most important factor in improved student learning is with an effective
teacher. Written ten times a year, Harry and Rosemary Wong
feature effective teachers and administrators and what they do to
enhance student learning. The columns provide specific strategies
and activities that you can download and use. An archive of
past articles can be found at the end of every column.
strategies and activities are all based on the teachings and works
of Harry and Rosemary Wong and they are happy to share with the
profession the work of effective teachers. If you have an
effective strategy or technique that works, please share this by
sending it to [email protected].
The Wongs will consider it for sharing in future Effective Teaching
About Harry and Rosemary
and Rosemary Wong are teachers. Harry is a native of San Francisco
and taught middle school and high school science. Rosemary
is a native of New Orleans and taught K-8, including working as
the school media coordinator and student activity director.
Wong has been awarded the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award, the
Science Teacher Achievement Recognition Award, the Outstanding Biology
Teacher Award, and the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal. He was
recently selected as one of the most admired people in the world
of education by readers of Instructor magazine. Rosemary
was chosen as one of California's first mentor teachers and has
been awarded the Silicon Valley Distinguished Woman of the Year
Wong is the most sought after speaker in education today.
He has been called "Mr. Practicality" for his common sense,
user-friendly, no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level
a million teachers worldwide have heard his message. Because
he is fully booked for two years, he has agreed to and has invited
his wife to join him in doing a monthly column for teachers.net
so that more people can hear their message.
About Their Work...
Harry and Rosemary
Wong are committed to bringing quality and dignity to the materials
they produce. For this, they have formed their own publishing company,
of which Rosemary is the CEO. They have dedicated their lives
to leaving a legacy in education and making a difference in the
lives of teachers and students.
Their latest contribution
to helping teachers succeed is an eLearning course, Classroom
Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong. The
course can be taken in private at the learner's convenience.
The outcome of the course is a 2 inch binder with a personalized
Classroom Management Action Plan.
This Action Plan is
similar to the organized and structured plan used by all successful
teachers. Details for the classroom management course can
be seen at www.ClassroomManagement.com.
The Wongs have written
The First Days of School, the best-selling
book ever in education. Over 3 million copies have been sold.
The third edition
of The First Days of School includes an
added bonus, an Enhanced CD featuring Harry Wong. The Enhanced CD,
Never Cease to Learn, is dedicated to
those teachers who know that the more they learn, the more effective
The Wongs have also
produced the DVD series, The Effective Teacher,
winner of the Telly Award for the best educational video of the
past twenty years and awarded the 1st place Gold Award in the International
Film and Video Festival.
They have released
a new set of CDs with Harry Wong LIVE, called How
to Improve Student Achievement, recorded at one of
his many presentations. He is the most sought after speaker
in education and his presentations are legendary.
When the book, video
series, CD, and eLearning course are used together, they form the
most effective staff training tool for developing effective teachers.
Staff developers and administrators who would like to know how to
implement the aforementioned book, video series, and CD are encouraged
to consult the book, New Teacher Induction: How to Train,
Support, and Retain New Teachers. Information about
these products can be found by visiting the publisher's website
The First Days of School with Enhanced CD, Never
Cease to Learn
by Harry & Rosemary Wong
$23.96 from Amazon.com More
The Effective Teacher (Video Set)
Presented by Harry Wong
Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators,
Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education
by Peter M. Senge (Editor), Nelda H. Cambron McCabe, Timothy Lucas,
Art Kleiner, Janis Dutton, Bryan Smith
Eight years ago,
a young teacher approached me (Harry) after I had finished speaking
to the teachers of the El Reno Public Schools in Oklahoma.
I still vividly remember the day—an opening-of-school event
on a Thursday in August 1999. School was set to start on
the following Monday. The teacher said to me, “Mr.
Wong, I will be starting as a brand new teacher on Monday and
I’d like to give you something. Here is my script
for the first day of school.”
That script was given to me by Melissa Pantoja, now Melissa Boone
Hand. The script can be found in our first teachers.net
article, “Your First Day,” which we posted seven years
ago in June
Since that time, we have been sharing the techniques, activities,
and strategies of teachers and administrators for the past seven
years, and we thank you for all for your kind sharing.
A Clue to Being Successful
As many of you may know, the research tells us that over
half of the new teachers leave the profession within their first
five years. This is a shame, as all teachers enter
the profession intending to make a difference in the lives of
Teachers invest money, time, and energy in their education.
But for whatever reasons, some find their hopes and dreams of
being a teacher dashed, and the profession annually loses thousands
of dedicated, energetic, and caring new teachers.
Melissa is not one of those statistics. What Melissa
did her first year of teaching, for her very first day, may be
a clue to the future success of all beginning teachers.
As the title of our book, The First Days of School,
implies and as we say in that book,
What you do on the first days of school will determine your
success or failure for the rest of the school year.
Knowing how to structure a successful first day of school
can literally set the stage for a successful school year.
Effective teachers spend time organizing and structuring the
classroom so students know what to do to succeed.
