May 2024
Vol 21 No 5

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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 or Best Sellers

The First Days of School
by Harry & Rosemary Wong

$23.96 from
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New Teacher Induction: How to Train, Support, and Retain New Teachers
by Annette L. Breaux, Harry K. Wong

$23.07 from
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The Effective Teacher (Video Set)
Presented by Harry Wong

8 VHS video tapes, binder with Facilitator's Handbook, book The First Days of School, and storage case, $795.00 from (volume discounts available)
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New Item

How to Improve Student Achievement
2 CD set
by Harry & Rosemary Wong

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

$12.57 from
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Results : The Key to Continuous School Improvement
by Mike Schmoker

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

$13.30 from
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A First-Year Teacher's Guidebook, 2nd Ed.
by Bonnie Williamson, Marilyn Pribus (Editor), Kathy Hoff, Sandy Thornton (Illustrator)

$17.95 from
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Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education
by Peter M. Senge (Editor), Nelda H. Cambron McCabe, Timothy Lucas, Art Kleiner, Janis Dutton, Bryan Smith

$24.50 from
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The Courage to Teach : Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
by Parker J. Palmer

$16.76 from
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If You Don't Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students : Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers
by Neila A. Connors

$13.96 from
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Effective Teaching...
by Harry and Rosemary Wong

April 2004

What to Do When They Complain

Yours truly, Harry, spent an enjoyable two days recently at the Washington State ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) meeting.  ASCD is the organization that publishes Educational Leadership.

At the conference I was able to listen to teachers, both new and retired, administrators, Catholic sisters, college professors, and a group from Pakistan.  All of these people have had many different responsibilities in their lifetime.  For instance, Rick DuFour, who did a magnificent job speaking about the importance of and the procedure for implementing a learning community, has been a teacher, principal, superintendent, and is now a consultant.

No one disagrees with the virtue of a staff working together as a learning community with the goal of improving student achievement.

The problem is that we have a culture in which teachers work in isolation.  Regrettably, to get teachers to work together there will always be – in any group and in any occupation – a few who complain.

Here’s a lesson if people complain, and this includes students who complain in class.

No complaining is allowed unless you are able to offer an alternative.

Thus, the procedure in a class, if a student complains, would be for the teacher to say, “Your complaint is accepted.  Now, the procedure in this class is if you complain you must be able to offer an alternative.  What is your alternative?”  And say this calmly and with a smile, while you wait for the student to think and take ownership for solving problems (complaints).

He’s Not in the Classroom

Recently, someone complained that yours truly, Harry, was no longer in the classroom.  Statements like this are the basis for our “ism” problems, such as racism and nationalism.  You will hear them from students and parents, too.  Statements like these come from people who will tell you that their child can only learn from someone who is of the same race, national origin, gender, or religious belief as they are.

I am still a teacher and proud to be a teacher.

As a teacher, you demean the teaching profession when you intimate that the only teachers are those who teach in the classroom.  Many teachers have gone on to become college professors, administrators, corporate trainers, workers in a professional or union organization, and parents.  We all still refer to ourselves proudly as teachers.  All at the ASCD conference in Spokane referred to themselves proudly and in their hearts still basically as teachers.

I now teach teachers at workshops, conferences, through journal articles, and on the Internet.  Teachers who want to learn, to make a difference, to become more effective, should develop the habit of continually “stealing” and learning from others, no matter who they are.

Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can carry easily.

Robert Frost said, “I teach in order to learn.”

And Claude Fuess, a retired teacher said, “I was still learning when I taught my last class.”

More from Nathan Gibbs

Last month we shared some of Nathan Gibbs’s classroom management procedures.  We continue with those this month. Nathan Gibbs is a fourth grade teacher in the Newport-Mesa School District in Southern California.

Remember, these are Nathan’s procedures.  These are procedures and strategies that work for him.  They might work for you, too!

