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CEA-Best Practices and Classroom Strategies for Educator Wellness

Please post 2-3 sentences in regards to the course with Healthy Teaching you are enrolled.

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  1. Assignment #4:

    The biggest take away from reading Wong’s book was the importance of clearly outlining procedures and classroom routines, and not just expecting students to get them immediately. The procedures must be modeled often at the beginning of the year, and may need to be reinforced throughout the entire school year.

    Video Presentation: I enjoyed the video presentation and was happy to see that many of the practices outlined such as sleep, nutrition, and fitness, are all things I value highly and practice now. I believe that this has a direct correlation with the score I received on the Wellness assessment towards the beginning of the module!

    Blog Entry Readings: After reading some of the entries and comments on the blog previously, I enjoyed seeing what some of the big take-aways were for other educators. Rich McFarlane mentioned the 4 Quadrant idea was helpful for him. I pride myself on being very organized, and I make to do lists often. However, I do not categorize and sometimes my long lists can stress me out. I am excited to employ this quadrant idea to hopefully combat more stress!

  2. Assignment #3: Check for understanding

    I actually enjoyed the variety of media present in the presentations, so the check for understanding was not essential to my learning experience. I have taken another course through CEA that was only a powerpoint, where I felt like I needed the questions to keep me engaged. This presentation overall was way more engaging, and I enjoyed the variety of videos, especially the final video “don’t ask what I make!” was extremely powerful!

  3. Assignment #2: Watch Video Presentation

    I enjoyed watching the video presentation and believe that most of the information was very relatable and applicable to my life. Before I began teaching full time, I was a professional ballerina: an artist and an athlete. So, many of the topics involved with wellness, are topics I have been juggling with my entire professional career. Sleep, nutrition and fitness are some of the things I have valued the most in my life. Sometimes consumed by these things at the detriment of my personal life! I am thankful that I already built strong healthy habits prior to teaching full time because teaching is exhausting!! I practice what I preach and encourage students to do the same! Overall, the information in the video presentation was not entirely new, however, I enjoy refreshing the importance of balance and time management, because I do love what I do, I tend to work harder and put family time and free time on the back burner.

  4. Assignment #1 – Book Readings:

    I really enjoyed reading Wong’s book. I feel that it solidified some of my own teaching tenets in a strong way. For example, one of my teaching colleagues in my department does not have a clear classroom management plan, and very few rules. I feel that I am in exact opposition to her with my students. I set high expectations, have clear rules and protocol and I expect my students to follow. Wong states that “an effective teacher invests time in teaching discipline and procedures, knowing that this will be repeated multifold in effective use of class time.” Rules need to be gone over the very first day of school, and students need reminders as the year progresses. Discipline and structure are very important to the learning environment, and I enjoy Wong’s approach and believe in his standpoint very strongly!

  5. Assignment #4:

    Book Readings: I read Section C of Wong’s book, and was reminded how important it is to “run a tight ship” in the classroom. A teacher can, and should be relaxed, but they should be relaxed in a structured setting, with solid classroom management. With classroom management, the students and teacher are all exposed to potential stress.

    Video Presentation: Listening and reading to the video presentation preaches the idea of the teacher’s need to take care of themselves mentally, and physically. Too many times teachers, in an attempt to go above and beyond, burn themselves out by trying to do too much, too soon. As I progress in my career, I have learned to put the brakes on when it is needed, especially after becoming a parent myself. As an outgoing, and fun-seeking person, I have learned to say “no” to the requests for the “after school” activities when people request my time. I don’t need to say “no” to all requests, but I just need to budget my personal and family time more.

    Blog Entry Readings: Reading the entires here in the blog, I agree 100% with Cory Ploium’s post made on December 8, 2017. I remember being a first year teacher, and trying to single-handedly revolutionize the profession with my extreme devotion to the craft and to the students. After two or three years, I was burnt out and cynical. It took some time and soul searching to realize I can still make a big impact in student’s lives, without destroying my own by driving myself to exhaustion with the ambition and overwhelming effort I was using.

