years ago, in our May
2004 column, we wrote about a welding teacher, Jeff Smith, and we
said, “Wait; please don’t stop reading just yet.
We know you’re saying, but I teach reading or math. Welding
doesn’t apply to me.”
hear variations on that line all the time: “I teach high school”
or “I teach kids who come from this neighborhood” with them
all ending in “and it doesn’t apply to me.” (http://teachers.net/wong/DEC07/)
May Jeff Smith’s welding students take the Oklahoma welding test
that certifies people to become welders and progress into the work world.
This past May Jeff notified us that all 23 of his students—and many
come from “the neighborhood”—passed their test and earned
their welder certification credential.
means that in his eight years of teaching, all 192 of his 192 students
in his welding technology program have been certified.
students affectionately call his program “Jeff Smith’s School
if you read our book, The First Days of School,
watch our video series, The Effective Teacher,
or take our online course, Classroom Management with Harry
and Rosemary Wong, welding is never mentioned. Jeff
was able to take the concepts of other successful teachers and apply them
to his classroom.
reading the 75 columns we have written, it has been our joy to share the
success of high school, middle school, elementary school, and pre-school
teachers, college instructors, school administrators, special education,
math, art, teachers of the at-risk students, a teacher with her classroom
management plan in Spanish, and many other educators.
are these teachers successful? Simple. They adapt;
they do not adopt. Adopt means you want someone to tell
you what to do. Adapt means you read and watch examples of good
classroom teaching and then you adapt and create your own classroom management
plan—which is then shared with your students on the first days of
that is why Jeff Smith and others are so successful.
year, Jeff sends us more and more things that he has created—adapted—to
make his program and instruction more and more effective.
what happens with effective teachers. They keep creating, innovating,
and adapting techniques in a logarithmic progression. With each
progression, these teachers become more proficient and effective and relish
in their own success. You make your own success from what
instance, if you take our online course on classroom
management, we do not and will not give you a classroom management
plan that you can adopt and blindly follow a script. Rather, we
give examples of exemplary classroom management plans from 33 teachers,
ranging from PreK-16, and ask you to “steal,” learn, and adapt
from these people to create your own classroom management action plan.
you look over the eight years of articles, there are two recurrent themes:
teachers can implement. Effective teachers have the ability
to implement someone else’s work, regardless of their grade level,
subject matter, or even professional field. They are able to steal
the work, change it to fit their own situation, and use it in their
classroom. Effective teachers don’t need articles specific
to their grade level or subject. They adapt.
teachers are proactive. Effective teachers have learned
how to prevent problems, rather than react to problems. They are
proactive and not reactive. Reactive teachers blame the school
or neighborhood environment, or want specific punishments or consequences.
We answer, “You don’t ‘do something’ to someone.”
Rather, you proactively have a classroom management plan that prevents
problems from occurring.
summer read and adapt what the title of our book, The First
Days of School, implies:
you do on the first days of school will determine your success or failure
for the rest of the school year.
how to structure a successful first day of school can literally set
the stage for a successful school year.
teachers spend time organizing and structuring the classroom so students
know what to do to succeed.
a proactive classroom management plan ready when school begins.
of Effective Teaching Articles, 2000 to 2007
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
2000—Applying for your First Job
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
2001—The Miracle of Teachers
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.
2001—A Journey of the Heart
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2001—Van Gogh in Nine Hours
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.
2002—A Most Effective School
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.
2002—A Stress-Free Teacher
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
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.
2002—Even Superintendents Do It
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.
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.
- JULY 2002—Teaching Procedures is Teaching Expectations (http://teachers.net/wong/JUN02)
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.
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.
2002—Dispensing Materials in Fifteen Seconds (http://teachers.net/wong/SEP02)
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!
2002—Effective Practices Apply to All Teachers (http://teachers.net/wong/OCT02)
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.
2002—A Class Size of 500
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
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.
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.
2003—First Day of School Script
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.
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.
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.
- JULY 2003—Applying for A Teaching Job in A Tight Market, Part
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.
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.
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.
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.
