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The Response-Able Educator Newsletter 40

March 17, 2005

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1-877-360-1477


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. Bumper Sticker
    3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
    4. Sign Language
    5. Teacher Talk: Empathetic Responses
    6. It's a Fact
    7. Article: Time Capsules
    8. Questions
    9. Did You Know?

1. Quote

"Every stage of development is complete in itself. The three year old is not an incomplete five year old. The child is not an incomplete adult. Never are we simply on our way! Always we have arrived! Enjoy now!!

-----J. C. Pearce

2. Bumper Sticker

Spotted on a Chevy Nova in Phoenix, AZ:

My Child is a Super Star for Achieving the Superintendent's Math Achievement Club

Alhambra Public Schools

3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

Where do you see confusion today? Can you teach with confusion, through confusion, to confusion? When learning, would confusion or knowing be a better place to begin? Does your teaching reflect your answer to that question?

4. Sign Language

A. Observed on a middle school bulletin board:
You are the author of your own life story.
B. Seen in a high school administrator's office:
I demand responsibility instead of obedience.
C. Noticed in an English teacher's classroom:
Be careful to use adverbs and adjectives correct.
D. Posted in an alternative high school hallway:
Warning: Dates in calendar are closer than they appear.

5. Teacher Talk: Empathetic Responses

Do you feel empathy for your students? Does your Teacher Talk reflect that empathy? Want to find out? Take the following quiz and check yourself.

Directions: Choose the response you are most likely to make in the following situations. Be honest. You will easily be able to determine the most empathetic response. Which one is most empathetic is not the question. What you are looking for is the response you most often choose.

1. One of your students is moving. This is her last day in your classroom. She begins to cry softly at her desk. You tell her:


A. It'll be okay, honey. Lots of kids move.

B. Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about.

C. Don't worry. Lots of good things will happen at the new school.

D. I bet it feels sad to leave here and a bit scary.

2. You remind students of your expectation in regard to a discipline issue. A student in the back of the room blurts out, "Other teachers let us do it." You say:


A. Sounds like you think this is unfair.

B. Which other teachers allow that?

C. Then maybe you ought to switch classes.

D. You should know by now that I'm not the same as every other teacher.

3. A student comes to class late. She approaches your desk and informs you, "I got a detention." Your Teacher Talk is:


A. I told you to stay away from her.

B. You must have been really angry.

C. Didn't we just talk about this?

D. You're a better person than this.

4. In the middle of a solution-seeking discussion with a student, she stammers, "You make me so mad." You respond:


A. Seems like you have been choosing to be mad a lot lately.

B. Well, I'm angry too.

C. I know just how you feel.

D. You sound frustrated.

5. You just explained long division to Robert for the sixth time. His minimal efforts have not produced positive results. He looks up at you and whines, "I can't do it. It's too hard." You tell him:


A. Sure you can. I believe in you. Come on, try.

B. This was hard for me, too, when I was your age.

C. Long division can be very frustrating, can't it?

D. Don't be a quitter. You can do this.

6. Your student looks despondent. You ask her about it and she says, "I don't have any friends. Nobody likes me." Your Teacher Talk is:


A. Have you checked with Madison? I'm sure she'd be your friend.

B. It hurts to feel rejected, doesn't it?

C. That's not true. You have a lot of friends.

D. If you'd be nicer to people, they would be nicer to you.

Answer key: (1.) D, (2.) A, ( 3.) B, (4.) D, (5.) C, (6.) B

Teacher Talk Book

Preview at

(Teacher Talk: What It Really Means, by Chick Moorman and Nancy Weber, is available from Personal Power Press at 1-877-360-1277 or

6. It’s a Fact

    • Each year U.S. schools hire more than 200,000 teachers.
    • By summer, 22,000 have quit.
    • 30% of new teachers quit by the end of their third year.
    • 45% of new teachers leave after five years.
    • 37% of the education workforce is over 50 and considering retirement.