  6. I watched and listened to the video presentation and I really enjoyed two pieces of information. The first is the idea of avoiding burnout and taking care of yourself as a person. I teach Theatre, and direct 3-4 drama productions per year, including one in the summer. I get burnt out, and get creatively exhausted, and this portion of the video presentation helped me realize that doing “too much work” and not enough “me time” is a sure way to burn the candle at both ends, which inevitably causes my students to suffer.

    I also really liked the four quadrant time management model. Categorizing your to-do list by Urgency and Importance was so brilliant, and yet so simple. I’m definitely posting that one up on my office wall.

    This presentation was valuable, even more so because I listened to it while walking my dog, and killed two birds with one stone! Exercise and learning at the same time!

  7. Reading “The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher,” Wong touched on a practice that I purposely do everyday. In chapter 13, page 111, Wong states “Students want to know who you are as a person, and if you will treat them as a person.” Whenever I have university student observers in my classroom, one of the first things I tell them is “You aren’t teaching students, you’re teaching people.” I do my best to make personal connections with each of my students, and to talk with them as a person rather than as a clueless teenager.

    I also appreciate in chapter 18, page 145, where he distinguishes between general rules and specific rules. Each have their advantages and disadvantages, which he discusses, but it’s good to have two sets of rules to keep things clear.

    As a teacher with 16 years experience, I enjoy reading through all of the chapters in this section. Many of the things he states reaffirm what I do daily, and many other things he states are good ideas for areas of improvement in my teaching. Everyone is capable of self-improvement, and this book provides a gentle nudge in that direction.

  8. Completing the embedded “Check for Understanding” questions throughout the presentation helped with retaining the information being discussed. It would have been easy to half-way listen to the presentation and just mindlessly click through it, but by taking notes during the presentation and then reviewing the notes to answer the questions encouraged repeated review of what the instructor was trying to imply. Also, having questions throughout the presentation versus at the end also helped increase the understanding of the topics.

  9. One part of the video presentation that I thoroughly enjoyed was the topic of Communication Differences: Dialects and the Animal Kingdom. I’ve never thought about comparing people certain types of animals, but being an avid animal lover, this theory could help in a lot of ways!

    It is true that too often we communicate with people in the only way we know how. We do not always think about others’ dialects and this is where frustrations can occur, by not being able to understand one another.

    During the discussion in the video presentation, I was thinking about my current students and somewhat distinguishing them into the classified dialects. By working with and relating to multiple dialects of students and people in general, can help with the loss in conversation and improve the comfortability of everyone around you.

  10. While reading, “The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher,” Hong discussed what your first priority should be when the class starts in order to get the students to work. The key idea of Unit C: Section 15 was to have an assignment ready and posted when the students enter the classroom.

    It was interesting to me to find out that one month of school is wasted each year because three to 17 minutes of class are wasted at the beginning of each class period. Working in an independent study setting instead of the traditional school setting where I could implement this strategy, would be hard to do at this time. However, when I compare it to being a coach, it completely makes sense.

    Before practice starts, I set up a small-sided activity that the players participate in as they arrive. I have found that this is more successful in getting the girls warmed up and ready to play once practice starts instead of waiting until all players have arrived and the start of practice to begin, wasting the first 15-20 minutes of practice to get warmed up.

    Having an opening assignment posted on the board for students to begin working on as they enter the classroom is something I will take with me and implement if I were to transfer back to the traditional school setting.

  11. I recently finished my reading, the videos, and my paper. I found the book assignment to be a great tool and reminder of the procedures and expectations a teacher should have for themselves. Many young teachers feel overwhelmed and hesitate to take on responsibilities during their first years of experience. Teachers get comfortable in their jobs and need to stay focused on taking care of family and health. As professionals, we set high expectations for our students and tend to forget about taking care of our needs. We need to make sure we focus on our health so we can have the opportunity to educate students. Sometimes, it is ok to say no, and give yourself a break for an evening or a weekend.