2004—What to Do When They Complain (http://teachers.net/wong/APR04)
Key Idea: Respond to Complaints the Right Way. This
article highlights the proper response to complaints and presents further
examples of Nathan Gibbs’ procedures that you can modify for use
in your classroom. In every group there will be at least one person
who complains; this includes any given group of students. We share
insight into how to deal with those complaints without becoming upset,
and how to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills at the
same time! Try the complaint procedure, and see how it changes the
dynamics in your classroom.
2004—His Students are All Certified
Key Idea: Effective Classroom Management is Universal.
Classroom management procedures are universal and can be used to create
a successful learning environment from Pre-K to Technical College and
beyond. The career changing management and teaching strategies of
Jeff Smith are featured. His is a story of both teacher and student
2004—How to Help Students With Their Assignments (http://teachers.net/wong/AUG04)
Key Idea: Provide Students With an Agenda.
After teaching for over ten years, Carol Brooks, a middle school teacher
in South Carolina, came up with a solution to the problem of student organization.
In time, her classes of underachieving students were doing so well that
the parents, who didn’t even know what she was doing, were “screaming”
“Get my kid into that notebook class!” Carol’s
one-page agenda is shared.
2004—How Procedures Saved a Teacher’s Life (http://teachers.net/wong/SEP04)
Key Idea: Be Prepared for an Emergency. Heather
Chambers, who teaches kindergarten in Denton, Texas, had a diabetic seizure
and collapsed in class. Because of her health condition, Chambers
developed a very simple, but highly effective procedure for her class
in case she had a seizure. In deed, she had a seizure and because
her class knew the procedure of what to do, they saved her life.
2004—The Saints of Education
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.
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
2005—The First Ten Days of School (http://teachers.net/wong/JAN05)
Key Idea: It’s All in How You Begin. Jane Slovenske’s
success with her students begins on the very first day of school.
She spends the first ten days of school teaching and reinforcing those
behaviors and standards her students will need to succeed in her classroom.
Jane shares what she teaches on the first ten days of school.
2005—The Power of Procedures (http://teachers.net/wong/FEB05)
Key Idea: The First Day Comes. The first day of school
finally came. Her lesson plans were ready. The desks were
in order. The PowerPoint was ready to go. Chelonnda Seroyer,
a first year teacher, had not even entered the classroom yet. The
first minute of her first year as a new teacher had not begun. Standing
at the door dressed in a suit, she was greeting her students when she
had this eerie feeling. She turned to look in her classroom and
the students had already started working on the assignment. Yes!
She was now confident that this was going to be a good day. It turned
out to be a great year. Learn what she did.
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.
2005—Never Cease to Learn
Key Idea: Effective Teachers Go to Conventions to Learn.
Never, never cease to learn. Go to at least one conference a year.
Conferences are very easy to understand. This column explains how
conferences are structured. Go and listen to the professional attitude
of successful teachers. They are all participating, contributing,
and doing. Everyone is doing and not complaining. It is heart-warming
and contagious. You go back to school fully charged with a positive
attitude and proud that you are a teacher.
2005—Improving Student Achievement is Simple, Part 1 (http://teachers.net/wong/MAY05)
Key Idea: It’s the Teacher. It’s the
teacher – what the teacher knows and what the teacher does in the
classroom -- that results in student learning. Improving student
achievement is very simple. It’s the teacher and how the teacher
instructs. When teacher instruction is effective, you will see improved
student learning. In fact, the most effective teachers produce as
much as six times the learning gains as the least effective teachers.
2005—Improving Student Achievement is Simple, Part 2 (http://teachers.net/wong/JUN05)
Key Idea: It’s Still the Teacher. It is the
teacher who holds the key to student achievement. And, it is the
district that holds the key to lifelong professional development of teachers.
Everything the district does should focus on student learning. And
training teachers to become the best teachers possible must become the
priority for a district. The students deserve no less than the very
best teacher—every year.
2005—The Most Important Factor
Key Idea: Morning Routine. A high performing
school has a culture of consistency that must be established the first
day and first week of school. See how an elementary school establishes
a culture of consistency every morning with a morning routine on the playground.