Source: National Education Association

7. Article: Time Capsules

Time Capsules

Chick MoormanBy Chick Moorman

Five weird-looking objects are tucked away in the principal's office in an elementary school in southern Louisiana. They're called "time capsules." Each one looks like a soup can that forgot to stop growing at each end. Actually, each is made of four vegetable cans, soldered together.

The oldest capsule has been stored in the depths of the principal's office for five years. Scotch tape browned by age attaches a message to the outside that reads:

"This time capsule was prepared by the 6th grade, Mrs. Wendell's room, May, 2000. It is to be opened in May of 2005. At that time we will be seniors in high school."

Project Time Capsule began in 1995 when Elaine Wendell heard about the idea at a workshop. The idea resonated for her in a way that inspired her to act, and she put it into effect immediately. Since her initial time capsule effort, Elaine has used the idea with every class she has had. It works like this:

As each school year nears its conclusion, Elaine explains the project to her students. As a class, the students create a time capsule by stuffing vegetable cans with objects and ideas that are significant and meaningful to them at the time. Each class since 1995 has created and tucked away their own collection of items. Pictures, signatures, examples of writing, predictions, tape recordings of their voices, mementos of special events, and other significant items have filled the soldered cans. Each capsule is uniquely filled, reflecting the differences among the groups.

The contents of the time capsule are decided upon by the class during the final week of school. The size of the time capsule limits the amount of material that can be saved, creating the necessity for decisions to be made. Brainstorming occurs. Ideas and thoughts are bounced back and forth as students work to reach consensus on which items best represent their time together as a class. When the final decisions are made, the capsule is sealed.

Once sealed, the can is stashed away deep in the principal's office. It remains there for five years. Students and teachers agree to reunite at the end of that time to open it.

This year, the evening of April 21 will be special for the sixth-grade class of 2000. They will gather on that night to remember and reflect and to open their time capsule. A party has been arranged in the same classroom that the students occupied as sixth graders. All have been contacted. Most will attend.

Maybe some the students recall what they stuffed into the vegetable cans five years ago. Elaine doesn't. For her, the years of creating capsules blur together into one huge memory. What Elaine does remember is the class, and she speaks of it fondly. "We were a special group," she recalls. "Each group has been a special group. It gets that way after you spend a year together. It was really our family for a year. And it will be a family reunion when we get back together."

Project Time Capsule has been a five-year lesson on values, history, time, and change. Through this activity, Elaine has found a way to help students experience history in a most personal way, by living and recording it.

I wonder what's in that time capsule.

Chick Moorman is the author of Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit, available through Personal Power Press (toll-free 1-877-360-1477) and

Spirit Whisperers Book

Preview at

8. Questions

Do we expect one pill to cure colds, bronchitis, ulcers, headaches, allergies, flu, and high blood pressure? No. Then why do we expect detention, the academic equivalent of an empty conference room, to cure daydreaming, tardiness, backtalk, fighting, profanity, stealing, and forgetfulness?

Isn't it time to rethink and retool the one-size-fits-all detention program?

9. Did you know?

A. You can access back issues of The Response-Able Educator Newsletter at Click on newsletter archives. Thirty-nine previous educator newsletters appear there. Each contains a Spirit Whisperer contemplation, feature article, bumper sticker, and Teacher Talk tip.

B. Someone requested to be deleted from the Response-Able Educator Newsletter list a month ago. We figure we'll be over it in a couple more weeks.

C. The bully in your classroom could be a child with leadership qualities who has not yet learned to use them democratically.

D. Success and failure are not necessarily final.

E. Since 1993, teacher wages have fallen 11.5 % relative to workers with similar education and skills. Moreover, there was no improvement in benefits to offset the wage deficit.

F. If you book either of us, Thomas Haller or Chick Moorman, for a full-day seminar with your teaching staff, we will stay and do a parent program in the evening at no additional charge.

G. March 20th is International Parenting Commitment Day. Check to see suggestions for International Parenting Commitment Day rituals, celebrations, and other ideas.

H. It is what we are that gets across, not what we teach.

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:

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

Contact them at or to begin the discussion of possible dates and topics.

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


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