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.
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 email@example.com.
The Wongs will consider it for sharing in future Effective Teaching
About Harry and Rosemary
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.
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
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
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 teachers.net
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 www.ClassroomManagement.com.
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
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
The First Days of School with Enhanced CD, Never
Cease to Learn
by Harry & Rosemary Wong
$23.96 from Amazon.com
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 EffectiveTeaching.com
(volume discounts available)
Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong
for individual use, CEUs available Preview the course and order
$124.95 (Group discounts available.)
How to Improve Student Achievement
Hear Harry Wong Live! in this 2 CD set
New Teacher Induction: How to Train, Support, and Retain
by Annette L. Breaux, Harry K. Wong
$24.05 from Amazon.com
Pathways: A Guide for Energizing & Enriching Band, Orchestra, &
by Joseph Alsobrook
$12.57 from Amazon.com
Results : The Key to Continuous School Improvement
by Mike Schmoker
$20.95 from Amazon.com
Improving Schools from Within : Teachers, Parents, and Principals
Can Make the Difference
by Roland Sawyer Barth
$13.30 from Amazon.com
A First-Year Teacher's Guidebook, 2nd Ed.
by Bonnie Williamson, Marilyn Pribus (Editor), Kathy Hoff, Sandy Thornton
$17.95 from Amazon.com
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 Amazon.com
The Courage to Teach : Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's
by Parker J. Palmer
$16.76 from Amazon.com
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 Amazon.com
by Harry and Rosemary
A Class Size
An effective band teacher with a class size of 150 to 500 can quiet a group of students with noisemakers in their hands in seconds, and without speaking or showing stress. It's all procedures.
Ineffective teachers will yell and scream, pound on tables, and flick lights, yet the students continue without paying attention and the noise level remains. Effective teachers, on the other hand, can bring a group of students to attention in seconds without opening their mouths or showing any annoyance. They can do this without destroying the student's dignity by yelling or screaming at them, and, most importantly, without disgracing the profession by pleading or begging the students to be quiet.
Quieting a Class Quickly
The procedure for bringing a class to attention may be different from teacher to teacher, but the students understand the concept of a procedure. It can be Cindy Wong's "Give Me Five" as explained in The First Days of School or seen in The Effective Teacher. It can be as easy as a high school coach saying, "Gentlemen, please" to a large team of players, a first grade teacher who places an index finger over her lips, or an administrator who holds up a large orange card at an assembly of hundreds of students.
With an understanding of procedures, band directors can bring a group of several hundred students to attention in seconds. We met Rebecca Hughes of Kansas several years ago. She taught music in a rural district to 150 students in grades one through five. As a new teacher, she was sent to a district in-service meeting on Effective Teaching conducted by yours truly! Rebecca thought, "How is this workshop going to help me in the Band Room?" She felt that the information would be more applicable to the "regular" classroom.
Now Rebecca says, "Boy, was I ever wrong! The workshop, books, and ideas can and do work for those of us who do not teach in the 'traditional' or 'normal' classroom setting." She continues, "I believe Benjamin Bloom states that 'anything can be taught to anyone at any level,' and that the procedures you explain in your book can be adapted to almost any type of class."
Procedures in a Band Room
Now, "convert" Rebecca wishes to share how procedures work for her in the elementary, junior high, and high school band program. These are her procedures:
- Students are always greeted by the teacher at the door. This is a great time to ask the kids how their sporting games were or how they did on the math test the day before, building a good relationship between teacher and student. This teacher makes an effort to attend students' after school activities. This helps to cultivate a good relationship and build mutual respect that carries over into classroom conduct.
- New seating arrangements are posted outside the classroom door. Band seating is assigned according to what is best for the sound of the ensemble. But when changes become necessary, a chart showing the new arrangement is always posted outside the room so the students can find their new seats immediately. Where there is flexibility in the way seating can be arranged, students may choose where their assigned seats are, with the understanding that they will be relocated if there are problems.
- Class time is never used to call roll. At the grade school level students perform a warm-up activity while the teacher takes the roll. At the junior high and high school level there is a student Secretary whose duty it is to take roll.
- Each student is assigned a number that corresponds to his or her number in the grade book. When papers are collected they are handed in numerically, cutting down on the amount of time it takes the teacher to post the grades in the book. Students write their numbers on the cover of their music folders so as not to forget them. This prevents the loss of valuable class time researching students' forgotten numbers.
- Expectations are made clear from the beginning. They are as listed:
Respect people and equipment
Be on time and prepared
Do not speak or play out of turn
Leave things better than you found them
No gum, food, or drink
- The order of pieces to be rehearsed each day is posted on the board where students can see it upon arrival in class. This way students know what to practice while warming up and waiting for class to begin. This also helps on the rare occasions when the teacher is late to arrive…students are always engaged in productive activities from the moment they arrive in the classroom.
