May 2024
Vol 21 No 5

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About Effective Teaching

The most important factor in improved student learning is with an effective teacher.  Written ten times a year, Harry and Rosemary Wong feature effective teachers and administrators and what they do to enhance student learning.  The columns provide specific strategies and activities that you can download and use.  An archive of past articles can be found at the end of every column.

These strategies and activities are all based on the teachings and works of Harry and Rosemary Wong and they are happy to share with the profession the work of effective teachers.  If you have an effective strategy or technique that works, please share this by sending it to The Wongs will consider it for sharing in future Effective Teaching columns.

About Harry and Rosemary Wong...

Harry and Rosemary Wong are teachers.  Harry is a native of San Francisco and taught middle school and high school science.  Rosemary is a native of New Orleans and taught K-8, including working as the school media coordinator and student activity director.

Harry Wong has been awarded the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award, the Science Teacher Achievement Recognition Award, the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, and the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal.  He was recently selected as one of the most admired people in the world of education by readers of Instructor magazine.  Rosemary was chosen as one of California's first mentor teachers and has been awarded the Silicon Valley Distinguished Woman of the Year Award.

Harry Wong is the most sought after speaker in education today.  He has been called "Mr. Practicality" for his common sense, user-friendly, no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level student success.

Nearly a million teachers worldwide have heard his message.  Because he is fully booked for two years, he has agreed to and has invited his wife to join him in doing a monthly column for so that more people can hear their message.

About Their Work...

Harry and Rosemary Wong are committed to bringing quality and dignity to the materials they produce. For this, they have formed their own publishing company, of which Rosemary is the CEO.  They have dedicated their lives to leaving a legacy in education and making a difference in the lives of teachers and students.

Their latest contribution to helping teachers succeed is an eLearning course, Classroom Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong.  The course can be taken in private at the learner's convenience.  The outcome of the course is a 2 inch binder with a personalized Classroom Management Action Plan.

This Action Plan is similar to the organized and structured plan used by all successful teachers.  Details for the classroom management course can be seen at

The Wongs have written The First Days of School, the best-selling book ever in education.  Over 3 million copies have been sold.

The third edition of The First Days of School includes an added bonus, an Enhanced CD featuring Harry Wong. The Enhanced CD, Never Cease to Learn, is dedicated to those teachers who know that the more they learn, the more effective they become.

The Wongs have also produced the DVD series, The Effective Teacher, winner of the Telly Award for the best educational video of the past twenty years and awarded the 1st place Gold Award in the International Film and Video Festival.

They have released a new set of CDs with Harry Wong LIVE, called How to Improve Student Achievement, recorded at one of his many presentations.  He is the most sought after speaker in education and his presentations are legendary.

When the book, video series, CD, and eLearning course are used together, they form the most effective staff training tool for developing effective teachers. Staff developers and administrators who would like to know how to implement the aforementioned book, video series, and CD are encouraged to consult the book, New Teacher Induction: How to Train, Support, and Retain New Teachers. Information about these products can be found by visiting the publisher's website at or

Best Sellers

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


The Effective Teacher (Video Set)
Presented by Harry Wong

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


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


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


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

$24.05 from
More information


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

June 2000

Your First Day

Bob Marlowe is fresh out of college, clueless but excited over being a new teacher. With 17 boxes of activities he can't wait to make learning fun. So he starts the first day of school with his most favorite fun activity and then spends the rest of the school year chasing after the class.

Melissa Pantoja scripted her first day of school. She is like a coach who scripts the first 25 plays of a game. A teacher would not "wing it" in a classroom any more than a coach would "wing it" on a football field or a pilot would wing it on a flight from Baltimore to Kansas City! The successful and effective teacher goes in with a plan and modifies that plan if conditions change.

Melissa began the first day of her first year of teaching with a plan. She scripted the first day of school as follows:

First Day of School
Mrs. Melissa Pantoja

Greet each student at the door:

  • hand each child a classroom rules sheet (goes in notebook)
  • direct them toward their assigned seat (alphabetical)
  • tell child to read and follow the instructions written on the board
  • have instructions written on board for them to start on
  • finish greeting the last to arrive in class
Welcome students to class and introduce myself:
  • my name
  • talk about family (husband, kids)
  • education
  • where I'm from and where I live
  • tell them why I wanted to teach
Arriving and leaving class:
  • teach procedure for arriving in class
  • teach procedure for dismissal from class
Explain rules and daily procedures:
  • refer to the rules that are posted at front
  • explain discipline plan and refer to poster
  • go over procedures and refer to poster
  • talk about "We missed you" chart
Number assignments:
  • each person will have a number that represents them
  • the number will be on all of their art papers and on their art folder
  • this will help all of us to keep our papers straight
  • when writing your number on something put your grade level before your number (1st-5; 2nd-8 and so on)
Respecting the classroom and the art supplies:
  • refer to classroom rules and procedures
  • teach them to be responsible for the art supplies and room; teach procedures
Teachers things and students things:
  • some things are only for me
  • other things are for you to use as you need it
Explain thematic lessons and such:
  • will be going along with what regular teacher is teaching
Art centers:
  • everyone will get a chance to go to all the centers
  • art centers board will have names (numbers) that tell us who does what that day
  • each child will be taking a portfolio home
  • papers will be stored (filed) in a container until end of semester (or year?)
  • this is so that the child can record their grades and keep track of them for themselves
  • to store vocabulary words for future use
  • to write a weekly journal entry about what they liked most about the weeks lesson

At the end of her first year as a teacher, Melissa Pantoja writes:

"My first day of school was a success. Each of my students had a place to sit and an art number, which they would use for the duration of the year. The overhead projector was ready with seatwork on the board and they worked quietly until I was ready to introduce myself. I let them know what I expected and that each of them would be successful.

"Classroom management and having a procedure for everything is a key factor in success, but I have also found that having a place for everything and everything in it's place is also very important. The longer it takes to find a paper or get out work for students who have been absent, the more distracted other students become.

"I feel that studying The First Days of School and using the suggested strategies was a key factor in the overwhelming joy I feel when thinking about this first year."

If you do not plan, the students will plan for you.

The effective teacher organizes and structures the classroom for his/her success, but most importantly, for the success of the students.

For a printable version of this article click here.

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