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Four Year Summary
We featured Jeff Smith, a welding teacher in a voc-tech high school
in Oklahoma in our May 2004 column, “His Students are All Certified.”
This year, on May 10, 2005, all 14 of Jeff Smith’s students passed
their state test again to be certified welders. This means that
in the past six years out of the six years he has been teaching, Jeff
Smith has successfully taught 100% of his class to pass their State
Code Section 9, which makes his grand total for six years 110 certified
welders. He leaves no one behind!
Bear in mind that how to teach welding is not in The First
Days of School.
So, why is Jeff Smith so successful? Successful teachers
can identify ideas and techniques that work, from no matter the source,
and can adapt them for use in their own classrooms.
What Jeff does is what all effective teachers do, adapt and implement.
Yet it’s a continuing saga with some high school teachers.
Their favorite phrase is, “Oh, it looks so elementary school.”
No elementary school teacher ever looks at the work of Chelonnda Seroyer
and Ed Lucero (http://teachers.net/wong/MAR05/)
and says, “Oh it looks so high school.”
Harry Wong is a former high school science teacher and he can tell
you that much of what he has learned in how to manage a classroom, deliver
instruction, motivate students, and caring for and loving kids he learned
from watching elementary teachers, especially primary teachers and the
saints of education, the special education teachers.
Many of the principles Jeff Smith uses to guide his teaching are adaptable
to any given learning situation, just as he adapted the ideas from The
First Days of School.
If you have time this summer, browse through our four years
of columns and you will note that the successful teachers we feature
transcend their grade level or academic area.
Four Year Summary of Articles
A summary of four years of articles for Teachers.net
can be found this month.
It has been most pleasurable to share the attitudes, strategies,
and techniques of successful teachers and administrators these past
four years. In the process, we have probably learned
more than anyone else. We meet people, or people send us letters
and tell us what they are doing, and with each letter we learn more
and more and develop a greater respect for the creativity and competence
of teachers. So, if you are wondering how we can write these columns
month after month, it’s very simple. Just keep those
letters and emails coming.
As we look over the four years of articles, there are two recurrent
Effective teachers can implement. Effective
teachers have the ability to look at someone else’s work, regardless
of the grade level or subject matter, or even if it’s from someone
who may not even be in education, and are able to “steal it,”
change it to fit, 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. We often get letters from teachers who want to know
what to do to a specific student. They 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.
Summary of Effective Teaching Articles
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 (http://teachers.net/wong/AUG00)
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 (http://teachers.net/wong/NOV00)
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
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 (http://teachers.net/wong/MAR01)
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 (http://teachers.net/wong/APR01)
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 (http://teachers.net/wong/SEP01)
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
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
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 Expectations
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 script.
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 Seconds
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
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 school-wide procedures.
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
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
MAY 2003-Applying for A Teaching Job in A Tight Market, Part
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 year.
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 learning community.
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. This article
gives 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 your classroom.
MAY 2004—His Students are All Certified (http://teachers.net/wong/MAY04/)
Key Idea: Effective Classroom Management is Universal.
This article demonstrates that effective classroom management procedures
are universal and can be used to create a successful learning environment
from Pre-K to Technical College and beyond. It reveals the career
changing management and teaching strategies of Jeff Smith. Jeff
shared his Goals and Procedures with us, so that you could take from
them ideas to build your own class goals and procedures. Please
use his examples and modify them to suit your particular classroom needs.
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 asking
for what their neighbors were “screaming” for, “Get
my kid into that notebook class!” The key is a one-page
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
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 (http://teachers.net/wong/NOV04/)
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.
In addition to the academic instruction, these are the procedures Jane
Slovenske 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.
March 2005—His Classroom is a Real Life Office (http://teachers.net/wong/MAR05/)
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 (http://teachers.net/wong/APR05/)
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
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
Key Idea: It’s Still the Teacher. Since it is the
teacher who holds the key to student achievement, a district must have
an induction program that immediately focuses the new teacher on a district’s
mandate and goal of student learning. Then, the induction program
is to flow seamlessly into a lifelong professional development program.
The process of lifelong professional development must become a priority—for
the sake our students. They deserve no less than the very best.
Please Share With Us
If you have stories of your success, please share them with
us. We are in the sharing business. We thank the
people who have the skill to take the ideas other teachers share, modify
and use them, and then, in turn, share their own techniques with the
As you enjoy your summer, please read our past columns and know that
There is something inherently special about our profession
that allows us to close out a previous academic year and plan for
a new beginning—a sort of annual renewal, if you will.