Classroom Procedures for Your Success

Morning Entry Procedures
1. Say "hi" to all your classmates.
2. Greet your teacher as you enter.
3. Enter quietly and in an orderly fashion.
4. Place backpack outside and neatly lined up.
5. Empty your backpack and bring in homework and needed supplies.
6. Turn in homework to be turned in or keep homework at desk to be graded in class.
7. Start work on your seatwork.
8. Expect a great day.

Desk Procedures
1. Only your notebook, assignment book, textbooks, reading book and supply box belong in your desk.
2. Toys, food, and loose papers do NOT belong in your desk.
3. Keep hands, feet, paper, books, and pencils off your neighbors’ desks.
4. CLEAN your desk and the area around it before you leave.
5. Push in your chair EVERYTIME you get up.

Line-up Procedure: Leaving Classroom
1. Stand in two equal lines.
2. First excused line starts out of room followed by second line.
3. Wait quietly.
5. Walk out the door.

End of the Day Procedure
1. Copy down homework.
2. Clean around your desk.
3. Pack assignment book and homework needed.
4. Wait for teachers to dismiss your number to get your backpack.
5. Leave ONLY when dismissed by the teacher.
6. Say "Goodbye" to classmates and teacher.
7. Make sure to be at the bus on time.
8. Plans of how you are going home may not change.
9. Remember to tell your family about your day.

Restroom Procedures
1. Only one at a time may go.
2. Quietly hold up three fingers, and shake your fingers if it is an emergency.
3. Wash your hands.
4. Come right back and enter QUIETLY.

Drinking Fountain Procedures
1. Drink water at recess, lunch, or when your work is FINISHED.
2. Do NOT line up at the drinking fountain outside or inside the classroom AFTER the recess bell has rung.
3. Maximum 3 people at sink area at anytime.
4. Wipe the sink after you drink.

Computer Procedures
1. Wash hands before you use it.
2. No more than 2 people at a computer.
3. Refer your questions to the technology assistant.
4. Clean up the area around you before you leave.
5. Log out of all programs.
6. Shut off the computer at the end of the day if you are the last to use it.

Goals, Yellow Cards, and Red Cards
1. When you receive a goal, put it in your "safe place".
2. At the end of the week have ALL goals totaled for recording.
3. If you receive your first yellow card of the week, put it in your slot.
4. You must then see the Peer Counselor and put your entry into the LOGBOOK.
5. Then check in with the recess aide and sit out for that day.
6. If you receive your second yellow card, put your entry in the LOGBOOK.
7. Report to Mr. Gibbs to receive counseling¬
8. For the remainder of the week sit out at recess after checking with the duty
9. If you ever receive the nasty red card, see Mr. Gibbs when instruction is finished. Choose between the call home and DISCIPLINE ESSAY. See step 8 and continue for two full weeks.

Peer Council
1. Insure you are talking to all YELLOW CARD RECIPIENTS.
2. Check LOGBOOK to see that they signed it.
3. Report any problems to me.
4. Settle as many disputes at recess as possible.

Substitute Procedures
1. Respect Substitute's Directions and Rules, even if they are not exactly the same as ours.
2. Remember Substitute is taking my place and is an equal of mine.
3. Be as helpful as possible.
4. Substitute has all Procedures!

Group Work
1. Greet all group members.
2. Be prepared with the necessary tools and resources to be successful.
3. Collaboration is the key to being a successful learning club.
4. All members participate, share, learn from, and help one another.
5. Use same procedures for speaking as you do during class.
6. No one group member is to do all the work.
7. Practice Active Listening.
8. Cooperate.
9. Do your personal best.

Job Procedures
Technology Assistant.
1. Turn on all computers in the morning.
2. Turn on overhead for seatwork.
3. Get TV, VCR, and stereo ready when appropriate.
4. Keep all remotes and supplies in their proper storage areas.
5. Assist others in using computers.
6. Monitor SMART board area and insure no one is playing there.
7. Insure no loose cords are in dangerous positions.

1. Collect papers from ends of rows.
2. Take Attendance folder to office in morning.
3. Listen always for Mr. Gibbs when he calls for a messenger.
4. Always write down anything other teachers tell you for Mr. Gibbs.
5. Hand out papers at end of day that need to go home from stack.