Melissa Boone Hand, Seven Years Later
There have been many changes and accomplishments in Melissa’s
life over the past eight years, both personally and professionally.
We recently asked Melissa to share some of these changes.
“After eight years in the Elementary Art classroom, teaching
literally thousands of children, I have learned more than I’ve
taught. I now know more than ever about myself and my own
learning style. Rarely does a week go by that I don’t
learn something totally new, even if it is merely learning from
myself. Each year I find new and better ways of learning
Melissa uses visual clues and verbal prompts to guide students
through each situation they encounter during their time together.
She states, “Teaching has become natural to me and at times
the ‘job’ seems easy. Oh Yes! I do work
hard, but the reward is worth it. I feel like I was born
to do what I’m doing.”
Melissa knows that career happiness results from career development.
Her career as an educator is better than ever. Melissa’s
principal often tells her that she’d make a great administrator.
In addition to being a full-time elementary art educator, Melissa
is also on the following committees and boards:
Special Teachers (P.E., Music, Art, and Spanish) - Team Leader
Campus Mentor Teacher Coordinator
Beginning Educators-Successful Teachers (BEST) - new teacher
District Education Improvement Committee (DEIC) - Employee
and Student Dress Code Research Team Chair
Rowlett Arts and Humanities Commission - Regional Young Artist
Exhibit Event Coordinator and Arts Resource Directory Committee
Campus-Wide Annual Fine Arts Festival - Coordinator
Science Vertical Team - Committee Member
District Planning and Zoning Task Force - Member
Melissa has now joined the ranks we call teacher-leader!
Happy professionals will never cease to learn because
they know that change and growth result in success.
Read more about how effective teachers continue their own education
in our April 2005 article, “Never
Cease to Learn.”
Part of Melissa’s career success is a result of her sharing
with and listening to her colleagues. Melissa states, “I
have the mindset that if I want to voice my opinion about what
works and what could work better, then I need to be willing to
jump in and join the ranks of the ‘difference makers’.
“The difference makers are the one who are busy—they
are always studying, researching, and looking for new ways to
raise student achievement, create a better school climate, and
make what we do as educators more efficient and effective.
“I know a lot of good teachers, and a few outstanding teachers.
They work hard at making a difference everyday. You see
joy on their faces and they create an exciting atmosphere within
their classrooms. Spending time with these teachers has
been a source of energy and encouragement for me.
“My advice to anyone pursuing a profession in education
is to prepare yourself for a lot of hard work. A teacher
must have an enduring hope that the small seeds planted each day
will produce an abundant harvest.
“I work hard and get worn down at times but I keep going
because I love what I do. I love being a teacher, and I
love knowing that I am making a positive difference in the lives
of my students.”
Eight years later, Melissa has moved from a simple script
to a full-blown website to communicate with her students and parents.
After viewing Melissa’s website, you can understand why
she says, “I would like to think that I’m becoming
more of a natural born teacher—but in reality I just keep
getting better students. Well, that is what I tell them
anyway. My students know where to sit; they know
what to do the first several minutes of class; and they know what
Melissa Boone Hand’s career success and happiness are a
result of her continuous education, her involvement in various
organizations, her constant growth, and it all began with her
first day of school script. You can read more about all
these steps to becoming a successful professional educator in
The First Days of School.
Summary of Effective Teaching Articles, 2000 to 2007
JUNE 2000--Your First Day
Key Idea: First Day of School Script. Start school
with a first day of school script. One teacher began his
year with fun activities and spent the rest of the school year
chasing after his classes. His first day lacked structure,
which led to his students structuring the class for him. Elementary
school teacher, Melissa Pantoja, began the first day of school
with a script, which led to a successful beginning. Her
script is provided for you to use and adapt to your classroom.
JULY 2000—Applying for your First Job (http://teachers.net/wong/JUL00)
Key Idea: Mentoring is Not Induction. Know the
difference between mentoring and new teacher induction. Statistics
say that teachers entering the profession right now will not be
teaching in three to five years; in fact, many will not even last
a year. To combat the high turnover rate of teachers, many
schools and districts are turning to new teacher induction (not
mentoring) programs to prepare teachers for success in the classroom.
Examples of successful induction programs are provided.
Review them and learn what to look for in your next school.
AUGUST 2000—There is Only One First Day of School
Key Idea: Seven Things Students Want to Know. What
you do the first day of school will determine your success for
the rest of the school year. Discover the seven things all
students want to know on their first day of school, and why a
successful year starts on the first day of school. You would
not expect a truck driver to haul an expensive load without first
making sure he knew how to drive the truck. Neither can
you expect students to succeed if they do not know the routines
and procedures of your class. The seven things all students
want to know are provided so that you can use them to prepare
for your first day of school.
SEPTEMBER 2000—The Problem is not Discipline (http://teachers.net/wong/SEP00)
Key Idea: Manage, not Discipline Your Classes. Learn
how to manage, rather than disciplining your classroom. The
former will enhance student learning, and the latter will wear
you down. Rather than discipline your classes, manage them.
