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
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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

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

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

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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

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

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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

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Effective Teaching...
by Harry and Rosemary Wong

March 2003

A First Day of School Script

(continued from page 1)

Script for the First Day of School
John Schmidt

Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Before Class

  • Have a clearly marked sign on the door and on the front chalkboard that indicates the name of the class, the teacher, the hour, and the room number.
  • Place a copy of the Student Information Survey on every student desk to be completed as bellwork.
  • Setup individual trays for every handout the students will need to pickup. Place a sign that reads "Please Take One" near the trays.
  • Setup a copy of the textbook, a sample binder, and a sample notebook on the chalkboard sill.
  • Use the overhead projector to display the seating chart.

Greet at the Door

  • Welcome each student with a handshake and hello.
  • Look directly at each student, not the busy hallway or the growing line of people at the door, when they introduce themselves.
  • Make sure every student is in the right place at the right time.
  • Tell each student the following:
  1. They can find their seat by referencing the seating chart on the projection screen.
  2. They should grab the 3 handouts on the table at the front of the room.
  3. They have a bellwork activity waiting for them at their desks.

Welcome and Introduction

  • Welcome everyone to the first day of school and ask the students to take a few more minutes to finish the bellwork.
  • Take attendance by referencing the seating chart.
  • Welcome everyone again and introduce yourself.
  • Provide a few tidbits of appropriate personal information (educational background, family, etc.).
  • Explain your personal educational philosophy.
  • Stress that you are very excited to be back at school and that you look forward to a successful year ahead.

Syllabus Explanation (Handout 1)

  • Ask the students to reference the Course Syllabus handout.
  • Explain the basic course information.
  • Provide instructor contact information.
  • Discuss the course objectives.
  • Identify the required class materials and reference the items setup on the chalkboard sill as a visual reminder of what each student will need.
  • Explain the grading scale.
  • Discuss specific academic requirements.

Class Policies Explanation (Handout 2)

  • Ask the students to reference the Class Policies handout.
  • Discuss your overall discipline philosophy.
  • Stress that a student chooses to break a rule.
  • Explain the short list of simple class rules and ask the students to explain why they are in place.
  • Stress that the class rules will be consistently enforced.
  • Explain the detention policy.
  • Explain the tardy and late arrival policy.
  • Discuss the importance of academic honesty.
  • Discuss the attendance requirements.
  • Explain the late work policy.
  • Explain the make-up test policy.
  • Ask each student to sign the back of the Student Information Survey in the space that indicates that they understand and agree to all of the class policies.

Class Procedures (Handout 3)

  • Ask the students to reference the Class Procedures handout.
  • Explain the purpose of class procedures by using an appropriate analogy.
  • Promise the students an organized and efficient classroom.
  • Explain the importance of following procedures.
  • Explain the difference between procedures and rules.
  • Explain and rehearse the following procedures: entering the room, bellwork, picking up materials, coming to attention, arriving late, and leaving the classroom.
  • Explain that other procedures will be explained and rehearsed as they become necessary (getting absent work, make-up tests, using the bathroom, getting a detention, getting extra handouts, handing in homework).

Dismissing the Class

  • With a few minutes remaining, reiterate your excitement for the upcoming year.
  • Tell the students that it was nice to meet all of them.
  • Rehearse the procedure for leaving the classroom and require the students to wait for teacher dismissal before leaving the classroom.
  • Collect student information sheets as the students leave the class.

Class Policies
Mr. Schmidt

A. Note from the Instructor

I will lead a respectful and disciplined classroom. To achieve this I have established a few simple policies. As a student, it is your responsibility to comply with these policies. If you decide not to comply, there will be logical consequences. By enforcing these policies, I promise to you fairness and order in our classroom.

B. Class Rules

Watch Your Mouth- Students will exhibit courtesy and respect toward all other students at all times. Hateful comments concerning race, gender, sexuality, political views, appearance, or of any other type will not be tolerated; this applies to serious as well as "joking" comments.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself- Physical contact of any kind is not permitted. Violation of this simple rule will be punished by the most severe consequences possible.

Stay in Your Seat- Do not walk around during class unless directed to do so. Have everything you need ready before class begins.

Leave the Food at Home- Students may not eat or drink in the classroom. This includes gum and candy. Closable containers of water are permitted.

I Need to See Your Eyes- Students may not sleep in class. To prevent this, students' eyes must be open and visible to the instructor at all times.

Nothing Goes Airborne- Nothing will go airborne in class at any time. This includes pens, paper, and other students.

Do Not Say "Shut Up"- This phrase has no place in school. Do not use it.

C. If YOU CHOOSE to Break a Rule:
Punishments will always fit the crime. Of course there are behaviors that will warrant a Dean's Referral immediately. Examples of this include gross insubordination or violent behavior. Behaviors that are less severe, but in violation of the basic rules of the class will be dealt with in the manner described below. This format is in no way all inclusive and is subject to change:

1st Incident -- Warning and name on board
2nd Incident -- 30-minute detention and check next to name
3rd Incident- 60-minute detention, phone call home, and second check
4th Incident -- Dean's referral and phone call home
    Warnings carry over for the entire week. Name and checks will be erased on Fridays. However, continued violations will be noted and dealt with appropriately.

D. Detentions
All detentions will be served on Friday. Detentions can be served before or after school. One day notice will always be given. Students receiving a detention on a Friday may serve it the following Friday if necessary.

E. Tardies and Late Arrivals
A Student who is not in the classroom when the bell sounds, is considered either late or tardy. A student is tardy if he is without a pass after the bell. A student is late if he arrives with a pass after the bell. Tardy and Late students need to sign-in at the clipboard by the door, and are not to disrupt the class. Late students need to pin their pass to the wall above the clipboard. There is no penalty for arriving late with a pass. The tardy penalty is explained below:

Definition: A student is tardy if he is not inside the classroom when the bell stops ringing and does not have a pass.

  • First Tardy -- Student receives a warning.
  • Second Tardy -- Student is referred to the Dean.

    Further tardies will be handled by the Dean's office as indicated in the student handbook

F. Academic Honesty
It is expected that students will use genuine, sincere, and fair means for the accomplishment of the tests, tasks, or projects from which evaluations of progress shall be determined. Students found plagiarizing, copying or cheating in any way will receive automatic zeros and have phone calls made to their parents. In addition, a write-up of the incident will be given to the student's counselor. Flagrant or repeated offenses will result in a failing grade for the quarter or semester depending on the nature of the incident.

G. Attendance
If a student has an excused absence from class he or she is responsible for the assignments/ homework that missed. The student has as many days as he or she was absent to make up the assignments. It is up to the student to inquire about missed work and tests. Zeros will be given if a student fails to make up work within an acceptable time frame. Unexcused absences void all make-up privileges.

H. Late Work
Homework assignments may not be turned in late. Papers and projects may be turned in late with a penalty of one letter grade for each day late.

I. Make-Up Tests
If a student has an excused absence for a test day, he may make up the test in the morning or afternoon on Fridays. Arranging a make-up requires signing in with the instructor. A missed make-up appointment without notice will result in a zero. Quizzes are not to be made-up. Instead, the previous night's homework will be handed in and graded in place of the quiz.

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