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 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 the work of
effective teachers with the profession. If you have an effective
strategy or technique that works, please share this by sending it
to [email protected].
About Harry and Rosemary
Harry 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.
Harry 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. Rosemary
was chosen as one of California's first mentor teachers and has been
awarded the Silicon Valley Distinguished Woman of the Year Award.
Harry 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 student success.
Nearly 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.
contribution to helping teachers succeed is an eLearning course on
The course can be taken in private at the learner's convenience.
The outcome of the course is
a 2 inch binder with your own
Classroom Management Action Plan.
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 2.9 million copies have
A 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 video 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, speaking
on How to Improve Student Achievement, as he speaks
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,
and 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 at www.EffectiveTeaching.com
The First Days of School with Enhanced CD, Never
Cease to Learn
by Harry & Rosemary Wong
$18.30 from Amazon.com
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
see how this applies to me. I teach high school and this
all looks so elementary,” is a statement we hear
all too often – with embarrassment. When we respond
to these teachers and tell them we want to help if they would
tell us what they want as a high school teacher, we never hear
from them. Follow us and you may understand why we never
get an answer.
An Aha Moment
Stacey Allredis a special education
teacher in Hobart, Indiana. Her success as a teacher
is based on her knowledge and experiences that special education
teachers, as well asall teachers, must
be effective classroom managers to become effective teachers.
She says that what we, the Wongs, teach in our books, videos,
and eLearning course about classroom management is so easily connected
to all teachers whether a person is teaching in a regular classroom,
a resource setting, or in an inclusive setting. Children
with behavior problems or learning problems need structure and
routine even more than the typical student! She
continues that structure is simply a form of task analysis, which
is the breakdown of a task step by step. Read October 2004,
Saints of Education,” for a similar story.
Stacey also teaches at Indiana University Northwest and her students
are general education students. She focuses on assessment
and remediation of students with mild handicaps and learning disabilities,
which she teaches to special education teachers as a method of
teaching. Her class also focuses on procedures and routines
as the basis for classroom management.
To see what she teaches, click here
for a sample of some her visuals.
She uses an “Aha” (pronounced Ah-Ha) method
to engage her students. She distributes “Aha”
sheets and stops at intervals during her presentation and discussion
to allow the students to write “Aha” or light bulb
moments on how they can implement what they see or hear to their
For instance, effective teachers know about using “bell
work” to get their students to work when class starts.
or see page 121 in The First Days of School
for an explanation of this technique.
Five high school physical education teachers at Spaulding High
School in Rochester, New Hampshire, heard Harry at a meeting talk
about bell work. They did not complain that they did not
have a chalkboard to write down the bell work assignment.
They had an Aha moment. When their students walk into the
gym, this is what they see:
By the way, the teachers are not standing behind the assignment
when the students walk in. They posed for the picture knowing
that Harry would show this picture all over the world when he
lectures. They wanted to show how well they can
think and implement.
If you want to see how another high school physical education
teacher implements this technique, please go to November 2001,
Effective Teacher Thinks.”
Like Stacey, we do not believe in giving teachers pat answers
on what to do. We would prefer to share what other teachers
have done successfully in their own classrooms, regardless of
grade level and subject matter, and allow each teacher to generate
his or her own classroom management plan.
This is the approach we take in our eLearning course on Classroom
Management. We present how over 30 teachers manage their
classrooms, ranging across the spectrum of teachers. Over
half of the examples are high school teachers.
In fact, in the opening graphic two of the three teachers are
high school teachers.
Our assignment to the person taking the eLearning course is to
reflect on what these teachers are doing and create a binder with
their own classroom management plan.
When Susan Riedel of Galveston, Texas, finished the online course,
“I have come away with a great binder that will
organize my classroom. This was truly an exciting course.”
Effective teachers have procedures and these procedures are part
of a classroom management plan. Procedures transcend all
grade levels and all academic subjects. Classroom
management applies to ALL teachers.
What we share is not just for elementary teachers. It is
not just for secondary teachers. It is for all teachers.
In fact we received a letter recently from a college instructor,
Susan Monfet, of Montclair State University and Bloomfield College
in New Jersey. She says, “I teach Classroom Management.
In searching for information for teaching the course, I came across
your book and the online program. I have since adopted your
book as a text for the class. The information was not only
useful for my students for the management of their own classrooms,
I also found the information useful for me as a college
instructor in managing my college classes.”
Regardless of the grade level or subject area taught, all well
managed classrooms have similar procedures, such as:
Bell work assignment
Opening morning procedures
Students entering procedures
Students leaving procedures
Walking in the hall procedures
Procedure if student finishes early
Getting the class’s attention
Quieting the class procedure
Listening to/responding to questions
Getting the teacher’s attention
Roll taking procedure
Disaster drill procedures
End of class/day dismissal procedures
Investing in Student Success
Sue Moore teaches kindergarten in Hobart, Indiana.