Learn which procedures every class needs to have down before
students can start learning. Create or hone your procedures
so that this school year will be your best school year ever! Suggested
procedures are outlined in the article. Copy and use them
in your own classroom.
OCTOBER 2000—How to Start a Class Effectively (http://teachers.net/wong/OCT00)
Key Idea: Effective Start-up Techniques for Prime Time.
Start your class with an organized routine that includes bellwork
and other effective start-up techniques. The first few minutes
of every class are prime time, so what you do in those first few
minutes determines how on task your students will be. Read
about teachers and schools who have experienced success because
of effective prime-time practices. Use the prime-time examples
as a guide to create your own effective prime-time practices.
NOVEMBER 2000—The First Five Minutes are Critical
Key Idea: The First Five Minutes Are the Most Important.
Make the first five minutes of your class count. Like the
first chapter of a good novel, the beginning of class must capture
students’ attention. Have your students working the
minute they walk into class and you will have their attention.
Once you have achieved this, it is easy to keep them on
task. Use the examples in this article to create your own
bellwork and warm-up activities.
DECEMBER 2000—It’s Not the Students, It’s
the Teacher (http://teachers.net/wong/DEC00)
Key Idea: Effective Teachers Show, not Tell. When
teachers tell us their discipline problems, we refer them to this
article. Ineffective teachers want to “do things”
to students, whereas effective teachers know how to teach procedures.
Rather than telling students what to do, show them how to
do it. Effective teachers, like effective parents, show
students what to do instead of telling and yelling. Even
a student from a negative home environment will respond positively
if teachers follow the steps shared for teaching procedures.
JANUARY 2001—The Miracle of Teachers (http://teachers.net/wong/JAN01)
Key Idea: Thanks, Praise, and Encouragement for the Miracle of
Teachers. Learn what teachers have been doing right,
and how they have improved the American condition exponentially
in a few short years. Teachers are the most amazing professionals
in the world today, and you deserve to be thanked and to know
that their accomplishments are shaping the nation for continued
success. Take heart and encouragement from the stories of
hope in this article. You, the teacher, are a miracle.
FEBRUARY 2001—A Journey of the Heart (http://teachers.net/wong/FEB01)
Key Idea: The Impact of Teachers on Students’ Lives.
This column is about the journey teachers make into the
hearts of their students. What you do everyday, whether
someone tells you or not, touches the lives of your students in
immeasurable ways. Teachers change lives, and the proof
is in every student who has gone on to succeed. If you just
touch even one life as a teacher, you are a success. Learn
to invite students to learn by following the steps in this article.
MARCH 2001—What Successful New Teachers Are Taught
Key Idea: Induction Prepares Teachers for Success. Learn
how induction programs teach new teachers how to become successful
teachers. Start your new career right, in a district that
values its teachers and provides a comprehensive and ongoing induction
program for all teachers new to the district. Know the difference
between mentoring programs and induction programs, and choose
to teach in a district that has a solid, comprehensive program
to help you develop in your chosen career.
APRIL 2001—How to Recognize Where You Want to Be
Key Idea: The Ten Questions to Ask at Your Interview.
Know the ten questions you should ask at your interview
to ensure you choose the school and district that are right for
you. After reading this article, you will be able to recognize
the district you want to teach in and maximize your potential.
Your career depends on the decision you make. Copy
the ten questions you should ask and use them in your next interview.
MAY 2001—How to Motivate Your Students (http://teachers.net/wong/MAY01)
Key Idea: Motivational Activities to Capture Students’ Attention.
Motivate and entice students with discrepant events.
Then, learn how and why to continue the lesson with group collaboration.
Students will remain motivated to do whatever they are instructed
to do. Ideas for discrepant events in different subjects
are provided in this article. Use them to capture the class’
attention and imagination.
SEPTEMBER 2001—How a Good University Can Help You
Key Idea: The Value of a Good University. A good
university will teach you how to be an effective teacher. Sarah
Jones’ experiences at Western Kentucky University enabled
her to begin her teaching career with the proficiency of a veteran
teacher. Her success is due to diligent instruction in everything
from lesson planning to effective classroom management practices.
Before she ever set foot in a classroom, she already had
a comprehensive list of classroom procedures to develop responsible
students. Copy and adapt Sarah Jones’ action plan
to meet the needs of your teaching environment.
NOVEMBER 2001—The Effective Teacher Thinks (http://teachers.net/wong/NOV01)
Key Idea: Effective Teachers Can Implement What Other Effective
Teachers are Doing. Become an effective teacher
by thinking about what you learn, or observe other teachers doing,
and adapting it to meet your unique classroom management needs.
Steve Geiman, a Physical Education teacher in Virginia, thought
about what Harry said at a conference and the wheels began to
spin. The result is an effective and efficient model of
classroom management that has transformed his PE class. Steve's
procedures are outlined in this article. Copy, adapt, and
implement the procedures in your class.
