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The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 4
June, 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. Personal Ad

7. Win a Free Spirit Whisperer Book

8. Article: "Spilled Soup for the Soul "

9. Subscription Information


1. Quote [back to top]


"The measure of a person's integrity is what they do when they think they can get away with it."


2. Idea Exchange [back to top]


Paragraph Piles

To seek student input and help them learn to articulate their opinions, pick a controversial topic that fits with your subject matter. Design a question to elicit responses. Examples include: What animal do you think is most likely to become extinct? What should be done about the school lunch program? Which explorer made the most important contribution to his country?

Have students write a one paragraph response on a file card. Challenge them to explain why they believe as they do?

File cards are collected and placed in a pile. Two students then split the paragraph pile and alternately read the paragraphs aloud. Discussion follows.


3. Humor [back to top]


Learn from the mistakes of other teachers. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.


4. Teacher Talk [back to top]


"Say you're sorry."

Asking students in the midst of strong emotion to deny their feelings and apologize does them a disservice. When our Teacher Talk to angry students is, "Tell him you're sorry," the real message we communicate is, "Forget what you'd really like to say. Hold back your anger. Choke off your frustration. Numb your real feelings and pretend they don't exist.

If a student is not sorry, use your Teacher Talk skills to help the student get in touch with her real feelings and communicate them in descriptive, nonjudgmental language. Say, "Tell him you are angry because when he called you the name it felt like a put down." Suggest, "Let Roberto know that you were frustrated because he is spending so much time on the computer."

Drop "Say you're sorry," from your Teacher Talk repertoire and teach students that to be sorry means to behave differently. Teach them to communicate what they learned and what they intend to do differently next time. "I learned you don't like me cutting in front of you in line and it's my intention not to do that again." "I realize now that you don't like me copying off your paper. I won't do that anymore."

(Paraphrased from p. 124, "Teacher Talk: What It Really Means," by Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber (available from Personal Power Press, $13.95 at 877-360-1477 or



5. Question [back to top]


What would your day be like..... if just for today, you did not focus on what the student was doing, but focused instead, on what you were being in relationship to that?


6. Personal Ad [back to top]


Wanted: Teaching position, grades 7-12, history and/or social studies. Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek or other Southwestern Michigan area school. Likeable young man, hard working, dedicated to meeting the needs of students, sense of humor, believes all children can learn. On the Dean's list at Western Michigan University the past two years. (Contact Matt Moorman at


Editor's note: Yes, it is more than a coincidence that the above mentioned applicant has the same last name as yours truly. Matt is my son and I'd be happy to tell you everything I know about him and why I am proud for him as he begins his teaching career. (


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


7. Win a Free Spirit Whisperer Book [back to top]


A free copy of "Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish A Child's Spirit," will be sent to the 10th person who sends us a question, idea, suggestion, concern, or reaction for the Response-Able Educator Newsletter. Contact in an effort to win this 200+ page book that gives many ideas on how to teach from the heart.


8. Article [back to top]


Spilled Soup for the Soul

Ivonne Delaflor teaches a class in meditation to young children in Cancun, Mexico. The three, four, and five-year olds learn such concepts as:

         1. My  emotions have a name.

         2. How to recognize feelings.

         3. Moving with energy.

         4. Creative visualization.

         5. Drawing emotion through color.

The use of music plays an important role in Ivonne’s format. She chooses music for children designed to uplift their spirits, like the CD, “Chicken Soup For Little Souls.” She also selectively mixes in art and video in an effort to help young children learn what it is to be a human being.

After one of the sessions for preschoolers, Ivonne invited the children of her small class and their moms to have lunch in her home. Carrot soup was the main entrée on that particular day. Conversation and a sense of community were flowing freely when Manuel, a four-year old spilled his soup on the floor. Although the spill was unintentional, tension and stress entered the scene.

Manuel’s mom momentarily held her breath and her anger. Although she attempted to appear calm, her anger was visible to every person who shared that moment. Ivonne, immediately conscious of the mom’s reaction, also noticed Manuel. The young child, embarrassed and afraid, began to shake, uncontrollably.

A brief moment of awkwardness was evident until Ivonne made a split-second decision. She spilled her soup. Accidentally, of course, and on purpose.

All eyes now turned to the teacher. “These things happen,” Ivonne announced to the group. “Sometimes I get distracted and sometimes I don’t. This time I just got distracted. I’ll just clean up my soup and the problem will be solved.”

When Ivonne finished explaining her situation to the students and mothers, her three-year old daughter “accidentally” spilled her soup and repeated the exact words that Ivonne had used to explain the previous spillage.

As clean up of the three soups proceeded,  Manuel became noticeably relieved and appeared at ease. His mother, watching the scene unfold, began to cry. She stood, walked to Ivonne, and whispered, “Thank you.” “What for? asked Ivonne. “When soup is spilled we just clean it up.”

Later that day, Ivonne spoke to her daughter and reminded her about the importance of keeping soup in  bowls, mouths, and stomachs and off the floor. After all, it is not always appropriate to spill soup for the soul.

Note:  You may contact Ivonne Delaflor by email at Her English website is currently under construction.




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


Copyright 2002 Chick Moorman Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.



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