- Two file folders are taped to the wall, labeled "To Be Copied" and "Copied." When students need a copy of something, they place the original in the appropriate folder. The teacher or a designated student aide will make the copies during a planning period and place them in the appropriate folder where they can be picked up by those who requested them. This procedure prevents interruptions during class and materials are not misplaced.
- An easy-wipe magnetic board is posted so students can list items they need. If a percussionist needs an extra set of drumsticks, he writes on the board the date and what he needs. At the end of the day the teacher checks the list to see what is needed from current inventory and what must be ordered from the local music store. Once the item is available, the teacher posts a note on the board alerting the student that the item is ready for pick up. Separate boards are maintained for the elementary, junior high, and senior high students for easy reference.
- A memo pad is kept by the teacher's side during each class for making notes about things she needs to do after class that might otherwise be forgotten.
- Instead of using class time to sell necessary items such as reeds, pencils, valve oil, etc., each student is require to purchase a $5.00 "Band Card" during enrollment. A student treasurer maintains a checkbook style record of what students buy, along with the balances in their accounts. This way students understand that the procedure for buying supplies does not include asking the teacher for supplies during class and records are easily accessible. And, the teacher is not kept busy with record keeping.
- Students know that when the teacher steps to the podium or music stand, they must become quiet and give their undivided attention. They also understand that when the teacher steps down from the podium or music stand, it is their time to talk to their neighbors, play their instruments individually, or just relax until the teacher steps back up. "Down time" is provided between each piece rehearsed so they can get up the next piece of music and relax a bit, and the teacher doesn't have to yell or fight to get the students' attention. These procedures also work well for guest clinicians who come in to work with the bands.
- Good manners are an expectation. Students are expected to use "Please" and "Thanks" whenever they ask for or receive something. They raise their hands when they have questions or would like to contribute to discussion, and wait to be called upon. The teacher is a good model, never interrupting students when they are speaking and paying close attention to what they have to say.
She Moved to the Big City
To all of you new teachers who are learning how to manage a classroom, take note of this good news. A few years later, Rebecca moved to a large city high school in Wichita and her procedures have been reduced to one page. Yes, it comes with experience, but the experience must be based on a solid foundation of knowing how to structure and manage a classroom. With a class size of 122 this year, it's obvious she can do it.
She says, "People often ask how I can handle so many students. I tell them that my students know my procedures and expectations, thus, my job is do-able." She continues, "I have great section leaders and drum majors in Marching Band that help out and my upperclassmen do a great job of helping the freshmen learn the procedures of our class."
High School Band Daily Procedures
Between 7:20am and 7:50am please follow these procedures:
- When entering the Band Room, check for new handouts on the music stand by the door and take one if there are any.
- Remove your nametag from the attendance board, place it in the "I'm Here" folder (Please NEVER remove a name tag that is not yours!) and then check the Current Events bulletin board for updated information.
- Take care of things such as getting music you need, buying supplies such as reeds and oil, turning in money/fees, or anything else you need for class today.
- Check the chalkboard for the order of pieces that we will be rehearsing and put your music in that order.
- The 7:45am bell is the only reminder you will have to let you know that you are to have your instrument, music, and all supplies out and ready for the beginning of class at 7:50am. Use your time wisely.
Between 7:50am and 9:25am please follow these procedures:
- At 7:50am be in your seat ready to begin with your music in the order that is listed on the board. Listen to office announcements. THERE IS NO TALKING DURING ANNOUNCEMENTS!!
- When the Director, Drum Major or Band Council Officer steps onto the podium, stop playing or talking and direct your full attention to the person on the podium.
- If at any time during class you have a question, raise your hand and wait to be called on. Please listen carefully to any questions being asked for at some time you may have the same question. Please remember to use "please" and "thank you" whenever appropriate. Thank you!
- If you need to leave class at anytime sign out and in (follow pass usage procedures listed in the CHS Bands Handbook).
- When rehearsal time is finished (as decided by the Director), you will be dismissed to put your materials away. Put music in the folder files and instruments in assigned places in the storage room.
And how good is Rebecca Hughes? She takes her band to Europe, Washington, DC, and the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
What's Next for Rebecca?
Now, this is what the Rebecca Hughes of the world can look forward to in a few more years. Joseph Alsobrook has been teaching 6 or 7 more years than Rebecca Hughes. He currently teaches band for the Union Public School District in Tulsa where he works with more than five hundred students per day.
The Union Band has earned top honors at the Fiesta Bowl National Pageant of Bands, the Citrus Bowl Music Festival, the Tournament of Roses Parade, and multiple regional and national events sponsored by Bands of America.