  12. I found the section and reading (Blue Jean Blues) on professional dress a bit challenging. As a high-school teacher in a better-off district in California, we have a school culture that permits a fair degree of freedom with regard to teacher dress, particularly blue jeans. I make an effort to wear button-down shirts, but usually only don a tie for parent-teacher evenings, as do most of my colleagues. I certainly feel rather more comfortable in the more casual clothes that are accepted at my school, but I also have to wonder if dressing more formally might change my classroom environment, and if it might change my classroom environment for the better. I also was led to wonder, after watching the “Dress for Success” portion of the “Reducing Stress” video, whether changing my style of dress might actually improve my classroom environment, although I can also imagine it leading to a more formal and possibly restricting atmosphere.

  13. While watching the presentations I was drawn to the section covering the importance of sleep, and the impact of sleep-deprivation on wellness and teaching. It’s a topic close to my experience and one that I’ve seen impact my students with some frequency. I noticed that most of the guidance on how to address a sleep-deficit was covered in the sections on time management, nutrition and stress. I do intend to apply several of the techniques mentioned, including introducing more opportunities for delegation into my classroom, modifying my discipline system to be more time-efficient (hopefully without sacrificing efficacy) and (definitely) modifying my homework regime. I also intend to implement several of the time management techniques. However, one area of my life that has proven persistently draining and that seems to have a direct correlation to my sleep-deficit, but that was not covered by the course, is the impact of one’s commute (particularly longer commutes) on one’s well-being and teaching. I did some extra research and found that, according to one study, every minute spent commuting will usually lead to about 22 seconds of lost sleep. Generally speaking, time spent commuting forces us to give up time that we would otherwise spend on other tasks. You can bet that I’m looking into ways of reducing my commute, or at least of increasing my productivity while commuting.

  14. I totally agree with the fitness and wellness part about eating regularly and getting enough water in your system. Not only do I teach, but I also ranch and officiate basketball across our state. I am constantly on the go and need to make sure I stay healthy and budget my time. The older I get the more I understand how important the stretching is to my performance and health.

  15. Getting quality sleep must be helping me in the wellness section. I scored very good, but really work hard at focusing on my students and my job. I see a lot of people who get lost in things that shouldn’t concern them and waste to much time on negative energy.

  16. John Hattie’s research is quite interesting. The one factor that really caught my attention was teacher student relationship. The one I will argue about in my paper will be home environment, parent involvement, and poverty.

  17. I really enjoyed the examples of the 3 Level Guide. I think it is so important for students to not only share their answer and reasoning, but also why. One students ideas might spark a light for another. I like to catch students off guard by praising them for their great answer, or probing them for deeper explanation and understanding. Totally catches them off guard, but challenges them and they are usually proud of their responses.

  18. First day success is not only important to the teacher, but also gives relief to students who are fearing certain teachers. When a teacher communicates clearly, student expectations take on a new meaning and clarity for all students, from every level. I have always told my athletic students, how you carry yourself in the classroom carries over to the athletic field. The effort should be the same no matter the challenge. It follows the same examples from the video: Practice, Practice, Practice

  19. I found it rather interesting that 10% of the time teachers worry about what others think. To me, the teaching profession is about trial and error and making what works, better. You can learn from your mistakes and also celebrate your success. Students can also teach you many lessons about how to handle other students. We all need to approach things with an open mind and be willing to accept constructive criticism.

  20. Reading Harry Wong’s book reinforced my belief that one must be prepared. Classroom preparations and procedures must be thoroughly thought out. This promotes consistency which will lead to a well-run classroom. I agree that procedures must be practiced so they are known well by the students and optimal learning can happen.

