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The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 38

January 14, 2005

Welcome! This is a free newsletter about becoming a Response-Able educator who develops Response-Able students.


Our 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.   No Name-Calling Week  
3.   Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
4.   You know You Need a Vacation When
5.   Sign Language
6.   Article: Valentines and Values
7.   New Year's Contest
8.  The Teaching for Respect and Responsibility Seminar         
9. Did You Know?
10. Schedule of Events

1. Quote

"Rewards and punishments are the lowest form of education."

---Chuang-Tzu (philosopher)

2. No Name-Calling Week

January 24-28 has been deemed No Name-Calling Week by GLSEN and Simon and Schuster. Inspired by the young adult novel, "The Misfits," the effort is to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools. The books tells the story of four best friends trying to survive second grade in the face of the all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence and sexual orientation/gender expression.

Tools and inspiration for teachers and schools to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities can be found at

3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

What if real achievement is not about what we know or what we do, but is rather measured by who we are? If so, are you adequately preparing students for their achievement tests?

4. You Know You Need a Vacation When

You know you have been teaching too long when….

You question every guest who leaves your home to see if they have their hats and mittens.

You turn a pizza party with friends into a math lesson about fractions.

You straighten the line waiting to get into your favorite restaurant.

You notice you are grading papers at church.

You frequently correct your spouse's grammar.

You notice the quiet person at your neighbor's party and ask him if he has something to share with the group.

You finish your romantic dinner out on the town in 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

5. Sign Language

A.) Seen in a high school English classroom:

Sentences without verbs---bad idea.

B.) Spotted hanging in a middle school hallway:

The will to win goes hand in hand with the will to prepare.

Noticed prominently displayed in a fifth grade classroom:


Laughter is such a pleasant sound when shared by all. I will not allow ridiculing laughter to be a part of our classroom.

6. Article: Valentines and Values
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

In spite of the cookies, punch, temporary suspension of school work, and the festive atmosphere of this atypical school day, Betsy, a third grader in a suburban Michigan elementary school, was not having a good day. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that she is 30 pounds overweight and just opened her fifth valentine containing a picture of a pig.

Jerrod, a fourth grader in the same school, sulked his way through afternoon recess because of the inordinate number of skunk and cross-eyed boy valentines he received minutes earlier.

Are these incidents isolated and extreme? We think not. Actually they are a part of an annual February ritual called The Valentine's Day Massacre.

Each year, February 14 th is unknowingly used in classrooms to complete the covert task of allowing children to silently and symbolically inform their classmates of how they feel about them. This process, the sorting and distribution of valentines, delivers messages to children as to where they fit in the social hierarchy of the classroom. It's a pictorial sociogram of sorts, with one major flaw--- each child, due to the collection of valentines he accumulates in front of him, is handed a personalized and public signal of where he fits in socially. Since children are able, either consciously or unconsciously, to decipher the silent messages sent through valentines, the experience is potentially damaging for many youngsters. The February ritual can also negatively affect the overall classroom atmosphere.

Examine a box of 50 valentines. Look for the messages they convey.

Typically, valentines send one of three messages:

    • "You're a winner."
    • "You're a loser."
    • "I have no strong feeling about you one way or the other."

A fourth message, "You're invisible," is often sent to the child who receives fewer valentines than other students.

Some children randomly sign their name to any valentine, stuff it in an envelope, and invest no time deciding who gets which particular one. Other children examine valentines thoughtfully, sorting and classifying them, being careful to make sure valentines with specific connotations go to the appropriate people. It is the later who creates problems that result in hard feelings on Valentine's Day.

To prevent a Valentine's Day Massacre in your classroom, why not use the event to help your students learn some valuable lessons about themselves and each other? How about bringing in a packet of valentines two weeks before February 14 th? Display them on the board or let cooperative groups examine a handful before exchanging them with other groups. Challenge students to look at them for biases. Have them complete a questionnaire similar to the one below.

