Monday, July 1, 2013

The First Days of School Book Study part 1

Every summer I like to read How to be an Effective Teacher the First Days of School by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong.  It's a tradition.  It also helps me to start the year organized, inspired, and confident.  Here are my notes from each unit, plus additional information from internet searches, Pinterest, etc. that I found useful and actually do/use in my classroom from year to year.
I have read this book cover-to-cover at least 6 times!
Must read for new teachers.

Unit A helps you to understand why you are teaching in the first place.

1.  Why you need to succeed on the first days of school:
  • Consistency is key:  this creates a safe environment for students that is also predictable and nurturing

Key elements of classroom management

  • Script the first few days of school
    • Some examples from the book and from online searches:
    • Key steps to include in your script:
      • Greet students
      • Assign seats beforehand
      • Have an assignment on board
      • Introduce yourself
      • Teach procedures
      • Explain rules and daily procedures (included in discipline plan)
      • Introduce centers and classroom (and how you want your materials treated)
      • Organize notebooks, label folders
      • Practice, practice, practice!!!
    • Note:  This is a very important step that I do every year.  Before the first day of school, I go over my old scripts and change it up to make it work for the new year.  I make notes to help with planning for the following year.  It gives me piece of mind the night before the first day and everything runs so smoothly!  
  • Establish good control in the first week of school
    • Know your procedures and how you want them to look
      • Sample procedure plan
      • List of daily procedures
  • Know what you are doing
    • Do things right and consistently (consistency is key)!!!

2.  What is an effective teacher?
  • The effective teacher
    • has positive expectations
      • be clear and state these expectations
    • believes the learner can learn
      • don't "write off" your low groups
    • knows that the learner will perform at the levels we expect.
      • low expectations = low levels of achievement
  • A good classroom manager
    • establishes a productive and cooperative working environment
      • all part of management plan
    • designs lessons for student mastery

3.  How you can be a happy first-year teacher:
4.  How you can be an effective veteran teacher:
  • embrace change
  • teach as enthusiastically as you expect your students to learn
    • use the summer to recharge!
  • remember that the school was built for the students, you are employed to serve them
  • don't isolate yourself, be proactive
  • don't be cynical
  • bad habits are difficult to break
  • LISTEN!!!
5.  Why should you use proven research-based practices?
  • It is erroneous to teach as you were taught.
  • Teach based on achievement and the success of your students, not fads
    • if something isn't working, toss it and try something new
    • don't force a lesson because you want to stick to your plans, be flexible 
  • Examples:
  • Know what, how, and why you are doing something.

This concludes Unit A from How to be an Effective Teacher the First Days of School.  I hope you found this helpful.

If you are reading/have read this book, what did you find most helpful from this unit?  For me, it was the scripts.  I cannot tell you how helpful it is to have those first few days organized!

*Posted with permission.

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