They do this with a staff that works together in a professional learning
2005—A Successful First Day Is No Secret
Key Idea: It’s All in How Your Start.
On the first day of school, Elise brought in a roll of toilet paper for
a fun activity. She left teaching after two days. Sarah Jondahl
came to school on the first day of school with a binder complete with
a management plan. Today Sarah is an accomplished fifth-year teacher.
Sarah’s classroom management action plan is the heart of the eLearning
course featured on the web site www.ClassroomMangement.com.
2005—Classroom Management Is Not Discipline
Key Idea: The Difference Between Management and Discipline. Ineffective
teachers discipline their classes with rules and punishments. Effective
teachers manage their classrooms with procedures and routines and the
joy of a productive working environment. It’s never too late
to implement classroom management techniques in your classroom.
Alternative certification teacher Diana Greenhouse shares how she has
set up her classroom for student success.
2005—The Emergency Teacher
Key Idea: Trials of a First Year Teacher.
Without certification or training—an “emergency teacher”—Christina
Asquith is hired on the spot and (unknowingly) assigned to the classroom
that few veteran teachers would take—sixth grade in the city’s
oldest school building, in a crime-infested neighborhood known as The
Badlands. Christina asks the two classic questions: Why are American
inner-city public schools failing? And can one young, motivated
person make a difference? Her story reminds us all to stay steadfast
to our dreams of helping children.
2005/JANUARY 2006—Fifty Years Ago Today, the Legacy (http://teachers.net/wong/DEC05)
Key Idea: Rosa Parks. Effective teachers
know that the rewards go only to the professionals. They are the
happiest, make the most money, get the most respect, and are the most
successful. Professionals have arrived at this happy state in life
because they build on strengths, not on weaknesses. The professional
educator chooses to always learn and grow. The professional educator
is on an endless journey; looking for new and better ideas, new information,
and improved skills to further student success.
2006—What Teachers Have Accomplished
Key Idea: Teacher Accomplishments. Given
the staggering statistics children face each day, our job as a teacher
is unchanging. Homeless, neglected, abused, malnourished, impoverished
children—we welcome them all into the classroom and nurture them,
love them, and teach them. You, the teacher, make the difference
in the lives of children and we say, “Thank you.”
2006—The Success of Special Ed Teachers
Key Idea: Three Special Ed Teachers. The
demands on the teachers of special education students are enormous and
the rewards are equally enormous. These are the wonderful teachers
who have the skill to bring order and structure to the lives of their
students and who have the kind and understanding hearts to see all children
as capable and worthy. In this column, we will revisit with Robin
Zarzour and also with two other special education teachers, Charlotte
Empringham of Canada, and Dan Seufert of North Carolina.
2006—They're Eager to Do the Assignments
Key Idea: Standards and Objectives, Elementary.
If students know what they are to learn, you increase the chances that
the students will learn. This is how Julie Johnson does it:
1. She decides what she wants her students to learn; 2. She shows them
what they are to learn; 3. They practice or do the assignment on what
they are to learn; and 4. They are tested on what they know they are to
learn. Julie says, “There are no secrets as to what is expected
of them. When I do this they all succeed.”
2006—An Alternative Certification First Year Teacher
Key Idea: Standards and Objectives, High School.
Many teachers begin teaching without a clear lesson plan format or an
operational curriculum. Even fewer receive curricula that are aligned
with state standards. Norm Dannen is presently in the New Pathways
to Teaching in New Jersey, a program for people seeking an alternative
route to teaching. They give their teachers in training a template
to use as a lesson plan format. Norm created a 15-day unit to have
students interpret The Great Gatsby artistically, thematically,
and historically. He shares his rubric with you in this article.
2006—Effective Teachers Are Proactive
Key Idea: Creating a Classroom Community. Effective
teachers have a plan to prevent problems. Then they proactively
work the plan. Barbara De Santis is ready and organized from the
first day of school. She has a Classroom Management Plan.
She builds a Classroom Community by teaching her students to respect and
celebrate the success of others. Learn more about Barbara’s
plan and why thinking like Gumby, Darwin, and Disney helps her.
