April 2024
Vol 21 No 4

Current Issue » Cover Page Cover Story Harry & Rosemary Wong Columns Articles Features
Back Issues


Effective Teaching
by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Special to the Gazette
May 2014

The Classroom Management Book

nce upon a time, in the not too distant past, Bel Kaufman, a New York City high school teacher, wrote the novel Up the Down Staircase.  The book was on The New York Times Best Sellers List for 64 weeks and was made into a movie in 1967.

When asked how she wrote the book, she said it was her collection of memos, letters, and notes kept during her time of teaching.  It seems her school had procedure problems with kids going up the wrong staircase.  The problem was so bad that the administration had to issue a memo to teachers asking them to remind the students not to go up the down staircase.

That was almost 60 years ago.  And students are still going up the down staircase and Bel Kaufman is still teaching!  She will be 103 years old on May 11 and is teaching at Hunter College in New York.

How to Write a Book

When people ask our assistance on how to write a book on education, we share this advice with them.  Keep a diary or journal of every experience and a file of every note and letter from which to fashion a book or memoir—someday.

When people ask how The First Days of School was written, we tell them that’s exactly what we did.  During the early years when Harry was speaking, people would ask, “Who’s Harry Wong?”  They would not bring anything to take notes figuring it was another boring in-service speaker.  Harry relates that within 10 minutes, teachers would start bringing out paper and pencils to take notes (pre-electronic devices days), and those who could not, would ask him after the presentation if he had a cassette tape (the media buzzword of the time) of his talk, then, a video, and finally a book.

So, we took all of Harry’s notes and slides and created The First Days of School

Through the years, people have communicated with us their techniques at meetings, by phone, letters, and email.  For these people we are most appreciative of your sharing with the profession.  This article is #137 since we wrote our first one for this website.  Without your contributions, many of the articles would not have been possible. 

Because of these articles and the many other stories that did not make it into the columns, we were able to write THE Classroom Management Book.  (For our readers who are familiar with The First Days of School, THE Classroom Management Book is an extension of Unit C, not a sequel to it.)

The Impact of Procedures

Sarah Jondahl is one of the co-authors to THE Classroom Management Book and her classroom organization is remarkable.  We have been in her classroom on multiple occasions through the years and always leave with profound respect for how she operates her classroom for student success.  Being a good classroom manager is one of the three characteristics of an effective teacher. 

Please read these articles to find out what makes Sarah the effective teacher that she is.

September 2001, How a Good University Can Help You
September 2005, A Successful First Day Is No Secret 
September 2013, Prevention:  The Key to Solving Discipline Problems” 

Sarah says,

My classroom management plan is shared with my students on the first day of school, and I refer to this plan consistently.  The students know what to do in the classroom, as well as how I expect them to act and to treat one another.  They know how things work in our classroom because of the procedures and the management plan that are in place right at the beginning of the school year.  I do not have any major behavior problems with my students.  Most importantly, I have high academic results from my students.

Applicable to All Grade Levels

The 13+ years of articles we have written for this column have spanned all grade levels, most subject areas, and a myriad of types of schools.  Nonetheless, the information can be applied to every grade level, every subject, and every demographic student group from preschool special education to high school.

Robin Barlak is a special education teacher and has been featured in our columns.  THE Classroom Management Book has an entire section on the special needs classroom and features her classroom management plan.  Click here to see the Contents page for the book. 

Robin says,

In my special education classrooms there are consistent procedures and a daily schedule that ensures the adults and children are on the same page. 

As the same procedures are reinforced, this means I do not have to waste time repeating myself.

Please read this article to find out what makes Robin the effective teacher that she is.

October 2004, The Saints of Education” 

Even Applicable to High School

Sally Lutz is a high school teacher in Florida.  While she has not been featured in one of our past articles, she has been inspired by the many effective teachers we talk about.  She has contributed her First-Day Script Checklist to our classroom management book.  Click here to see the two pages as featured in our new book.

Lots of Love

We wrote about Melissa Dunbar in our August 2009 article, Teachers Are the Difference.”   During our speeches we talk about the classroom management PowerPoint presentation Melissa uses to teach the organization of her classroom to her students.  It is a very popular revisited column as we share Melissa’s “I Believe” poem she reads every year to her students.  (See page 226 in THE Classroom Management Book.)

Recently, Melissa shared the following:

This year we had three seniors who are English Language Learners that were having difficulties passing their final Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) English exam.  (For two of the students, this is only their third year to be in the U.S.!)  This was hindering them from graduating.  I had the honor of tutoring these students in my new educational role, and I want to share with you that all three have passed and will graduate on time!  I have such pride in watching these students, day in and day out, dedicate themselves to their education and future! 

Unfortunately, it seems like children in this generation are spoken about in negative tones regarding their behavior, attitudes, and lack of determination.  I am here with proof that they are well-behaved, positive, and determined to be successful!  My heart is racing and tears of joy have welled up in my eyes as I reflect on each of these young adults who have hurdled walls, fought the odds, and found success!

So how is Melissa able to produce these results with children?  In her own words,

I have no behavior issues.
My class is organized, and
there is learning—and love.

Melissa says, “When we love them, they know it and feel it, and the atmosphere blossoms into a beautiful learning environment.  I truly believe this with all my heart.” 

Melissa’s classroom has “lots of love” because it is made possible when the class is well organized!

She says, “Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to help others.” 

