"We find public schools under attack not because they are deemed ineffective,
but because they are public."
Reflection Card for Sixth-Grade Math
I recently attended parent/teacher conferences for my two grandchildren.
I received valuable feedback from a variety of high school and middle
school teachers. My favorite, and the most enlightening, information was
contained on a self-reflection sheet that my grandson Austin had filled
out at the direction of his sixth-grade math teacher. A reproduction of
the self-reflective document follows:
1.) One thing I did well on in Math this marking period was ____________________
2.) In Math this marking period I had the most difficulty with ____________________
3.) My behavior in Math has been _________________________________________
4.) My homework is done/not done on a daily basis________________________
5.) My goal(s) for the next marking period is (are) ____________________________
6.) Mark the following with: M=most of the time, S=sometimes, N=not really.
A. _____ In the classroom I work quietly and independently.
B. _____ I pay attention and concentrate during class.
C. _____ I network with other students to discuss my assignments.
D. _____ My work is well organized in a 3-ring binder.
E. _____ I show my parents my tests and quizzes and they sign them.
F. _____ I show all my work/steps in my homework as required by the teacher.
G. _____ I turn in my assignments on a daily basis.
H. _____ I use my best handwriting in my homework.
I. _____ My homework is completed and looks neat before I turn it in.
J. _____ I receive help at home with my assignments.
K. _____ I receive help from my teacher after/during school.
L. _____ I bring my calculator T130X to class every day.
3. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation [back
How would it change your day if your role were to elicit questions rather
than to ask them?
4. Manage Your Subscription [back
A.) If you are receiving the newsletter as a forward and would like
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C.) Back issues of the Response-Able Educator Newsletter can be found here.
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E.) Please recommend this free e-newsletter to any teachers you know
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Be sure to let us know your old e-mail address so we can unsubscribe it.
A sign displayed in an English teacher's classroom: I am here to stamp
out, eradicate, and eliminate superfluous redundancy.
Questions to Which You Already Know the Answers
Beware of questions to which you already know the answers.
"Do you know where your seat is?"
"Where were you when I explained this?"
"What did I just tell you?"
"Didn't I just explain that?"
"Haven't you started yet?"
These are not questions. They are thinly veiled accusations full of
sarcasm and ridicule. They require no answers. In fact, if a student did
answer one of these questions, he or she would be accused of insolence.
Imagine this exchange:
"Do you know where your seat is?"
"Yes, it's right over there, third row, fourth one back."
Most likely, the student would be considered disrespectful. Actually,
in this case the teacher fired the first shot.
Use Teacher Talk that communicates respect in the midst of frustration
and irritation. Instead of "Do you know where your seat is?" say, "Bill,
I need you in your seat, now!" Replace "Haven't you started yet?" with
"Beth, it's past time to begin. I'll be back in one minute to check your
To use Teacher Talk that is clear, direct, and respectful, eliminate
questions to which you already know the answers.
(Adapted from "Teacher Talk: What It Really Means," by Chick Moorman
and Nancy Weber. This popular book has just gone into its eleventh printing,
a run of 2,000 that brings the total number of copies in print to 32,500.
To celebrate, we have decided to offer a September/October special price
of $10.00 (plus $3.74 shipping and handling). Call for quantity discount
"Eighteen ninety-two! Wow!"
by Chick Moorman
"Hey, look at that big one over there!" "This guy lived over seventy
years." "Eighteen ninety-two! Wow!" "What's this name?" "I don't know,
but look at this!" And the excitement raged on.
These comments came from third-grade students in a rural Michigan town.
They were engaged in learning in the middle of a cemetery within walking
distance of their school. The students' teacher, Helen Haggerty, and the
students themselves had planned and conducted the trip.
These third-graders were doing what increasing numbers of school children
of all ages are doing: they were making constructive use of the environmental
resources close to their school. The immediate neighborhood became the
raw material for study, the motivational tool for piquing student interest,
and the delivery system for interrelating the curriculum.
Helen Haggerty is a teacher who believes that school walls confine
learning. She recently scouted the area surrounding her school and found
several areas of potential study. One that stood out as a natural was
the old cemetery a few blocks away.
Helen suggested to the class that they investigate the cemetery. Her
students responded with enthusiasm and immediately began to create a plan.
Questions arose: "Where do we go?" "What do we want to find out?" "What
data shall we collect?" "What questions do we want answered?" "What materials
do we need?"
The class decided to organize themselves into teams, each team being
responsible for one section of the cemetery. How each team went about
completing its tasks was left up to its members.
Helen laid out minimum assignments and conducted a brainstorming session
with her class about additional options. Each team then discussed the
optional tasks and made decisions as to what elective assignments to complete.
At the graveyard students participated in a wide variety of experiences.
They took notes on information copied from tombstones, measured distances,
computed ages, did tombstone rubbings, and wrote in their journals. They
listed facts, compiled unanswered questions, made sketches, and accumulated
names and dates.
The students were fascinated by such unfamiliar first names as Elijah,
Agnes, Sophie, and Pharoshima. They discovered that some last names were
also the names of streets in their community. They were surprised by the
beauty of their tombstone rubbings, and that activity quickly became a
favorite of many.
When students returned to the classroom that day, they continued their
in-depth study. Subject area lines blurred as students regularly crossed
disciplines to complete their investigations. They wrote stories and created
displays. Follow-up reading, recording of experiences, combining data,
creating a replica to scale, solving math problems, building graphs, writing
poems, arranging bulletin boards, and making diagrams resulted from this
experience at the cemetery.
These third-graders returned to the cemetery three more times to collect
additional data and search for answers to their questions. They found
it to be a fascinating place, one in which history, art, math, and language
arts came alive for them in new and unexpected ways.
8. Respect and Responsibility Seminars [back
"Teaching for Respect and Responsibility" workshops are now being offered
around the country. The fall schedule includes:
This full-day seminar will help you reduce power struggles in your classroom,
cope effectively with disrespectful behaviors, increase respectful/responsible
behaviors in your students, and help students assume increasing amounts
of control over their school lives.
For a full brochure and registration materials, call (toll-free) 877-360-1477
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.