DECEMBER 2001—Van Gogh in Nine Hours (http://teachers.net/wong/DEC01)
Key Idea: Effective Classroom Management Works in Every Situation.
This column illustrates effective classroom management procedures
in two very different environments, the library and an elementary
art classroom. Learn from the success of Betty Hamer and
Jeanne Bayless, as they guide their students to success with routines
and procedures that cut down on the confusion, mistakes, and messes—
and allow students to get down to the business of learning. Both
teachers’ classroom management procedures are featured in
the article for your needs.
JANUARY 2002—A Most Effective School (http://teachers.net/wong/JAN02)
Key Idea: Safe and Productive School Culture Leads to An Effective
School. Transform your school into an effective
school, by creating a school culture that promotes a safe and
productive learning environment starting on day one. Goldfarb
Elementary in Las Vegas, Nevada, has just such a culture. They
developed and maintained a consistent school-wide set of procedures
that have become the foundation for the school’s culture.
Create school-wide procedures using Goldfarb’s procedures
as a guide, and watch your school blossom into an effective learning
FEBRUARY 2002—A Stress-Free Teacher (http://teachers.net/wong/FEB02)
Key Idea: Become a Stress-Free Teacher. Reduce
your work-related stress by enforcing consistent procedures and
routines for all classroom activity and interactions. Liz
Breaux’s structured approach to classroom management has
guided students to success, and has made her classroom virtually
problem-free. Apply her secrets to stress-free teaching,
and begin your own path to a teaching career free from anxiety.
MARCH 2002—Impossible, No Job Openings? (http://teachers.net/wong/MAR02)
Key Idea: Teacher Induction Means Teacher Retention.
Learn how to retain your new teachers with a structured new teacher
induction program that guides them through classroom management,
instructional strategies, and more. By teaching them the
things they need to know before they step foot in a classroom,
you will be setting them up for a successful career. See
the procedures that Medford’s new teachers have created,
and get inspiration for your own list of procedures.
APRIL 2002—Even Superintendents Do It (http://teachers.net/wong/APR02)
Key Idea: Good Leaders Are Models of Success. We
have shared how teachers and principals create and maintain effective
schools. In this article we show you that superintendents
do it, too. Sunnybrook School District #171, under the guidance
of Dr. Joseph Majchrowicz, has developed an effective district-wide
culture based on core values agreed upon by all the member of
the learning community. The district-wide set of procedures
established by Sunnybrook’s learning community, as well
as their four core values, are showcased in this column. Review
this article to select elements of effective teaching to implement
in your school or classroom.
MAY 2002--$50,000 to Replace Each Teacher (http://teachers.net/wong/MAY02)
Key Idea: New Teacher Induction Programs. This
article highlights effective new teacher induction programs and
shares evidence to support the implementation of induction. The
costs of having an effective new teacher induction program are
small in comparison to the cost of losing newly hired teachers.
Use the information in this article to guide you as you
build an effective induction program for your new teachers, or
use the information within this article to guide your quest for
the perfect school or district in which to begin, or continue,
your teaching career.
JUNE - JULY 2002—Teaching Procedures is Teaching
Key Idea: Procedures Start on Day One. Teach your
students procedures starting on day one. Establishing procedures
beginning with the first day of school will set you up for a smooth
school year. Don’t believe us? Read this month’s
column, and learn how teaching procedures teaches your student
what you expect. Use the first day of school script contained
within the article to develop or hone your own first day of school
AUGUST 2002—How to Start School Successfully (http://teachers.net/wong/AUG02)
Key Idea: First Day of School Action Plan. Start
your first day of school with an action plan. Sarah Jones
began planning her action plan, procedures, and activities long
before she ever set foot in a classroom, and it paid off. Use
the sample Action Plan to guide you in creating your own First
Day of School Action Plan, and the Academic Expectations templates
to guide you in creating your statement of academic expectations.
SEPTEMBER 2002—Dispensing Materials in Fifteen
Key Idea: Effective Procedures Make Activities Effortless.
Using procedures will make any classroom activity go off without
a hitch, and will guarantee that all your supplies are accounted
for at the end of the activity. Imagine a school year in
which no supplies are lost and activities flow without a single
discipline problem. Use the time-tested methods for dispensing
and collecting materials contained in this article and never again
lose another ruler!
OCTOBER 2002—Effective Practices Apply to All Teachers
Key Idea: Effective Practices Work in All Classes. Effective
classroom practices apply to all teachers, even foreign language
teachers. Effective teachers can adapt the techniques in
The First Days of School to any classroom environment,
and any subject matter, even high school Spanish! Review
examples of foreign language teachers’ procedures, from
what to do before class starts to procedures for traveling teachers.
Reflect on what you have learned and then adapt your favorite
procedures to implement in your own classroom.
NOVEMBER 2002—A Class Size of 500 (http://teachers.net/wong/NOV02)
Key Idea: How to Manage Your Non-Traditional Classroom.
