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December 2002
Vol -1 No 12
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About Effective Teaching

The 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.

These 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 hwong@harrywong.com. The Wongs will consider it for sharing in future Effective Teaching columns.

About Harry and Rosemary Wong...

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.  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 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.

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 they become.

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 at www.EffectiveTeaching.com or www.HarryWong.com.

Best Sellers

The First Days of School with Enhanced CD, Never Cease to Learn
by Harry & Rosemary Wong
$23.96 from Amazon.com
More information

 


The Effective Teacher (Video Set)
Presented by Harry Wong

8 DVDs, with Facilitator's Handbook in PDF, book The First Days of School, and storage case, $695.00 from EffectiveTeaching.com (volume discounts available)
More information

 

Classroom Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong
eLearning course for individual use, CEUs available Preview the course and order at www.ClassroomManagement.com $124.95 (Group discounts available.)

 


How to Improve Student Achievement
Hear Harry Wong Live! in this 2 CD set
$31.95
More information

 


New Teacher Induction:  How to Train, Support, and Retain New Teachers
by Annette L. Breaux, Harry K. Wong

$24.05 from Amazon.com
More information

 



Pathways: A Guide for Energizing & Enriching Band, Orchestra, & Choral Programs
by Joseph Alsobrook

$12.57 from Amazon.com
More information

 


Results : The Key to Continuous School Improvement
by Mike Schmoker

$20.95 from Amazon.com
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Improving Schools from Within : Teachers, Parents, and Principals Can Make the Difference
by Roland Sawyer Barth

$13.30 from Amazon.com
More information

 


A First-Year Teacher's Guidebook, 2nd Ed.
by Bonnie Williamson, Marilyn Pribus (Editor), Kathy Hoff, Sandy Thornton (Illustrator)

$17.95 from Amazon.com
More information

 


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

$24.50 from Amazon.com
More information

 


The Courage to Teach : Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
by Parker J. Palmer

$16.76 from Amazon.com
More information

 


If You Don't Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students : Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers
by Neila A. Connors

$13.96 from Amazon.com
More information

 

Effective Teaching...
by Harry and Rosemary Wong

December / January 2002

No Problem With Hurricane Lili


Just think how effective your school would be if the classroom management procedures described in the following story were quickly and systematically taught to everyone at a structured district or school-site new teacher induction program, resulting in a school climate that is consistent, safe, and friendly.

On October 3, 2002, Hurricane Lili roared through south Louisiana and devastated the city of Ville Platte, located 150 miles west of New Orleans. The buildings that housed Sacred Heart Elementary School were spared, but the playground was littered with the remains of the nearby pecan orchard. It took five days for the power to be restored to Ville Platte. With homes destroyed, homes flooded, trees uprooted, and lives shaken, no one was left void of Lili's devastating effects. Amazingly, and yet not,

the students knew exactly what to do when they began their first day back after a week of turmoil.

Why? Procedures. Procedures provide comfort and familiarity when faced with unfamiliar and unexpected situations. As adults, we like to know as much as possible beforehand when traveling through a foreign country, attending a wedding of a different faith, preparing for a hospital visit, or taking a class to further your education.

Likewise, students need the consistency of knowing exactly what to do when they are in a classroom. Procedures need to be well-established and students need to know what is to be done CONSISTENTLY when doing things such as the following:

  • entering the classroom,
  • volunteering an answer,
  • handing in papers,
  • transitioning from one activity to another,
  • heading a paper to be turned in,
  • returning from an absence,
  • finishing an assignment early,
  • responding to an emergency such as a fire, earthquake, tornado, or bomb threat!

Ineffective teachers resort to sighing, screaming, and threatening when all does not run smoothly. What they neglect to realize is that things are not running smoothly because of a lack of structured procedures for ways of doing things in the classroom!

Watch an effective teacher and notice how calmly and smoothly things run in such a classroom. Observe the simple gestures, the firm, yet pleasant statements, the seemingly effortless way in which the students all know just what to do. The simple fact is that structured procedures make for smooth sailing in the classroom. All effective teachers know this.

In California, when the students hear "duck" or "duck and cover," they know to duck under their desks in anticipation of an impending earthquake. This is only one of many procedures that guarantees that students will all know how to respond consistently in a potentially chaotic situation. The procedure is established before the crisis and practiced calmly and methodically, ensuring that there will be "order among potential chaos."

School-wide Procedures Bring Consistency

The reason the students at Sacred Heart Elementary School knew exactly what to do when they returned after Hurricane Lili is that the Sacred Heart faculty operates as a family, a learning community, where student safety and learning are of top priority. The teachers have a handbook which begins with the following:

A good start is the best assurance of a successful school year.

Working cooperatively, the faculty at Scared Heart developed a set of school-wide procedures. The staff wholeheartedly supports the consistent implementation of these procedures which ensure order to the beginning of the day, aid students who lack structure in their lives, and bring organization to the classrooms, to student assemblies, to the hallways, to the playground, and to the lunchroom. These procedures are taught and practiced over and over during the first two weeks of school and are reviewed throughout the school year as necessary, until they become school routines.

The following procedures have been agreed upon by all faculty members and are consistently implemented by all of the teachers.

Bell Assignment:

  1. A bell assignment is on the board when students enter the room.
  2. During homeroom in the mornings, students do the bell assignment while the teacher does housekeeping chores such as taking roll, collecting papers, or collecting money.
  3. Every morning, following morning prayers, the students immediately begin this assignment.
  4. There is a bell assignment at the beginning of each change of class.