Pet Caretakers/Gardeners
1. Water plants when needed.
2. Prune and clean out pots as needed.
3. Rotate plant locations for sunlight each week.
4. Feed pets when needed.
5. Clean out cage or tanks on Fridays.
6. Report any problems or supply needs to Mr. Gibbs.

1. Keep paper box, paper drawers, and supply cabinets orderly.
2. Check bookshelf once a week to insure books are in the correct category.

1. Check trash cans to see if they need dumping outside.
2. Monitor sink area.
3. Check student desks once a week and notify students if they need attention.
4. Check floors at the end of the day and remind classmates of pick up rules.
5. Supervise clean up after projects in coordination with Organizers.
6. Help Art Teacher in cleaning up.
7. Dust shelves, computers, TV, and counters weekly.

Personal Procedures for Achievement

Homework Procedure
1. Write homework assignment correctly in Daily Planner.
2. Put your homework in the correct place so you do not forget it at home!
3. Call "STUDY BUDDY" if you have any questions.
4. Come to school with your homework finished.
5. Read board to learn which assignments should be turned in and which stay at your desk.
6. Turn in homework into CORRECT Box!
7. Maximum 3 people should be at box area at anytime.
8. Unfinished homework will be completed during the day it was due (on your time), then turned into LATE Box.
9. Absent homework needs to be turned into the ABSENT box.

Completed Work, Turn-in Procedures
1. Put work in the correct box.
2. Place your work inside, and make sure that it is facing the same way as the others.
3. Organizers must order papers by student ID number.
4. Start Finish Work Assignments on board.

How to Correct Assignments
1. Have assignment finished.
2. Make sure it is ALL legible.
3. Make sure the correct heading is on the top of your paper.
4. Switch papers with your neighbor.
5. Listen for Mr. Gibbs.
6. Get your correcting implement.
7. Put an "X" next to something that is INCORRECT.
8. Leave correct items without markings.
9. Know what kind on grade to place at the TOP of the assignment. Either a number correct over the total number completed or a percentage. Mr. Gibbs will tell you.
10. Make sure that all your questions and concerns have been answered after grading has taken place and before the assignment is turned in to the teacher.

How To Fill Out Student Planner
1. Copy everything WORD for WORD from the board.
2. Ask Mr. Gibbs if you are unsure what something means.
3. Check on status of long-range projects everyday.
4. Never leave to go home without it completed.
5. Never come to school without it.
6. Have parents sign off each evening showing they have seen it.

Missing a School Day Procedure
1. Note that you have as many days as you were absent to make up assignments.
2. You are responsible for your work -- not the teacher, not your friends, not your parents.
3. When you return, look in your file under your number for assignments.
4. Ask Study Buddy to help you understand work you do not understand.
5. Reschedule with the teacher any tests or quizzes you may have missed within 2 days of returning.
6. Ask the teacher for clarification of assignments during a break time if you still do not understand.
7. Be responsible and take control.
8. If you do not ask for clarification, it will be assumed you understand.
9. Work not turned in will result in a zero.
10. All late work is turned into the LATE Folder in the Folder section of the classroom. Late work turned into some other place may be lost or not graded.

Learn to Learn From Everyone

The profession should be proud of its Nathan Gibbses. People like him share and offer alternatives to those seeking help.  Nathan, like the children you bring up at home and students you guide in your classrooms, is going places in our profession.  He is a learner and a leader.

The typical worker will change jobs twelve times in his or her career.

The typical teacher will change grade levels, subjects, or assignments five or six times in his or her career.

Be wary of those who complain that they can only learn from someone who teaches the same grade level or the same subject.  If you are a new teacher, for your sanity understand that your first assignment will not be your last assignment.  Please read pages 22 to 25 in The First Days of School for further development of this fact of life.

The kids will change, your colleagues will change, the administration will change, and your school will change because of your moving.

To succeed and be someone who is going places,
learn to learn from everyone.

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