2006—A 92 Percent Homework Turn-in Rate
Key Idea: Use of a Personal Responsibility Card.
Two effective teachers, Chelonnda Seroyer and Barbara De Santis, share
how they use Pink Slips to improve homework turn-in rates. Find
out who they “stole” the idea from and how they each made
it their own. Plus, tips on how to improve your homework turn-in
rate and a few procedures for orchestrating homework for maximum effectiveness.
Remember, effective teachers never cease to learn, especially from each
2006—Assessing Student Progress with a Rubric
Key Idea: Give Students a Scoring Guide. The role
of the teacher is not to grade a student. The teacher’s main
role is to help every student reach the highest possible level of achievement.
The purpose of a test should be to assess what the student has learned
so that further learning can be planned. Read how Norm Damen’s
rubric helps to engage his students while assessing what they learn.
The tone of your classroom will change when the students see that you
are there to help them progress through the year.
2006—How to Write a Rubric
Key Idea: Steps to Writing a Rubric. Give students
a rubric before each assignment. Structure each lesson so that the
students know beforehand what they are to accomplish. Decide what
factors you are looking for as this will tell you if students have learned
what you want them to learn. Oretha Ferguson’s prose poetry
rubric is model shared. And her success goes way beyond a single
lesson. Her classroom is structured and organized from day one.
2006—January 2007–Rubrics in Two College Classes
Key Idea: Rubrics Apply to All Grade Levels. Two
college professors use rubrics to train future teachers. Dr. Lena
Nuccio-Lee found herself teaching an online class for the first time after
Hurricane Katrina left her without a classroom and the majority of her
teaching materials. She used rubrics to make her course a success.
Carla Boone uses rubrics to guide and grade the results of her course
for new teachers at the College of Mainland, Texas. Learn what success
follows from using rubrics from these effective teachers.
2007—Students Want a Sense of Direction
Key Idea: Constructing Your Own Rubric. Kathy Monroe
uses a picture rubric to vividly show her students how their work will
be evaluated. Karen Rogers uses short and simple rubrics to guide
her science students. Diana Greenhouse created a rubric using a
teacher tool called RubiStar. All of their rubrics have three parts,
involve students in the assignments, and help assess what the students
have learned. Review their rubrics and create your own to foster
student and teacher success.
2007—Classroom Management Applies to All Teachers
Key Idea: Observe, Reinvent, and Implement Procedures.
Stacey Allred is a special education teacher who knows that classroom
management is applicable to all teachers, regardless of grade level or
setting. The key to becoming a successful classroom manager is to
observe procedures practiced by other effective teachers. Then reinvent
their procedures to meet your classroom needs. Finally, you must
practice your procedures with your class. Specific examples from
various effective classroom managers are shared.
2007—How to Train, Retain, and Sustain Effective Teachers
Key Idea: Generation Y and the Success of Induction Programs.
There is a new generation entering the teaching profession. The
Millennials are a generation poised to be lifelong learners and collaborators.
They are team-based learners and thrive on collaboration. To meet
the needs of this new generation entering the profession, induction programs
focus on a group approach. Learn from Dr. Linda Lippman and others
about their successful programs for the Millennial teacher.
2007—Effective Teachers End the Year Successfully
Key Idea: Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.
Beth Sommers knows that an ounce of preparation can save a ton of time
and trouble. She spent the summer before her first year as a classroom
teacher preparing herself and her classroom for the first days of school.
Beth made contact with her students and their parents before the school
year began. She greeted her students with an impressive PowerPoint
presentation, which she later shared with her students’ parents.
View Beth’s PowerPoint presentation and learn how she was a successful
first year teacher from start to finish.
2007— Summary of Effective Teaching Articles, 2000
Key Idea: Happiness from Continuous Growth.
Melissa Boone-Hand was Melissa Pantoja when we wrote about her in our
first teachers.net article in June 2000. We know that half of the
new teachers drop out of teaching with their first five years. Melissa
is not one of those statistics. What Melissa did her first year
of teaching, on her very first day, may be a clue to the future success
of all beginning teachers. Melissa Boone-Hand’s career success
and happiness are a result of her continuous education, her involvement
in various organizations, her constant growth, and it all began with her
first day of school script.
