purple shirt, and that is my favorite color." She took him by the hand and led him around the classroom. "Look here. We have purple paper. That’s my favorite color. And over here you’ll find markers. There's a purple one, and you know what that is — my favorite color!"

"Come with me," she told him. "I’m going to read a story to the class, and you can turn the pages. Here, sit right next to me." As Miss Valerie read, she pointed out a purple truck and a purple flower and reminded Robert and the rest of her students that purple was her favorite color.

"Come over here and sit next to Connie," she suggested after the story was finished. "Connie is wearing purple pants, and that's my favorite color. Today we're having juice. It’s purple. My favorite color."

For three weeks Miss Valerie made no effort to teach Robert anything. She held his hand frequently and took him wherever she went. She concentrated on building a relationship with him, figuring the teaching could come later. Whenever she could, she pointed out her favorite color.

One morning during his fourth week in the class, Robert entered the classroom with a full grocery sack. He was accompanied by his mother, who explained in exasperated tones, "I tried to stop him, but he insisted on bringing all these things to school. I didn’t know what to do, so I let him bring them."

"It’s okay," said Miss Valerie. "I can handle it. Don’t give it another thought."

Then she turned to Robert.

"Let's see what you have here," she said as she began pulling objects from the sack. First came a purple mitten, then a purple paper plate. These were followed by a purple toy car, a purple plastic cup, and a purple pencil. Six more objects were extracted from the bag. All were purple — all except the last one, which was yellow.

"What is this?" asked Miss Valerie.

"That’s yellow," said Robert. "It’s my favorite color."



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. We Get E-Mail [back to top]


Dear Chick,

I had to laugh when I read the paddling quote in your last newsletter: "There is no scientific evidence that paddling works. There is only anecdotal evidence of people who say, ‘I was hit and turned out all right.’ The only benefit is immediate, short-term behavior change. It doesn’t teach anything except might makes right."

I had to read it over and over and then I finally realized you meant the hitting kind of paddling, not the swimming kind of paddling!!!! Doesn’t it warm your heart that there is an era of teachers who have never even thought of hitting kids? I was in classrooms where teachers hit kids and was so glad that it was outlawed by the time I started teaching, so I would never have to think about it. Words are cutting enough!!!! I found it shocking that there are still places that paddle children. How sad.

I love your newsletter!!!



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.


11. Manage Your Subscription [back to top]


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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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