    • Which one would you give your teacher if you wanted to get on her good side?
    • Which one would you give to your teacher if you didn't like her?
    • Which ones would you give to the most intelligent person in the class?
    • Which one would you give to the best liked person in the class?
    • Is there one to give to a thin person?
    • Is there one appropriate for an overweight person?
    • Which one would you give to the class "show off?"
    • Are there valentines that are appropriate for an athlete?
    • Which one would you most likely to give a person with unusual features, (nose, ears, height, etc.)?
    • Is there one that is appropriate for an artist or musician?

How would you feel if……

    • You received the elephant valentine from several people?
    • You got a skunk valentine that was unsigned?
    • You received 12 valentines from a class of 26?
    • Pick a valentine that you feel is biased because of the picture and/or the wording. How would you change it to make it less offensive?
    • Design a valentine of your own choosing. See if your partner can guess for what stereotype it is intended.
    • What ideas to you have to make Valentine's Day a happier time for all the class and bring us closer together?
    • Write a paragraph telling valentine manufacturers what you think of their product.

Adapt or adopt the ideas above. Change them around to fit you and your classroom. Help turn Valentine's Day into what was originally intended, the communication of love, affection, and high regard to the important people in our lives.

Happy Valentine's Day

Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of "The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose," (available from Personal Power Press at toll free 877-360-1477,, and bookstores everywhere). Chick Moorman is also the author of "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish A Child's Spirit."

They publish a FREE email newsletter for parents and another for teachers. Subscribe to them at Visit,, and

7. New Year's Contest

Winner of the New Year's Resolution contest is Richard Harbeck. Richard can now use his $100 gift certificate with Personal Power Press in any manner he chooses. Congratulations Richard. His winning entry follows.

For 2005 I resolve, to keep uppermost in my mind the following question.  As a designer of learning experiences, would I teach this topic this way if my students were going to be tested on it a year after they have moved on, and my salary was then prorated to the results of that assessment of their learning?

Richard Harbeck

Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba

8. The Teaching for Respect and Responsibility Seminar

Announcing public seminars in "Teaching For Respect and Responsibility":

PHOENIX, AZ…………..…..February, 22, 2005

LANSING, MI……………..…March 2, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK….….March 7, 2005

Email today to receive your detailed brochure of this powerful and practical seminar presented by Chick Moorman. Include your mailing address. Send email to


Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are available to keynote your conference or present one of their highly acclaimed full-day seminars for your building or district staff.

Their most popular seminars are:

Celebrate the Spirit Whisperers
Transforming Aggression in Children
Teaching for Respect and Responsibility
Brain Functioning Behavior in Children
Achievement Motivation and Behavior Management

Contact them at or call (toll-free) 877-360-1477 to discuss possible dates and topics.

9. Did you know?

A. Did you know there is a website dedicated to helping k-12 educators find out about grant opportunities? It helps educators apply for and obtain special grants for a variety of projects. Access it at

B. Did you know we never sell, trade, or distribute your email address for any reason, ever?

C. Did you know that if you book us for a full day seminar with your teaching staff, we will stay and do a parent program in the evening at no additional charge?

D. Did you know a window of opportunity can't open itself?

E. Orders for our new book, "The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose" are coming in fast and furious. Bay City Public schools in Bay City, Michigan recently purchased 1000 copies to distribute to all parents who enroll a student during kindergarten round up.

F. Did you know we are looking for people who are committed to helping parents raise responsible, caring, confident children? We are offering two Parent Talk System trainings to teach people to facilitate this exciting and helpful model. Grand Rapids, MI, February 3-5 and Santa Barbara, CA, April 7-9. Send for details at

G. You can reprint any of our articles without permission as long as you publish it in its entirety and keep the tagline that informs readers of how to get a hold of us. Many schools have called or emailed to request permission to use our "Explaining World Tragedy to Children" article. View it at ort


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


Copyright 2005 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.





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