Wong First days of schoo: how close to follow

Discussion in 'High School' started by abat_jour, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jul 25, 2014

    Hello,
    I am new teacher starting soon and got the Wong First Days of School book. A lot of it I know from my program and mentor teacher but some stuff like have a live plant are new. How close do you follow it? I think it would be better if it were separated by grades; I understand the effective teacher philosophy parts but I like the step by step guides, like when he writes his saple introduction to the class. Any other books you reccomend?
     
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  3. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2014

    It has been a long time since I have read the Harry Wong book but I don't really follow it. I do remember wishing it was separated for grades also. It is a good guide but as with anything, I think you have to find what works for you best in the classroom.
     
  4. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jul 25, 2014

    This exactly. There are thousands of books out there related to teaching and education. If we tried to follow them all we'd be sick. So take the pieces from Wong's book that make sense to you and use them. You can always re-read the book and try a few more ideas out. As you become more confident and experienced this will get easier.

    I would also caution you from reading TOO MANY books. Everyone has a different approach and it can be overwhelming. Wong's book is a great place to start.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 25, 2014

    For my first two or three years teaching, I would read over Wong quickly to just get in the 'school frame of mind'...it's not so much that I followed Wong lock step, but found his book a good reminder of the good things I do and believe about building a pisitive classroom climate, community and cooperation.
     
  6. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Jul 25, 2014

    Well said! There are SOOO many different guides out there. I also think it's a great idea to familiarize yourself with what others are saying but, ultimately, your classroom management and procedures need to work for you and your students. Each year you will learn new ways of doing things and each year, you will have a new set of dynamics in your classroom. I agree that you need to find what works best for you in your room.
     
  7. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jul 25, 2014

    I have adopted the following from Wong:
    - greet students at the door
    - predictable launch to the day
    - photos of my dogs, my husband, me
    - an 'about me' page (on a bulletin board)

    Another title that is popular with teachers: Love and Logic
     
  8. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jul 25, 2014

    Thanks everyone for the tips. My internship site was urban and my new job is rural. Different subjects too. I am in a new region of the country, one I haven't lived in before.

    I am confident in a raw skills but I need to refine. I like consulting bks and ideas and then I integrate them together. I will try out the live plant idea that Wong recommends but I am skeptical on it. Id like to see him talk, maybe he is on youtube.

    I agree the greeting at door, know what to do first thing, are all great. I do feel silly paying 20 for his bk.
     
  9. rapple

    rapple Rookie

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    Jul 25, 2014

    When I started teaching 20 years ago, my administrator bought all of his dvds and his book. Somehow I ended up as the Wong trainer for our junior high program, so I watched his DVD's every morning before school. It transformed my effectiveness with 7th/8th graders! I still recommend his book even though I lean more toward Love & Logic with my high school students.

    I tell new teachers that I mentor to learn Wong's style to give yourself a foundation in classroom discipline & culture. It is so crucial to follow his plan from day one and try to stick closely to it for the first 8 weeks. By that time, you will start to understand your style but in the process, you haven't lost control of your classroom. I've seen too many teachers lose their class structure & control and it all begins on the first day.

    Here is one example from my first year using Wong: The school required that students walk quietly from the playground area through a large auditorium and into their classroom. Previously, students would run, yell, chase each other, jump on chairs and pretty much act out during the 'walk' to their classroom. Well, the teachers would throw up their hands and just let them. When I was hired and trained with Wong, this problem was mentioned as a great source of contention with the administration. So Day One with my class what did we do? Practiced walking back and forth to the playground repeatedly. I had given the procedure. I had my students write it down (fill in blank form), then I told them we would practice. Well, every time it wasn't right, I didn't get upset or angry, I just told the students we had to practice the procedure until we got it right! In the beginning, this could require 8+ times of walking to the playground, turning around and walking back to class. But after one week, my class never misbehaved on that walk. And other teachers would make their classes watch my kids doing it the right way! I credit Wong for that. Practice, practice and practice the Procedures!
     
  10. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2014

    I do think reading books is good. I have read a lot of teaching books in the past. (Right now I am working on my masters so my reading of teaching books has slowed.) Not everything in the books would work with my style of teaching though. There are ideas in the books I have read that I have used to great success.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 25, 2014

    You can check out books from the library for free, so you don't have to pay for anything if you don't want to.

    I remember reading a handful of books similar to and including Wong before the first day of my first year. I liked having the arsenal of ideas at hand, easy to use or discard as necessary.

    Most of those books are really designed for elementary teachers. Some of the ideas are laughable for use in high school. You'll soon get a feel for what will work and what won't. Don't stress too much.
     
  12. donald

    donald New Member

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    Aug 30, 2014

    I owe Harry Wong a lot. His book changed my approach to teaching -- it got easier, and more enjoyable, and I was better at it. After my second year, I knew I needed a new approach. I found First Days at the local Barnes & Noble and spent the summer revamping everything. It wasn’t till I’d absorbed Dr. Wong’s advice that I really could plan backwards and decide for myself how the fall semester would go. It made a world of difference.

    Anything in his book that strikes you as silly, skip. I don’t like his approach to discipline, but the bit about The Difference Between Discipline and Procedures was an Aha! moment for me. It all came down to Procedures -- my procedures, not Dr. Wong’s.

    There’s stuff in there like, Students should pass papers across, not up. Well, not in my class. But I developed a procedure for passing papers up, and taught it explicitly, and it worked well for turning things in, recording grades on the spot, and passing the work back almost immediately.

    Starting the year strong is important.

    Starting every period strong is important. Taking roll without wasting students’ time is important. And it’s all about procedures. Every day my students would walk in, and there’d be Bellwork up on the board, and they quickly learned to be on task by the time the bell rang. Every day, same procedure, never an exception. I’d take roll on a bubble-sheet, but they’d also sign in on a clipboard. The clipboard always started in the same spot, always followed the same path, always ended up at the same spot. We rehearsed it, made it into a game called Snake In The Class, and the classes would compete to see which period was the fastest.

    That sounds goofy, I know, but it was crucial for me. My school’s attendance computers would assume that if a student was absent from 5 classes and marked present in only 1, that it had to be an error. It would change it to Absent and spit out a nastygram. My assistant principal was upset, thinking I was so sloppy with my roll sheets. But I could show him, Henry signed in that day. I marked him present, independent of the sign-in sheet. Henry took a quiz that day, and got 10/10 points, so he must have been here. This happened dozens of times. I had seniors who would come to campus only to attend my class. Never waste their time.

    Assignments always posted on the same spot, tests always posted a week in advance, with a makeup test one week later, always the same procedures for tests and makeups. Every chapter starts with Chapter Study Guidelines, which includes a Chapter Vocabulary Sheet, and explains how it’ll be assessed. Never any surprises.

    All assignments were important; the due dates were always meaningful. If an assignment was due on Monday Dec 1, that was because on Monday Dec 1 we would need that assignment in hand to do something in class. I’d create Chapter Vocabulary Sheets so they were a study guide for the test, and due the day of the test. Never any busywork.

    When it comes to discipline, though, I would suggest Teaching with Love and Logic over First Days of School.

    I should add that, now that I’m a dad, I use the same approach in parenting as I did in the classroom. Lots of procedures, practiced over and over. Never any surprises, never any busywork.
     

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