Mr. Alsobrook is a five-time recipient of the Outstanding Music Director's Award presented by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. He is also a member of Who's Who Among America's Teachers and has recently completed all requirements for certification in music education by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
When asked how he can manage so many students, he says that he uses the principles of
We will share his techniques in a future column. But, if you can't wait, Joseph Alsobrook has written a book: Pathways: A Guide for Energizing & Enriching Band, Orchestra and Choral Programs. In his book, he talks about these topics:
The Gift of Love
The Gift of Attention
The Gift of Accomplishment
The Gift of Boundaries
The Gift of Fun
The book can be purchased on Amazon.com for only $12.57 and is highly recommended.
The Gift You Deserve
For most of you on the "traditional" school schedule, you are just finishing your first quarter, have hosted the "Back-to-School" night, and have completed parent-teacher conferences. The calendar year's end is fast approaching, so permit us to "strike up the band" to ring in some holiday cheer. We hope the world shares with you the gift of love and respect you so deserve because you give so much of them everyday to your students.
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- A Grateful Goodbye After 15 Years (Jun 2015)
- Love, Marriage, and Babies, Oh My! (May 2015)
- Retention Rate Is 100 Percent (Apr 2015)
- Teacher Effectiveness and Human Capital (Mar 2015)
- Training Teachers to Be Effective (Feb 2015)
- Making Deals Is Ineffective (Dec 2014 / Jan 2015)
- Retrieving and Carrying Electronic Devices (Nov 2014)
- Sharing to Succeed (Oct 2014)
- How a University Prepares Its Students (Sep 2014)
- Effective Teaching (Aug 2014)
- Your Future Is in Your Hands (June/July 2014)
- The Classroom Management Book (May 2014)
- When Students Succeed; Teachers Succeed (April 2014)
- Teaching New Teachers How to Succeed (March 2014)
- Execute and Praise (February 2014)
- Shaping a Solid Foundation (Dec 2013 / Jan 2014)
- The Most Misunderstood Word (November 2013)
- How to Start Class Every Day (October 2013)
- Prevention: The Key to Solving Discipline Problems (September 2013)
- Planning, Planning, Planning (August 2013)
- Are You THE One? (June / July 2013)
- Practical Examples That Work (May 2013)
- A Disability Is Not a Handicap (Apr 2013)
- Totally Inexcusable (Mar 2013)
- Be Proud of Public Education (Feb 2013)
- Structure Will Motivate Students (Dec 2012 / Jan2013)
- Orchestrating the Classroom (Nov 2012)
- The Lasting Impact of Instructional Coaching (Oct 2012)
- Learning, Laughing, and Leaving a Legacy (Sep 2012)
- Twenty-two, First Year, and Legit (Aug 2012)
- A Master Teacher of Teachers (June/July 2012)
- Where Going to School Means Success (May 2012)
- A Nationally Celebrated High School (Apr 2012)
- The Highest Rated School in New York City, Part 2 (Mar 2012)
- The Highest Rated School in New York City, Part 1 (Feb 2012)
- The Importance of Culture (Dec 2011 / Jan 2012)
- You Can Teach Classroom Management (Nov 2011)
- Seamless, Transparent, and Consistent (Oct 2011)
- Coaching Teachers to Be Effective Instructors (Sep 2011)
- How a Principal Creates a Culture of Consistency (Aug 2011)
- Graduation Begins in Your Classroom (June/July 2011)
- The Inspiration of a Mother (May 2011)
- How to Be an Effective Leader (Apr 2011)
- Learning Objectives: The Heart of Every Lesson (Mar 2011)
- Even Shakespeare Had Structure (Feb 2011)
- Effectiveness Defined: It's Not a Mystery (Dec 2010 / Jan 2011)
- Surviving Without a Principal (Nov 2010)
- Achieving Greatness: Locke Elementary School, Part 2 (Oct 2010)
- Teaching Greatness: Locke Elementary School, Part 1 (Sep 2010)
- Effective from the Start (Aug 2010)
- Ten Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2010 (June/July 2010)
- The Success of a Culture of Consistency (May 2010)
- Training Teachers to Be Effective (Apr 2010)
- Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn (Mar 2010)
- Turning Teaching Dreams into Reality (Feb 2010)
- Dreams and Wishes Can Come True (Dec 2009 / Jan 2010)
- Success in a State Controlled School (Nov 2009)
- Inner City Is Not An Excuse (Oct 2009)
- Exceeding All Expectations (Sep 2009)
- Teachers Are the Difference (Aug 2009)
