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. 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.
More than a half-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...
The Wongs have formed their own publishing company, of which Rosemary is the CEO. The Wongs are dedicated to bringing quality and dignity to the materials they produce for teachers and to leaving a legacy in education by making a difference in the lives of teachers and students.
The Wongs have written The First Days of School, the best-selling book ever in education. Over 2 million copies have been sold. They have also produced the video series The Effective Teacher, winner of the Telly Award for being the best educational staff development video of the past twenty years and the 1st place gold award in the International Film and Video Festival.
They have released a new set of CDs, How To Improve Student Achievement, featuring Harry Wong 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 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.
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
In reading The First Days of School, you are familiar
with our description of the four stages of teaching. We recently
encountered a student teacher who believed simplistically, “Teachers
are professionals who have the power to use their attitudes to set
the tone for the rest of the school year and to make a positive
influence on their students and colleagues.”
She’s in stage number one: fantasy. As a new teacher,
you will be in for a shock as quickly as the first day of teaching
if you think that platitude, as nice as it may sound, is all you
have in your bag of skills.
Her statement is a truism, however, we asked her to provide us
First day of school script
Classroom management plan with procedures
Lesson plan for any unit with anticipatory set, lesson criteria,
criterion reference test, and show how they are aligned with state
Lesson plan showing how she will differentiate a lesson
Evidence that she is competent in any phase of Charlotte Danielson’s
domain of effective teaching.
We never heard from her.
No one ever said teaching is easy. Teaching
is a craft and it will take at least five years to become proficient
and effective as a teacher. For the past three years we have
been happy to share real life teachers and their successes, such
as Jeff Smith last month (http://teachers.net/wong/MAY04).
Late News Break
On May 11, all of Jeff Smith’s students passed their state
test to be certified welders. This means that in the past
four years out of the four 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 four years 96 certified
welders. He leaves no one behind!
Three Year Summary of Articles
A summary of three years of articles for
can be found this month.
It has been most pleasurable to share the attitudes, strategies,
and techniques of successful teachers and administrators these past
three 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 three years of articles, there are
two recurrent themes:
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 versatile. They are able to look
at teaching through the eyes of other teachers and then think
or reflect on how they can continually modify and implement ideas
from others. Our articles are replete with examples of teachers
who are able to do this, such as Michelle Beck, a first grade
teacher, from Sydney, Australia (February 2004) and Jeff Smith,
a high school welding teacher (May 2004).
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.
From Melissa Pantoja (June 2000), who had a first day of school
script, Sarah Jones (August 2002), who had a First Day of School
Action Plan, Bridget Phillips (January 2002), whose school has
school-wide procedures, to Nathan Gibbs (March 2004), with his
list of procedures, these teachers and administrators have plans.
Read the plan of Liz Breaux (February 2002) and you’ll
understand why we call her a stress-free teacher. For, if
you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.
WARNING: We get an infrequent letter from someone who tells
us that they tried a technique from one of the articles and it did
not work. A prerequisite to using any of the techniques
mentioned in any of our articles requires the reading of The
First Days of School or the watching the video series,
The Effective Teacher. This is
who know what to do,
know how to do it, and
can explain why they are
It is imperative that you know the research and the reason for
what is being done so that you can help yourself and then be able
to help another teacher.
We thank the many people who have told us how our books and video
tapes have been of help to them. For instance,
I’ve been in education, either teaching or in
administration, for 24 years. Never have I come across such
a comprehensive, practical, research based book as The First
Days of School. This book has rekindled my passion for
Casorso Elementary School
If anyone needs a blueprint on how to organize a school
for success, look no farther.
Wayne Watts, Principal
Edwards Middle School
Your book is the only gift I give to anyone I know
who is going into teaching. They always come back and thank
me over and over again.
Robin Zarzour, Special education teacher
Parma City (Ohio) Schools
The First Days of School is an absolute
must. It is the only textbook I have considered because of its practical
and honest approach to what works in the classroom.
Jim Wilhite, Professor of Education
Northeastern Oklahoma State University
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
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
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 environment.
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
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 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
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 school-wide
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
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
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
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 profession.
As your go into the summer, please read our past columns and know
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
Best wishes for a pleasant summer! We’ll
see you in August.
For a printable version of this article click