Imagine standing in front of 500 teenagers, raising a hand,
and having the entire class of 500 become quiet in a matter of
seconds. It is possible. These results are just a
matter of establishing procedures and practicing them with the
students until they become routine. This article examines
the success of teachers in non-traditional classrooms, and illustrates
how even the largest class can be a well-oiled learning machine.
DECEMBER 2002—No Problem With Hurricane Lili (http://teachers.net/wong/DEC02)
Key Idea: Students Remember Effective Procedures. School-wide
procedures can make school flow smoothly even after a devastating
act of nature has shaken the community. Imagine a hurricane
tearing through your community and school, and leaving in its
wake devastation and despair. Now imagine the students returning
to school, shaken but finding a classroom ready for learning.
This is not a fluke; it is a result of consistent and practiced
FEBRUARY 2003—How to Retain New Teachers (http://teachers.net/wong/FEB03)
Key Idea: Teacher Induction is A Multi-Year Commitment.
Retain new teachers by implementing a new teacher induction program.
Induction is a multi-year investment in your new teachers’
career, and in your school/district’s ability to retain
top talent. Induction is a process that includes a variety
of career building activities, from courses in classroom management
practices to how to integrate effective strategies within a lesson
plan. Learn the components of a successful induction program,
and read examples of three commendable induction programs.
Model your approach after these fine examples and watch as your
retention rates rise to unprecedented levels.
MARCH 2003—First Day of School Script (http://teachers.net/wong/MAR03)
Key Idea: First Day of School Scripts Work. This
column provides further proof that first day scripts put teachers
on the road to success. This article shares Melissa Pantoja’s
Daily Class Routine for the Substitute and John Schmidt’s
First Day Script, Procedures, and Class policies. Utilize
these exceptional works to guide your creation of a First Day
Script and lists of your own procedures that will guide your class
to success from day one.
APRIL 2003—The Effective Substitute Teacher (http://teachers.net/wong/APR03/)
Key Idea: Effective Substitutes Employ Effective Practices.
Prepare in advance for your next substitute teaching adventure.
Learn how to create a Sub Pack and what materials it should include.
Print a copy of the Professional Substitute Teachers’
Checklist and use it to organize your daily routine and prepare
for your next subbing job. Peruse the many helpful substitute
teacher links and gather as many additional hints that you can
glean from these valuable resources.
MAY 2003-Applying for A Teaching Job in A Tight Market,
Part 1 (http://teachers.net/wong/MAY03)
Key Idea: Actions that Guarantee Interview Success. This
article teaches the actions that guarantee a successful interview.
There are two critical questions you should ask at your interview.
In this article, we discuss the first question, “Does your
district have a new teacher induction program?” Review
the hints contained in this article as you prepare for your teaching
interview and get ready to ‘wow’ the interviewer.
JUNE - JULY 2003—Applying for A Teaching Job in
A Tight Market, Part 2 (http://teachers.net/wong/JUN03)
Key Idea: The Value of Curriculum and Standards Guides.
This article answers the second question all teachers should ask
when they interview for a position, “Does the district have
a curriculum guide that is aligned to state standards?”
Understanding the state standards and implementing them in a classroom
is hard enough, but to do so without a curriculum guide is suicide.
Be sure that the school you choose has a set curriculum
for each grade, and that it aligns with the state standards. As
a bonus, included are end-of-the-year procedures. Use them
to guide you toward a stress-free summer vacation and new school
AUGUST 2003—How to Start A Lesson Plan (http://teachers.net/wong/AUG03)
Key Idea: Creating Effective Lesson Plans. Discover
how to begin lesson planning when there is no curriculum guide
to steer you. Many districts do not have curriculum guides,
and most teachers do not leave behind collections of curriculum
and activities to assist a beginning teacher. Follow the
Steps to Creating an Effective Assignment and begin your lesson
planning with confidence.
FEBRUARY 2004—The Effective Teacher Adapts (http://teachers.net/wong/FEB04)
Key Idea: Getting Out of Survival Mode. This article
explores the realities of survival mode, and explains how to move
beyond survival to mastery. If you are in survival mode,
you must read this article. It contains wisdom that will
help you to become the teacher you always dreamed you would be.
The article also contains an innovative adaptation of the
Tote Tray System. We invite you to explore and adapt this
method for use in your own classroom.
MARCH 2004—A Well-Oiled Learning Machine (http://teachers.net/wong/MAR04)
Key Idea: Classroom Management in the Diverse Classroom.
This article features the classroom management plan of Nathan
Gibbs, which has turned his class into a well-oiled machine.