We thank you, too, the many who have shared with us and because of that, we are happy to help others in return.

More to Learn

What we love about receiving all of your letters, PowerPoint presentations, thoughts, and ideas is—we are always learning.  We are awed by the creativity and nuances you have used to put the research on effective teaching, especially classroom management, into practice in your classrooms and in your schools.

Education is not a product:
mark, diploma, job, money in that order;
it is a process, a never ending one.

These wise words are from Bel Kaufman, author of Up the Down Staircase.  And, at more than 100 years old she is still delivering sage advice.  Watch this You Tube video of an interview she did at 102 and the optimism she reveals when asked what to bring for her 103rd birthday.

How will you live your professional life?  Will it be one of complacency or one of an endless journey to grow and learn?  Our new classroom management book will inspire you to improve your skills for the next school year.  Or come to one of our conferences in June hosted by Louisiana State University (see our website for details) and hear from us directly and network with colleagues from around the country.

Be a new you for your students this next school year, and the next, and the next.  And at 103 years old, reflect on your amazing journey.




For a printable version of this article click here.

About Effective Teaching...

Harry and Rosemary Wong have been writing columns for Teachers.Net for over 13 years and the columns all have a distinctive style. They write about effective teachers, administrators, schools, and school districts featuring techniques that are immediately replicable and at no cost. More importantly, they work to enhance student learning. An archive of past articles can be found at the end of every column, with an abstract of all articles at the end of the most recent June column.

For over 30 years, helping teachers become effective has been the passion of the Wongs. Writing for Teachers.Net is just one of the many ways they reach out to educators with their ideas on how effective teachers improve student learning.

About Harry & Rosemary Wong...

Harry and Rosemary WongHarry 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 Horace Mann Outstanding Educator Award, the National Teachers Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award, the Science Teacher Achievement Recognition Award, the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, and the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal.  He was selected as one of the most admired people in education by the 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.  She was also honored as a Distinguished Alumnus from her alma maters, Southeastern Louisiana University and Louisiana State University.

Harry and Rosemary have been awarded the Upton Sinclair Award and were nominated for the Brock International Prize in Education. They have built and sustain a school in the jungles of Cambodia.

The Wongs are the most sought after speakers in education today, booked two years into the future. Their presentations are practical, offering a common sense, user-friendly, and no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level student success. Over a million teachers worldwide have heard their message. In spite of their heavily booked schedule, Harry and Rosemary have agreed to write this monthly column so that more people can hear their message.

How They Develop Effective Teachers...

Harry and Rosemary Wong are committed to developing effective teachers, one teacher at a time.
To do this, they have formed their own publishing company, of which Rosemary is the CEO.

THE Classroom Management Book is what everyone has been waiting for. It is an exhaustive extension of Unit C on classroom management in The First Days of School.


  • Turn chaos into student achievement
  • Reduce behavior issues; increase learning
  • Step-by-step plans to a well-managed classroom
  • 50 procedures in detail
  • 40 QR codes with additional resources
  • 320 pages in full color
  • Complete first days of school plans
  • Suitable for all grades, all subjects, all teachers
  • Costs no money to implement

How to Be an Effective and Successful Teacheris an audio CD set that was recorded live before 800 teachers in St. Louis.  Listen as they walk you through classrooms that hum with learning and share how you can replicate the same success in your classroom.  In 2 hours and 40 minutes, Harry and Rosemary can transform you into a very effective and successful teacher at no cost!

This presentation has transformed the lives and teaching success of hundreds of thousands of teachers.
Learn how to


  • Begin the school year with a plan
  • Start class immediately
  • Have a well-organized and structured classroom
  • Reduce discipline problems
  • Have students who are engaged and working
  • Teach procedures and responsibility
  • Maximize classroom instructional time
  • Use lesson objectives so students know what they are to learn
  • Use rubrics to assess for student learning
  • Deal with at-risk students
  • Improve student learning and achievement


The Wongs have written The First Days of School, the best-selling book ever in education. Over 3.8 million copies have been sold. It is used in 120 countries, 2,114 colleges, and most every new teacher induction program. The fourth edition has been translated into five foreign languages and includes:

  1. An additional chapter on procedures
  2. A new chapter on assessment with rubrics.
  3. A new chapter on Professional Learning Teams
  4. A new chapter for administrators on implementation 
  5. Additional information in Going Beyond Folders
  6. A new DVD, Using THE FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL, presented by Chelonnda Seroyer
TET 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 also have a successful 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 effective teachers.  Details for the classroom management course can be seen at

You can hear Harry Wong LIVE on a set of CDs, called
How to Improve Student Achievement
, recorded at one
of his many presentations.  He invites you to steal from him the secrets of effective teaching for all grade levels.
Never Cease to Learn has the power to transform your
attitude and your life.  In this DVD, Harry shares his journey on the road to success and tells listeners how to become the educators they were meant to be.

When the books, video series, CD, DVD, and eLearning course are used together, they form the most effective professional development training tool for producing 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

Helping you produce effective teachers is our passion.

Harry & Rosemary Wong Columns on Teachers.Net...
Related Resources & Discussions on Teachers.Net...

  Site Map: Home Search Teaching Jobs Classifieds Lesson Plans Contacts PR Advertise
  © 1996 - 2013. All Rights Reserved. Please review our Terms of Use, Mission Statement, and Privacy Policy.
# 19463