- Nine Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2009 (Jun/Jul 2009)
- Teachers Are the Greatest Assets (May 2009)
- The Tools for Success (Apr 2009)
- Assessing for Student Learning (Mar 2009)
- To Be an Effective Teacher Simply Copy and Paste (Feb 2009)
- The Sounds of Students Learning and Performing (Dec 2008)
- A School That Achieves Greatness (Nov 2008)
- Boaz City Schools: Professional Learning Teams (Oct 2008)
- It Was Something Close to a Miracle (Sep 2008)
- A Computer Teacher Shows the Way (Aug 2008)
- Eight Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2008 (Jun/Jul 2008)
- An Amazing Kindergarten Teacher (May 2008)
- Schools That Beat the Academic Odds (Apr 2008)
- Academic Coaching Produces More Effective Teachers (Mar 2008)
- Coaches Are More Effective than Mentors (Feb 2008)
- Wrapping the Year with Rap! (Dec 2007/Jan 2008)
- The Floating Teacher (Nov 2007)
- Taking the Bite Out of Assessment—Using Scoring Guides (Oct 2007)
- Ten Timely Tools for Success on the First Days of School (Sep 2007)
- First Day of School Script - in Spanish, Too! (Aug 2007)
- Seven Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2007 (Jun 2007)
- Effective Teachers End the Year Successfully (May 2007)
- Training Gen Y Teachers for Maximum Effectiveness (Apr 2007)
- Classroom Management Applies to All Teachers (Mar 2007)
- Students Want a Sense of Direction (Feb 2007)
- Rubrics in Two College Classes (Dec 2006/Jan 2007)
- How to Write a Rubric (Nov 2006)
- Assessing Student Progress with a Rubric (Oct 2006)
- A 92 Percent Homework Turn-in Rate (Sep 2006)
- Effective Teachers Are Proactive (Aug 2006)
- Five Year Summary of Articles (Jun 2006)
- Hitting the Bulls Eye as a Beginning Teacher (May 2006)
- They're Eager to Do the Assignments (Apr 2006)
- The Success of Special Ed Teachers (Mar 2006)
- What Teachers Have Accomplished (Feb 2006)
- Fifty Years Ago, The Legacy (Dec 2005/Jan 2006)
- The Emergency Teacher (Nov 2005)
- Classroom Management Is Not Discipline (Oct 2005)
- A Successful First Day Is No Secret (Sep 2005)
- The Most Important Factor (Aug 2005)
- Four Year Summary of Articles (Jul 2005)
- Improving Student Achievement Is Very Simple (Part 2) (Jun 2005)
- Improving Student Achievement Is Very Simple (Part 1) (May 2005)
- Never Cease to Learn (Apr 2005)
- His Classroom Is a Real Life Office (Mar 2005)
- The Power of Procedures (Feb 2005)
- The First Ten Days of School (Jan 2005)
- PowerPoint Procedures (Nov/Dec 2004)
- The Saints of Education (Oct 2004)
- How Procedures Saved a Teacher's Life (Sep 2004)
- How to Help Students with Their Assignments (Aug 2004)
- Three Year Summary of Articles (Jun/Jul 2004)
- His Students are All Certified (May 2004)
- What to Do When They Complain (Apr 2004)
- A Well-Oiled Learning Machine (Mar 2004)
- The Effective Teacher Adapts (Feb 2004)
- How to Start a Lesson Plan (Aug 2003)
- Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market - Part 2 (Jun/Jul 2003)
- Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market (May 2003)
- The Effective Substitute Teacher (Apr 2003)
- A First Day of School Script (Mar 2003)
- How to Retain New Teachers (Feb 2003)
- No Problem With Hurricane Lili (Dec 2002)
- A Class Size of 500 (Nov 2002)
- Effective Practices Apply to All Teachers (Oct 2002)
- Dispensing Materials in Fifteen Seconds (Sept 2002)
- How To Start School Successfully (Aug 2002)
- Teaching Procedures Is Teaching Expectations (June - July 2002)
- $50,000 to Replace Each Teacher (May 2002)
- Even Superintendents Do It (Apr 2002)
- Impossible, No Job Openings? (Mar 2002)
- A Stress Free Teacher (Feb 2002)
- A Most Effective School (Jan 2002)
- Van Gogh in Nine Hours (Dec 2001)
- The Effective Teacher Thinks (Nov 2001)
- How a Good University Can Help You (Sep 2001)
- How to Motivate Your Students (May 2001)
- How to Recognize Where You Want to Be (Apr 2001)
- What Successful New Teachers Are Taught (Mar 2001)
- A Journey of the Heart (Feb 2001)
- The Miracle of Teachers (Jan 2001)
- It's Not the Students. It's the Teacher. (Dec 2000)
- The First Five Minutes Are Critical (Nov 2000)
- How to Start a Class Effectively (Oct 2000)
- The Problem Is Not Discipline (Sep 2000)
- There Is Only One First Day of School (Aug 2000)
- Applying for Your First Job (Jul 2000)
- Your First Day (Jun 2000)
Browse through the latest posts from the Classroom Management