Consistent classroom management will even make the most behaviorally
challenged child take note and perform his best. Adapt the
procedures you find in this article to meet the needs of your
APRIL 2004—What to Do When They Complain (http://teachers.net/wong/APR04)
Key Idea: Respond to Complaints the Right Way. This
article highlights the proper response to complaints and presents
further examples of Nathan Gibbs’ procedures that you can
modify for use in your classroom. In every group there will
be at least one person who complains; this includes any given
group of students. We share insight into how to deal with
those complaints without becoming upset, and how to promote critical
thinking and problem-solving skills at the same time! Try
the complaint procedure, and see how it changes the dynamics in
MAY 2004—His Students are All Certified
Key Idea: Effective Classroom Management is Universal.
Classroom management procedures are universal and can be used
to create a successful learning environment from Pre-K to Technical
College and beyond. The career changing management and teaching
strategies of Jeff Smith are featured. His is a story of
both teacher and student success.
AUGUST 2004—How to Help Students With Their Assignments(http://teachers.net/wong/AUG04) Key Idea: Provide Students With an Agenda.
After teaching for over ten years, Carol Brooks, a middle school
teacher in South Carolina, came up with a solution to the problem
of student organization. In time, her classes of underachieving
students were doing so well that the parents, who didn’t
even know what she was doing, were “screaming” “Get
my kid into that notebook class!” Carol’s one-page
agenda is shared.
SEPTEMBER 2004—How Procedures Saved a Teacher’s
Life (http://teachers.net/wong/SEP04) Key Idea: Be Prepared for an Emergency.
Heather Chambers, who teaches kindergarten in Denton, Texas, had
a diabetic seizure and collapsed in class. Because of her
health condition, Chambers developed a very simple, but highly
effective procedure for her class in case she had a seizure.
In deed, she had a seizure and because her class knew the procedure
of what to do, they saved her life.
OCTOBER 2004—The Saints of Education
(http://teachers.net/wong/OCT04) Key Idea: The Need for Structure. The demands
on the teachers of special education students are enormous.
The work is emotionally and physically draining. The stress
is considerable. The magnitude of the workload is colossal.
Yet, there are some who do well and are truly the “saints
of education. Typical of these teachers is Robin Zarzour
who works with children with a variety of disabilities—Autism,
speech and language delays, ADHD, severe behavior, and with physical
and developmental handicaps.
NOVEMBER 2004—PowerPoint Procedures
Key Idea: Present Procedures in PowerPoint. Some
teachers duplicate pages and distribute them to students.
Some teachers make charts and attach them to the walls.
Some teachers make overlays and display them with a projector.
And Kazim Cicek in Tulsa, Oklahoma, communicates his classroom
management procedures to his classes with a PowerPoint presentation.
JANAURY 2005—The First Ten Days of School (http://teachers.net/wong/JAN05)
Key Idea: It’s All in How You Begin. Jane
Slovenske’s success with her students begins on the very
first day of school. She spends the first ten days of school
teaching and reinforcing those behaviors and standards her students
will need to succeed in her classroom. Jane shares what
she teaches on the first ten days of school.
FEBRUARY 2005—The Power of Procedures (http://teachers.net/wong/FEB05)
Key Idea: The First Day Comes. The first day of
school finally came. Her lesson plans were ready.
The desks were in order. The PowerPoint was ready to go.
Chelonnda Seroyer, a first year teacher, had not even entered
the classroom yet. The first minute of her first year as
a new teacher had not begun. Standing at the door dressed
in a suit, she was greeting her students when she had this eerie
feeling. She turned to look in her classroom and the students
had already started working on the assignment. Yes!
She was now confident that this was going to be a good day.
It turned out to be a great year. Learn what she did.
March 2005—His Classroom is a Real Life Office
Key Idea: Don’t Leave the Profession. Ed
Lucero was miserable! He thought about leaving the teaching
profession. He decided to give it one more try, but knew
he had to make some radical changes. He restructured his
classes to be more business like. This corresponded with
the classes that he was teaching—Business, Marketing, and
Finance. It worked and he loves teaching again.
April 2005—Never Cease to Learn
Key Idea: Effective Teachers Go to Conventions to Learn.
Never, never cease to learn. Go to at least one conference
a year. Conferences are very easy to understand. This
column explains how conferences are structured. Go and listen
to the professional attitude of successful teachers. They
are all participating, contributing, and doing. Everyone
is doing and not complaining. It is heart-warming and contagious.
You go back to school fully charged with a positive attitude and
proud that you are a teacher.
May 2005—Improving Student Achievement is Simple,
Part 1 (http://teachers.net/wong/MAY05)
Key Idea: It’s the Teacher. It’s the
teacher – what the teacher knows and what the teacher does
in the classroom -- that results in student learning. Improving
student achievement is very simple. It’s the teacher
and how the teacher instructs. When teacher instruction
is effective, you will see improved student learning. In
fact, the most effective teachers produce as much as six times
the learning gains as the least effective teachers.
June 2005—Improving Student Achievement is Simple,
Part 2 (http://teachers.net/wong/JUN05)
Key Idea: It’s Still the Teacher. It is the
teacher who holds the key to student achievement. And, it
is the district that holds the key to lifelong professional development
of teachers. Everything the district does should focus on
student learning. And training teachers to become the best
teachers possible must become the priority for a district.