  21. I found the wide range of topics presented in the video presentation to be very informative. I especially enjoyed the topics on nutrition, exercise, and sleep. It helped to remind me of the importance of doing the right things to take care of myself in order to take care of my students. I have to feel good to do my job effectively. I also found the time management section to be helpful. As as teacher, there is so much on our plate. I liked the idea of clarifying goals and even the idea of the “Four Quadrant” to do list. Identifying the importance/urgency of a task is a big help.
    One other thing that made me really think was the topic of “casual Friday.” I very much agree that teachers should dress professionally. However, I don’t have a problem with casual Friday as long as one still looks nice. In my school, we do still have “Jeans Day” on Friday but in order to participate, each teacher contributes to the Jeans Fund. This money then goes towards scholarships for our students. The students are aware of this and I think they are appreciative that we are willing to invest in their future in yet another way.

  22. I laughed about attendance and thinking about all the times the attendance officer or office call down and check to see if a student is in school. That normally means I have been to busy working with students. My thoughts on attendance is that it gets done when it gets done!!! Not in a bad way, just when I get the opportunity to enter it in the computer.
    High School students that follow the simple rules of being respectful and using politeness manage themselves and their behaviors. These simple rules help students to follow the procedures and routines they work through on a daily basis. I usually get a students attention and keep them on task by a simple stare or a waive of my hand. If I need to use my voice, I usually ask a question or inquire about the student needing help. In some cases, the less you speak, the better off you are.

  23. I was amazed by the comments about correcting behaviors when they happen. If you do not correct behaviors when they happen you will never be able to manage your students. They will run all over you. Any kind of inappropriate behaviors, language, or actions need to be addressed immediately. I try to correct these actions by taking a negative and turning it into a positive. Negative energy gets no results, but if you take the negative and make it positive for the student you achieve long lasting results.
    I have allowed my students to choose their seating. Students are asked to take responsibility for their actions and appropriate behavior with their seating arrangements.

  24. I am just getting through the first couple chapters of my reading and totally agree with the classroom management. When students enter my classroom, they are greeted at the door and told what to get busy on. They have little time to get in trouble cause they know what is expected from them. Organization of my room and my work is so important to the success of the students. The organization allows me to focus on the students while they are in my room.

  25. While watching the presentations I was drawn to the sleep, healthy eating, activity sections the most. I was a first grade teacher for 7 years, but I am staying at home with my children right now. I thought that the points that were made about taking care of yourself is just as relevant as a stay at home mom, as it is a teacher. More and more research continues to come out about the importance of sleep. I really appreciated that you added that section to your class.

    I also liked the Check for Understanding sections as they helped provide immediate feedback and also kept me focused on the lesson and made me think more reflectively about the lesson.

  26. Reading Harry Wong’s book again was a great refresher for me. I first read it for a course in college and kept it on my teacher reference shelf early in my career, but reading it again made me gain even more appreciation for it. It’s an essential resource for teachers–my favorite part was: Go slow, to go fast! Spending time and energy creating and sticking to routines and expectations at the beginning of the year is crucial for an awesome year (for both the teacher and students!)

  27. I thought section C of Harry Wong’s book was a great reminder for me of why I have been using routines and procedures in my classroom and why they are so important. Spending the first few days on routines and procedures saves you time later on in the school year. I would recommend this book to any new teacher.

  28. I actually enjoyed the “Check for Understanding.” It was nice to have immediate, stress free feedback. We as teachers need to do that more often with our students. It was a great way for me to reflect on what I had just learned from the videos.

  29. Video Part 1
    After watching the online videos on educator wellness it made me think of how important it is as an educator to get an adequate amount of sleep. Without enough sleep you will not be able to function at your best. You will also be more stressed and irritable. I know I need at least 7 hours of sleep or else I do not function at my best.

    Video Part 2
    Exercise and nutrition are both so important for our health. I exercise 6 days a week and fell so much better than if I don’t exercise. One area that I know I need to improve on is to drink more water. If we take care of ourselves then we can handle the stressful situations that we may have to deal with on a daily basis.