2007–First Day of School Script—in Spanish, Too!
Key Idea: Plan for Student Success. Your
foremost responsibility as a teacher is to create a classroom that is
organized so that the maximum number of classroom minutes can be spent
on instruction and learning. Elmo Sanchez and Angelica Guerra are
two teachers who took back their classrooms with the use of First Day
of School Scripts. View their PowerPoint presentations, one in Spanish,
and read how their scripts transformed their experiences.
2007–Ten Timely Tools for Success on the First Days of School
Key Idea: Be Consistent and the Determiner of Success in
Your Classroom. The most important factor to establish
the first week of school is consistency. When your students know
what to expect and how your class is run, they can then succeed.
Fun will result from their achievements and accomplishments. The
ten tools in this article will ensure success for your students and yourself.
2007–Taking the Bite Out of Assessment—Using Scoring Guides
Key Idea: Have Your Students Help Develop Rubrics.
By having a hand in creating their scoring guides, your students will
see the value of using rubrics to assess their work. Scoring guides
can be used to assess any kind of assignment, including the growing trend
of multimedia assignments. Norm Dannen started using scoring guides
his very first year; read about his success and view his rubrics.
2007–The Floating Teacher
Key Idea: Be Organized—Very Organized.
Diane Blocker and Tobias Larson are effective migrant teachers who are
extremely organized. They have all of their classroom materials
on hand at every moment. Find facts and pointers to help you succeed
as a floating teacher or as a teacher in a self-contained classroom.
You too may come to enjoy the economy of professional practice you have
2007-January 2008–Wrapping the Year with Rap!
Key Idea: Get Creative with Your Lessons.
Alex Kajitani uses rap, not only to teach math concepts, but also to teach
procedures. He connects with his kids through his innovative method
of teaching and also helps to increase the scores of his “at-promise”
students. Find out how he came up with his alter ego, “The
Rappin’ Mathematician,” and the difference his approach made
in his classroom. Listen to some of his raps, too!
2008–Coaches Are More Effective than Mentors
Key Idea: Mentors Have Roles, Coaches Have Responsibilities.
Hopewell City Schools in Virginia has a formula for new teacher success.
They know that one-on-one mentoring does not improve student learning.
Instead, new teachers are given a full complement of activities and skilled
people to help them become proficient and effective. Learn how Hopewell
ensures the success of each of their new teachers.
2008–Academic Coaching Produces More Effective Teachers
Key Idea: Importance of Academic Coaches.
Angie Cook and Vallorie Borchardt are two academic coaches who have helped
their teachers, students, and schools improve. Coaching assistance
is sustained and job-embedded, and the transfer and implementation is
immediate. Learn how the gains from coaching are six times more
than the gains from spending money on class-size reduction.
2008–Schools That Beat the Academic Odds
Key Idea: Use of Professional Learning Communities.
L. C. Kennedy School in Arizona has created a learning community of teachers
that tackle problems and issues. Student success is at the forefront
of every meeting and conversation; they work as a team. Learn how
two grade level teams developed a common goal and the steps they took
to achieve success.
2008–An Amazing Kindergarten Teacher
Key Idea: Structure Your Classroom for Success.
Bernie Alidor found that procedures provided him with the structure he
needed to work with his ADHD. He now provides his kindergarten students
with a safe, inviting, and comfortable environment through the use of
procedures and routines. See how he gives his students stability
and a “can-do” attitude within a safe and consistent environment.
Not the Grade Level or Academic Area
summer, browse through our 75 columns and you will note that all successful
teachers transcend their grade level or academic area.
on the successes of these teachers and administrators. Know that
you can succeed just as easily.
76th column in August will launch the new school year.
We’ll share how a computer teacher in an urban setting
starts the year with a classroom management plan.
planning your plan now. You have the summer to steal from these
articles and mold a classroom into one where the students are responsible
and the classroom hums with learning.
the school year progresses, tweak and work your plan. We’d
love to hear about your successes and, with your permission, share what
you do with others.
the summer be one of rejuvenation and transformation for you and your
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