The students deserve no less than the very best teacher—every
AUGUST 2005—The Most Important
(http://teachers.net/wong/AUG05) Key Idea: Morning Routine. A high performing
school has a culture of consistency that must be established the
first day and first week of school. See how an elementary
school establishes a culture of consistency every morning with
a morning routine on the playground. They do this with a
staff that works together in a professional learning community.
SEPTEMBER 2005—A Successful First Day Is No Secret
Key Idea: It’s All in How Your Start.
On the first day of school, Elise brought in a roll of toilet
paper for a fun activity. She left teaching after two days.
Sarah Jondahl came to school on the first day of school with a
binder complete with a management plan. Today Sarah is an
accomplished fifth-year teacher. Sarah’s classroom
management action plan is the heart of the eLearning course featured
on the web site www.ClassroomMangement.com.
OCTOBER 2005—Classroom Management Is Not Discipline (http://teachers.net/wong/OCT05) Key Idea: The Difference Between Management and Discipline. Ineffective
teachers discipline their classes with rules and punishments.
Effective teachers manage their classrooms with procedures and
routines and the joy of a productive working environment.
It’s never too late to implement classroom management techniques
in your classroom. Alternative certification teacher Diana
Greenhouse shares how she has set up her classroom for student
NOVEMBER 2005—The Emergency Teacher (http://teachers.net/wong/NOV05) Key Idea: Trials of a First Year Teacher.
Without certification or training—an “emergency teacher”—Christina
Asquith is hired on the spot and (unknowingly) assigned to the
classroom that few veteran teachers would take—sixth grade
in the city’s oldest school building, in a crime-infested
neighborhood known as The Badlands. Christina asks the two
classic questions: Why are American inner-city public schools
failing? And can one young, motivated person make a difference?
Her story reminds us all to stay steadfast to our dreams of helping
DECEMBER 2005/JANUARY 2006—Fifty Years Ago Today,
the Legacy(http://teachers.net/wong/DEC05) Key Idea: Rosa Parks. Effective teachers
know that the rewards go only to the professionals. They
are the happiest, make the most money, get the most respect, and
are the most successful. Professionals have arrived at this
happy state in life because they build on strengths, not on weaknesses.
The professional educator chooses to always learn and grow.
The professional educator is on an endless journey; looking for
new and better ideas, new information, and improved skills to
further student success.
FEBRUARY 2006—What Teachers Have Accomplished
(http://teachers.net/wong/FEB06) Key Idea: Teacher Accomplishments. Given
the staggering statistics children face each day, our job as a
teacher is unchanging. Homeless, neglected, abused, malnourished,
impoverished children—we welcome them all into the classroom
and nurture them, love them, and teach them. You, the teacher,
make the difference in the lives of children and we say, “Thank
MARCH 2006—The Success of Special Ed Teachers
(http://teachers.net/wong/MAR06) Key Idea: Three Special Ed Teachers. The
demands on the teachers of special education students are enormous
and the rewards are equally enormous. These are the wonderful
teachers who have the skill to bring order and structure to the
lives of their students and who have the kind and understanding
hearts to see all children as capable and worthy. In this
column, we will revisit with Robin Zarzour and also with two other
special education teachers, Charlotte Empringham of Canada, and
Dan Seufert of North Carolina.
APRIL 2006—They're Eager to Do the Assignments
(http://teachers.net/wong/APR06) Key Idea: Standards and Objectives, Elementary.
If students know what they are to learn, you increase the chances
that the students will learn. This is how Julie Johnson
does it: 1. She decides what she wants her students to learn;
2. She shows them what they are to learn; 3. They practice or
do the assignment on what they are to learn; and 4. They are tested
on what they know they are to learn. Julie says, “There
are no secrets as to what is expected of them. When I do
this they all succeed.”
MAY 2006—An Alternative Certification First Year
(http://teachers.net/wong/MAY06) Key Idea: Standards and Objectives, High School.
Many teachers begin teaching without a clear lesson plan format
or an operational curriculum. Even fewer receive curricula
that are aligned with state standards. Norm Dannen is presently
in the New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey, a program for people
seeking an alternative route to teaching. They give their
teachers in training a template to use as a lesson plan format.
Norm created a 15-day unit to have students interpret The
Great Gatsby artistically, thematically, and historically.
He shares his rubric with you in this article.
AUGUST 2006—Effective Teachers Are Proactive
Key Idea: Creating a Classroom Community. Effective
teachers have a plan to prevent problems. Then they proactively
work the plan. Barbara De Santis is ready and organized
from the first day of school. She has a Classroom Management
Plan. She builds a Classroom Community by teaching her students
to respect and celebrate the success of others. Learn more
about Barbara’s plan and why thinking like Gumby, Darwin,
and Disney helps her.
SEPTEMBER 2006—A 92 Percent Homework Turn-in Rate
Key Idea: Use of a Personal Responsibility Card.