  30. I really liked the idea of having Kings and Queens in the classroom. I could easily implement that idea in my classroom. Sometimes adults forget that it often takes very little to make a student happy, and something like sitting in a comfy chair and having special jobs for a week might just mean the world to a struggling student!

  31. I agree with what Harry Wong says about “teachers get what they expect”. I feel that having high expectations for students is often underrated. A few years back, I had to transition from teaching upper elementary to primary grades. I had very high expectations for my primary students behavior, and I held them to it. I found the other primary teachers coming to me, asking about how I was able to get these young students to behave so maturely, and my response was, “I expect them to.” I set high expectations for students behavior and achievement, and I stuck to them. In the end, I had great results!

    • I also agree with Wong’s point, and at the same time I find it a bit distressing. I consider myself to have higher expectations of my students, both academically and behaviorally. At the same time, I have to wonder if my expectations are matched by my actual, internal, estimate of my students’ ability. I do get the sense that, for all my high expectations, I don’t always truly believe that particular students, or even particular categories of students, are capable of meeting my expectations. I also often get the sense that my students pick up on, and respond to, my underlying, perhaps unconscious, estimate of their achievement. As such I have implemented several techniques for minimizing the potential impact of any underlying lower estimates on my instruction and on my students’ success. For example, I frequently have my students write their names on the back of assignments, thereby allowing me to score their assignments anonymously. I also make an effort to assign students to appropriately heterogenous groups. Sometimes, in higher-level classes, I will even assign student groups randomly so as to ensure that all my students will have at least some opportunity, ideally a more-or-less equal opportunity, to work with classmates who will support them. My concern in this case is that, were I to assign them to groups, there is a reasonable possibility that my internal estimates of their ability might bias my grouping decisions and impede their achievement, or at least in some way communicate my lower estimation of their achievement.

  32. As I was taking the educator wellness assessment at the beginning of the second half of the presentation, my mind wandered to several of my colleagues. While my answers reflected the fact that I am very happy with my career choice, I have heard some of my colleagues griping about nearly every single topic brought up within the assessment. I was happy to reaffirm that I had made the correct decision about my career choice, and am now wondering how I could get some of my colleagues to re-examine their choices and possibly make a change in the right direction, towards career satisfaction and happiness…

  33. Two of the topics that stood out the most for me during the presentations were the section of Avoiding Burnout about stress, and the section of Cooperative Learning vs. Cooperative Cheating about using a 3-level guide. The first about stress was very eye-opening. It was quite amazing to me how much energy we expend on fretting over useless stuff. Very insightful, and a cause for some self-reflection.

    The second about using a 3 Level Guide was awesome! I always hated doing the end of the book questions, because they always seemed so mechanical and I was one of those hunters and gatherers mentioned in the presentation. I have seen it in my own children and my students as well. Who can remember all of those minutiae? The 3 Level Guide really breaks the text down into smaller chunks, making it more palatable, and could possibly foster a greater interest in the subsequent readings as students will better understand the information they are engaged in. It reminds me a bit of Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey’s method of Close Reading, but with the larger text.

  34. I enjoyed the “Check for Understanding” questions during the presentation. I found myself taking more notes and paying closer attention to the materials so I could do well, much as we hope our students will do as we share our lessons with them. It was a good reminder that the questions do not have to be difficult, just enough for the student to reflect and show what they know or remember about what they learned. It is also a good tool for us as educators, as it gives us an idea of where the students are at in their learning and whether or not we need to revisit a topic of teaching.

  35. Reading Harry Wong’s book was very insightful to me. I started my first teaching contract halfway into the school year last year, and found that I was trying to mimic what the previous teacher had done in order to keep things smoother for the students rather than trying to establish my own procedures. My class is made up of struggling readers, some of who have difficulty behaviorally as well. While I made adjustments along the way to try and better the student’s behavior, I found, as Wong’s book said, that I was being ineffective in my classroom management. Having read the book, I have written my new plan of action and am ready and excited to start this new year off by establishing procedures with the hopes of running a more effective classroom.