She was present at one of Stacey Allred’s classes and was
introduced to The First Days of School and
saw the video series, How to Be an Effective Teacher.
She said she had an immediate Aha, because she recognized the
positive impact that specific procedures and routines could have
in her kindergarten classroom.
She reflected on areas in her classroom that needed consistent
procedures the most. She thought. She implemented.
She began by writing and implementing carpet time, center time,
and table procedures. Later, she added restroom and coatroom
These procedures were so successful that she incorporated procedures
into her Writer’s Workshop curriculum.
Then she had a magnificent Aha. She made visual
charts to remind her students of all the procedures.
These were created because she wanted all of the procedures to
be seen and understood by all of her students: non-readers,
as well as students with special needs.
She searched for clip-art to illustrate each procedural step
and then hung the charts at the appropriate locations within the
classroom. Additionally for the table procedures, she placed
them in stands so everyone at the tables could see them.
It worked great!
to see more of her classroom procedures.
She taught the procedures using the three-step method explained
on page 177 of The First Days of School.
She happily remarked that the procedures became automatic routines
in several weeks.
Sue said that the time invested in practicing and rehearsing
the procedures was well worth it! For instance, when one
of her students ran from the classroom to the coatroom, another
student corrected him by pointing to our coatroom procedure sign
and reminding him that our first procedural step is to “Walk.”
She says, “My young students have become much more independent
and are very clear of my expectations. Consequently, I have
more opportunity during the school day for individualized instruction.
“My kindergarten classroom is on the road to becoming a
well-oiled learning machine!”
We featured three teachers; two of them were Diana Greenhouse
and Karen Rogers. Diana used a technique called “Inner-Outer
Discussions." This is how she got or “stole”
the technique. She has a daughter in tenth grade and this
technique was used by her high school English teacher.
Diana took this high school technique and modified it
for her fifth grade class.
Procedures Are a Work in Progress
Karen Rogers is a high school teacher in Kansas.
Last month she shared her scoring guide or rubrics in "Student
Wants a Sense of Direction."
This month we are excited to share her first day of school script
or classroom management plan.
to see a Power Point presentation of her classroom procedures.
Here are some of Karen's comments about her presentation.
1. As a master record of classroom procedures
It is a great feeling to have all my classroom procedures written
down in one location. On Power Point, my list is easily
accessible and can be modified as needed.
2. At the beginning of the school year
I think it is very important to explain, rehearse, and reinforce
procedures at the very beginning of the school year and throughout
the year as well. I spend about 20 minutes explaining
procedures with the Power Point. Sometimes I give students
points for writing down the most important procedures, such
as entering class, quieting the class, and dismissing class.
3. As a reminder, or reinforcer
I print, post, or refer to certain slides on the Power Point
to reinforce a procedure. For example, if students start
lingering at the door or talk as they enter the classroom instead
of getting seated and getting to work, I remind them of the
proper procedure to enter the classroom. Sometimes I will
hold up a printed copy of the slide. Then I check on them
the next day. I either thank them for doing it properly,
or I remind them of the procedure again and have them practice
the proper procedure for entering the classroom.
4. Something to share with others
The key to good classroom management is having procedures and
routines in place. I am happy to share with other teachers
who can use my Power Point presentation to customize and create
their own master list of procedures.
5. Work in progress
I review and revise my classroom procedures every August before
school starts. It helps me reset myself so I am prepared
for students. Procedures and routines improve
the classroom climate and maximize the learning time for students.
Karen says, “Procedures are such an important part
of classroom management. They work at all levels.
In my high school classroom, if I don't reinforce a procedure
throughout the year (for example, being seated for dismissal)
it becomes a management problem later in the school year when
I spend time at the end of the hour repeatedly saying, "Be
“With procedures, I take time to remind students about
the dismissal procedure, I practice it that day, and I thank students
for doing it right. Students get used to it and they expect
“I simply and strongly believe in the power of
procedures. I used to lack confidence thinking
teaching procedures seemed like I was talking down to high school
students. However, if I didn't rehearse and reinforce, I
regretted it later.
"Now I embrace the fact that I teach procedures in the classroom
and I make a big deal about procedures. It gives me student
My high school classroom flows much more smoothly with
procedures than without!
Observe, Reinvent, and Implement
What works in a kindergarten class works in any other
What works in a high school classroom also works in any
All you have to do is observe what successful teachers do, regardless
of what or where they teach. Then you prepare yourself to
have an Aha moment and modify the technique for your classroom.
It’s then all yours to use with success.
And don’t forget to share your success with others.
Allow others to observe what you do in the classroom, share a
list with a colleague, demonstrate a technique at a workshop so
that others can steal from you and modify your work for their
Become a catalyst of success for teachers—no
grade or subject matter they teach!
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