Two effective teachers, Chelonnda Seroyer and Barbara De Santis,
share how they use Pink Slips to improve homework turn-in rates.
Find out who they “stole” the idea from and how they
each made it their own. Plus, tips on how to improve your
homework turn-in rate and a few procedures for orchestrating homework
for maximum effectiveness. Remember, effective teachers
never cease to learn, especially from each other.
OCTOBER 2006—Assessing Student Progress with a
Key Idea: Give Students a Scoring Guide. The role
of the teacher is not to grade a student. The teacher’s
main role is to help every student reach the highest possible
level of achievement. The purpose of a test should be to
assess what the student has learned so that further learning can
be planned. Read how Norm Damen’s rubric helps to
engage his students while assessing what they learn. The
tone of your classroom will change when the students see that
you are there to help them progress through the year.
NOVEMBER 2006—How to Write a Rubric
Key Idea: Steps to Writing a Rubric. Give students
a rubric before each assignment. Structure each lesson so
that the students know beforehand what they are to accomplish.
Decide what factors you are looking for as this will tell you
if students have learned what you want them to learn. Oretha
Ferguson’s prose poetry rubric is model shared. And
her success goes way beyond a single lesson. Her classroom
is structured and organized from day one.
DECEMBER 2006—January 2007–Rubrics in Two
Key Idea: Rubrics Apply to All Grade Levels. Two
college professors use rubrics to train future teachers.
Dr. Lena Nuccio-Lee found herself teaching an online class for
the first time after Hurricane Katrina left her without a classroom
and the majority of her teaching materials. She used rubrics
to make her course a success. Carla Boone uses rubrics to
guide and grade the results of her course for new teachers at
the College of Mainland, Texas. Learn what success follows
from using rubrics from these effective teachers.
FEBRUARY 2007—Students Want a Sense of Direction
Key Idea: Constructing Your Own Rubric. Kathy Monroe
uses a picture rubric to vividly show her students how their work
will be evaluated. Karen Rogers uses short and simple rubrics
to guide her science students. Diana Greenhouse created
a rubric using a teacher tool called RubiStar. All of their
rubrics have three parts, involve students in the assignments,
and help assess what the students have learned. Review their
rubrics and create your own to foster student and teacher success.
MARCH 2007—Classroom Management Applies to All
Key Idea: Observe, Reinvent, and Implement Procedures.
Stacey Allred is a special education teacher who knows that classroom
management is applicable to all teachers, regardless of grade
level or setting. The key to becoming a successful classroom
manager is to observe procedures practiced by other effective
teachers. Then reinvent their procedures to meet your classroom
needs. Finally, you must practice your procedures with your
class. Specific examples from various effective classroom
managers are shared.
APRIL 2007—How to Train, Retain, and Sustain Effective
Key Idea: Generation Y and the Success of Induction Programs.
There is a new generation entering the teaching profession.
The Millennials are a generation poised to be lifelong learners
and collaborators. They are team-based learners and thrive
on collaboration. To meet the needs of this new generation
entering the profession, induction programs focus on a group approach.
Learn from Dr. Linda Lippman and others about their successful
programs for the Millennial teacher.
MAY 2007—Effective Teachers End the Year Successfully
Key Idea: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.
Beth Sommers knows that an ounce of preparation can save a ton
of time and trouble. She spent the summer before her first
year as a classroom teacher preparing herself and her classroom
for the first days of school. Beth made contact with her
students and their parents before the school year began.
She greeted her students with an impressive PowerPoint presentation,
which she later shared with her students’ parents.
View Beth’s PowerPoint presentation and learn how she was
a successful first year teacher from start to finish.
It’s Not the Grade Level or Academic Area
This summer, browse through our seven years of columns
and you will note that all successful teachers transcend their
grade level or academic area.
As we look over the seven years of articles, there are
two recurrent themes:
Effective teachers can implement. Effective
teachers have the ability to implement someone else’s
work, regardless of their grade level, subject matter, or even
professional field. They are able to steal the work, change
it to fit their own situation, and use it in their classroom.
Effective teachers don’t need articles specific to their
grade level or subject.
Effective teachers are proactive. Effective
teachers have learned how to prevent problems, rather than react
to problems. They are proactive and not reactive.
Reactive teachers blame the school or neighborhood environment,
or want specific punishments or consequences. We answer,
“You don’t ‘do something’ to someone.”
Rather, you proactively have a classroom management
plan that prevents problems from occurring.
As you enjoy your summer, please reflect on the successes of
the teachers and administrators we have chronicled in our seven
years of columns. Know that you can succeed just as easily.
Our August column will kick off the new
We’ll share how two teachers in an urban setting
start the year with a classroom management plan.
Start planning your plan now. You have the summer to steal
from these articles and create a classroom where the students
are responsible and the classroom hums with learning.
As the school year progresses, tweak and work your plan.
We’d love to hear about your successes and, with your permission,
share what you do with others.
May the summer be one of rejuvenation for you and your classroom.
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