Standard Signal for Quiet - "Give Me Five":

  1. Teacher says, "Give me five," and holds up one finger at a time.
  2. The signal means:
  3. One -- Eyes on speaker
    Two -- Quiet
    Three -- Be still
    Four -- Hands Free
    Five -- Listen
  4. This signal is used for large and small groups in any situation.

Lunchroom Procedures:

  1. Enter in ABC order.
  2. Observe hall silence.
  3. No talking in lunchroom in grades K-5. Teacher sits with his/her class and monitors students.
  4. Talking is allowed, in grades 6-8, as long as quiet is observed.
  5. Observe proper etiquette at all times.
  6. Line up one behind the other and wait until the lunchroom servers are ready before putting the plate down on the counter.

Lunchroom Etiquette:

  1. Wash your hands before and after meals.
  2. Use the utensils available to eat. Use hands for "finger food" only.
  3. Close your mouth to chew. Don't talk with food in your mouth.
  4. Do not touch the food of others.
  5. Do not play with food.
  6. Clean your area when you are finished.
  7. Do not be greedy.

Dismissal Procedures:

  1. There are only two approved places for picking up children in cars: in the front of either the big shed (main entrance) or little shed (kindergarten entrance).
  2. Students are allowed to cross the street only in the crosswalks where a teacher or policeman is present.
  3. Students who do not ride the bus must be picked up by 3:25, or they will be brought to the designated late area.
  4. Students who ride a bus must report to the bus pick-up area and follow the bus procedures.

Bus Procedures:

  1. Use the bathroom and drink before leaving the building. Do not return to the building.
  2. Stay in the bus line. Do not visit between bus lines.
  3. Keep hands and feet to yourself.
  4. No ball games after school.
  5. Once you leave the school grounds, you cannot return.
  6. No throwing rocks, sticks, or anything.
  7. When raining at dismissal time, students who ride the bus are to exit by the side door and wait quietly under the covered area.

Procedures Are Different From Rules

Rather than procedures, there are specific rules for the playground at Sacred Heart. Remember that procedures are different from rules. When rules are broken, they are enforced with consequences.

Playground Rules:

  1. No pushing, shoving, hitting, or jumping on other students.
  2. Do not walk or run through areas where others are playing games. Stay in assigned playground area.
  3. Share all playground equipment with other students.
  4. Do not throw sticks, rocks, or anything else at students or near students.
  5. No profanity or littering is allowed.
  6. Respect for students and teachers must be shown at all times.
  7. The consequence for not following the rules is to sit out and lose recess.
  8. For severe offenses, such as fighting, instigating a fight, or showing disrespect to the duty teacher, the student will be isolated and the teacher will write a referral.
  9. Students should report to the duty teacher before going to the office.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

One year, the school had a Christmas program and there were more children signed up for the play than available parts. To accommodate all of the children who signed up to participate, Eva James Guillory, the school's assistant principal and Christmas program chairperson, joined forces with her son, Keith James, a musician, to write a parody on the song "The Twleve Days of Christmas."

Eva James Guillory said that she wrote the song to remind the students and inform the parents that the school had a set of procedures for everything in the school. She believed that this song had a more lasting impact on the students than had they simply had to review and memorize the procedures.

12 Days of Christmas
at Sacred Heart Elementary School

Vocals and music by Keith James
Lyrics by Eva James Guillory

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A cheat sheet for the spelling bee
Oo-hoo. That's bad, my friend!

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Two new procedures
Oh well. We already had 600 procedures. What's two more?
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Three sharpened pencils
Least I can write now.
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Four storybooks
Thanks, Ms. Nina, those are good books.
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Five Doctor Wongs
Is he going to give me some new procedures, too?
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Six lights a-flickering
Ahhhh-stop that! It hurts my eyes!
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Seven teachers teaching
They're teaching Doctor Wong's procedures.
Six lights a-flickering,
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eight children playing
They need to play after all those procedures.
Seven teachers teaching,
Six lights a-flickering,
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Nine bells a-ringing
Time to go back in and practice those procedures again!
Eight children playing,
Seven teachers teaching,
Six lights a-flickering,
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Ten cooks a-cooking
Mmmmm -- I can smell that good lunchroom food.
Nine bells a-ringing,
Eight children playing,
Seven teachers teaching,
Six lights a-flickering,
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Eleven lunches steaming
Hey! That lunchroom food is pretty good!
Ten cooks a-cooking,
Nine bells a-ringing,
Eight children playing,
Seven teachers teaching,
Six lights a-flickering,
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve A's in reading
Hey Mom, look! Twelve A's in reading. Practicing all those procedures paid off!
         Thanks Doctor Wong!
Eleven lunches steaming,
Ten cooks a-cooking,
Nine bells a-ringing,
Eight children playing,
Seven teachers teaching,
Six lights a-flickering,
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve A's in reading
Eleven lunches steaming,
Ten cooks a-cooking,
Nine bells a-ringing,
Eight children playing,
Seven teachers teaching,
Six lights a-flickering,
Five Doctor Wongs,
Four storybooks,
Three sharpened pencils,
Two new procedures,
And a cheat sheet for the spelling bee.

The World Is Our School

Education has no boundaries. There are no cultural walls. Regardless of where you live, what religion you may practice, what language you speak, the world is our home. All children are our students. They are our community. We may be different, but we all speak one language, the education and nurturing of young people. Thus, there is nothing nobler than being a teacher.

Education is an idea that speaks to all of us. It is about community. This is a language that needs no translation. At this time of the year, when we all celebrate the community, we wish all of you a very happy holiday season.


For a printable version of this article click here.

Harry & Rosemary Wong products: http://www.harrywong.com/product/
Email Harry Wong: harrywong@teachers.net


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