  36. While watching the videos on taking care of yourself as a person with all the dietary and physical needs it really made me think about the various homework options available. Often times we think of our students as a singular entity within our room, but in reality they have the same (if not greater) needs that we do. When assigning homework we need remember our students have other classes, and other obligations. While we know it’s important for us to eat well, get rest and work out, our students have the same needs. By reducing the amount of homework assigned it’s almost as if we can help them more but allowing them more time to be a person and not just a student.

    • Hi Gretchen, homework has become quite a debate at my site the past two years (I teach at an elementary school). I agree with you, sometimes homework is assigned just for the sake of assigning homework, and we forget about the physical and emotional well-being of our students. It is important for them to take care of themselves as well! Thanks for sharing!

  37. I enjoyed the Check for Understanding questions throughout the presentation. It was nice getting immediate feedback so when I made mistakes I was able to go back and fix it right away. It provided me with a quick review of key points. This was also a good reminder of how important it is to check for understanding with our students often.

  38. After watching the online presentation, I was reminded how important it is to take care of myself in regards to health in order to be an effective teacher. Looking back at my years of teaching, I realize I’ve been doing too much and am on that path to burning out. Aside from bringing loads of work home, I bring home unnecessary worry. My goal this year is to stay organized and not procrastinate so that I can be stress free in the classroom as well as at home.

  39. I found the video presentation to be rather insightful. Though I do not teach primary education, I do find that most of what I learned can be applied in my college classrooms, and perhaps more importantly, at home. I always knew that I was overworking myself, but after hearing so much information about the negative effects of sleep deprivation, unhealthy eating, and lack of exercise, it really elucidated for me how many instructors are truly working themselves to the bone, including myself. I will say, however, that I wouldn’t trade teaching for the world, and after doing the self-assessment, I found out that I am quite satisfied with my job. I do, however, need to take much better care of myself, and put the “urgent, unimportant” emails aside to make room for more “me time,” especially to cook and go to the gym. I appreciate this course for its ability to relate to all educators on a very personal level.

  40. Reading Unit C from “The First Days of School” was a helpful assignment. It included many ideas that I have learned before, and currently practice in my classroom. However, the authors did include several ideas that I hadn’t considered, and their ideas sparked more ideas on my part. For example, on page 189 the authors included an image of a folded index card with “please help me” written on one side. I think this would work well during science labs, as some groups need my assistance and others do not. This may allow me to make my rounds without stopping where I am not needed, both saving time and helping other kids without them calling across the room for me. Another idea was sparked by the discussion on page 198 about handing in papers. I collect papers individually from each student to thank them for their work, and to make sure all students have the work complete. This section gave me the idea to hold a set of blank sticky notes with me when I do this, and I can give a sticky note to any student who didn’t turn in an assignment. They can then write themselves a reminder to have it done by the end of the day.

  41. Assignment 1 had many suggestions of how to have a well-managed classroom. I found that the book, The First Days of School, provided strong procedures for maintaining a productive classroom. When implementing routines and procedures, students are clear and expectations are taught. Assignment 2 had many helpful tips on how to take care of yourself so that you are at your best. The activities that one can do are to eat, rest, and make time for yourself. Assignment 3 was the checking for understanding which kept the learner engaged and striving for a 100% on the information. The check for understanding was a low stress assignment as you had the option to look back or review a question. Assignment 5 required that the learner research and learn about what other experts are saying about classroom management and reducing stress.

  42. The “Checking for Understanding” was a very good, stress free method of self- assessing. I appreciated the immediate feedback and challenge to achieve a 100%. The checking of understanding is what the instructor discussed in the class. Students and teachers need to be aware of progress and learning.

