June 2024
Vol 21 No 6

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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
More information


Effective Teaching...
by Harry and Rosemary Wong

March 2003

A First Day of School Script

Effective teachers have a plan for every day of the year and especially one for the first day of school to start everything correctly. There is nothing that will take students into orbit faster than to suspect that a teacher is not organized. Model disorganization and the students will replicate this behavior and the classroom is soon in chaos.

In our June 2000 column (, we featured the first day of school script of Melissa Pantoja, who was a brand new teacher about to begin the first day of her professional career. She had a very successful first year as a teacher and one of the reasons was her classroom management skill of being organized with a script for the first day of school.

It is now four years later and Melissa is so effective as a teacher that she can leave directions for her substitute teacher and indicate the procedures that govern the effective operation of her classroom. People have recognized her effectiveness: 1) she serves on the school's improvement committee, 2) she is chairperson of the fine arts festival, and 3) an administrator has recommended that she work on her administrator's degree.

Daily Class Routine
Substitute Teacher's Copy

Here is a list of routines to help you pace each of the classes from start to finish. I have tried to include the routine my students are familiar with.

Melissa Pantoja

  1. Wait at door for each class of students to arrive
    1. wooden door stopper will help to hold the door open

  2. Ask students to quietly find their assigned seats at the tables
  3. Explain the lesson for the day
    1. lesson may be something we've been working on, or
    2. a lesson prepared for the Substitute {Substitute Lessons for the Day}

  4. Call out list of supplies needed for the project
  5. Choose a quiet student from each table to be "Table Leader" and gather the supplies needed for this class period
    1. the "table leaders" can help pass out the papers, get supplies/materials ready and at end of class -- put away
    2. I use a chart to record who has been table leader -- they may ask about it -- you won't need to worry about this

  6. If the class has already started the project their papers will be on the designated shelf (North side of room)
  7. Remind the students of the 5 numbers at the front of the room
    1. the numbers are incentives for working quietly
    2. if it gets too loud, or the students aren't giving you full attention -- ring the timer (on ledge of white board) and take down the 5, and then continue pulling numbers as needed for warning the class
    3. you can record how many numbers they kept at end of class
    4. I use these numbers to allow the class to earn a POPCORN party

  8. Taking care of the supplies: as the class works they may need to be reminded of taking care of the supplies - especially with paints, brushes and supplies that can be used over and over again.
  9. Clean-up -- depending on how messy it gets -- you may need to allow 5-10 min. for clean-up before they leave
    1. let the students know that you are looking for tables who are cleaned the fastest and the best -- this usually gets them moving!
    2. table leaders can help to pick-up supplies and make sure they are put back where they belong or on the counter (some things may need to air dry)
    3. you'll want to have the kids clean-up as much as possible -- this will make it a lot easier on you at the end of the day
    4. I will usually clean brushes and things that need a little extra attention

  10. Look for tables that all students are sitting quietly
    1. you may call these tables to line up - one table at a time (the numbers are hanging above each table)

  11. I have students sit on floor, parallel to computer table, as they wait
    1. this helps me not to step on or over them as I open the door and wait for their teacher

Now that you're familiar with this
Daily Routine -- Have fun!

The day has just begun!


A Middle and High School
First Day Script

In June 2002, we featured Sasha Michaels, a middle school teacher, and her first day of school script ( Sasha was the teacher who the assistant principal did not think would last a week. Without any administrative support, she lasted the year.

Effective teachers are able to see a concept or an example, and then implement a strategy, technique, or activity for their own classrooms. Regrettably, ineffective teachers will whine that things don't apply to them, unless they are shown something specific to their grade level or subject area. Sasha was able to take the script of Melissa Pantoja and apply it to her classroom.

Likewise, John Schmidt, a high school teacher, was able to look at Melissa Pantoja's script, understand the concept, and create a script for his own high school classroom. Granted, he had help because his school, the Homewood-Flossmoor High School District of Flossmoor, Illinois, has a three-year new teacher induction program with expert help in training and supporting new teachers to bring out the best in them. John Schmidt became so successful that the Homewood-Flossmoor Induction program used him as one of their demonstration teachers in his second year as a teacher. What a role model!

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