  43. Nutrition and fitness are areas for all educators to give attention to. The teaching profession is one that is high energy with physical components. It is important that educators take care of themselves by eating well and exercising. It really makes sense that taking care of your needs is for the long term. A positive step is to measure the progress by journaling it. As said in the course, “What get measured, gets done.”

  44. The topics discussed concerning educator wellness are very good reminders to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. As educators, it was beneficial to learn more about the importance of sleep and how sleep does improve your overall perspective because you feel better. This information would be a great topic to share with students and parents perhaps in a newsletter at the beginning of the year.

  45. I just finished watching the videos and online presentations. The section on avoiding burnout was a good reminder of what not to do. Unfortunately, I have been guilty of spending too much time at school and volunteering for too much. I remember bringing work home so I could have quality time with my children before bedtime then stressing when things did not go as planned. The Communication Differences were so true! I can categorize many! I plan to reduce stress this year by delegating what I can and setting clear expectations for the new procedures in my classroom. I liked the suggestions for the 3 Level Guide and student group work to justify answers. This may be a little difficult for my third graders working in Spanish which is their second language but I’m going to try it. Thank you for the great ideas!

  46. I have been teaching for almost 16 years and I pride myself in always having a reputation for having “the good class.” I think that is in part because I spend the first few weeks on nothing but relationship building and procedures with my students. As was mentioned in the book The First Days of School, one important thing to do is to greet the students on the first day of school. I make sure that I am in my classroom every morning and greet each of them personally each morning. To me this just begins the day right and on a positive note. For some of our students this is the first or maybe the only smile they will have all day. I had read Henry Wong’s book while I was going to college and it was interesting to reread it after having the experience I have. I can say that this book definitely covers what it takes to have a successful year.

  47. I just finished reading Section C of the book “The First Days of School” and I am thinking of ways to make my life easier. I have been teaching for 25+ years and have changed classrooms and grade levels several times. This year I will be in a new to me classroom with limited space. As I read, I thought about how to best set up the room for effective procedures and maximum learning. Each year, and throughout the year if necessary, I keep what is working and find ways to improve or change what is not.

  48. The book, The First Days of School, contains many suggestions that are very beneficial especially for educators that are new to the profession. It is very critical that procedures and routines are in place for the students. When considering what other educational experts are communicating, this book is another strong example of how to implement a positive classroom climate and culture. Classroom management should be thought out and prepared for. This book does give the educator many practical suggestions that are effective. When looking at the process of having discipline, Harry Wong’s method of using the three key concepts of problem-solving, responsibility, and self-discipline mirrors what other experts are sharing such as Ross W. Green. It is about understanding and teaching students skills that they need support in.

  49. I have been in the field of education for 16 years and the past few years have left me feeling “what else could I do.” I am definitely starting to feel the burn out that was mentioned in the presentation. However, after watching the presentation and reading the book, I feel like I am ready to start this year off fresh. A few things that resonated with me was the chart that broke down our worries. It really put it into perspective to hear that we spend about 92% of our time worrying about things that we can’t control so that leaves us drained to focus on what we can control. I feel myself often caught up in the “what if” and so after watching the presentation I have made it a goal to let go of what has been and to not worry about what might happen. I need to be more focused in the present moment.

  50. The First Days of School Reading Reflection

    Reading this book has provided me with great information on how to succeed not only on the first days of school, but how to have a successful school year. I am going on my fifth year of teaching but have only started the year off once with my students due to getting hired after the school year started and being on maternity leave at the beginning of the school year twice (I have 2 young babies!) The reading has reminded me how important it is to teach students procedures and how effective they are in getting the class running! I highly agree that when procedures and rules are well taught, behavior problems will be at a minimum or even nonexistent because students will know what to do and have no excuses for being off task. My goal this year is to do a better job at teaching students how to take responsibility for their learning/actions as this can help them be successful in and outside of school.

  51. “The First Days of School” is something I wish I had been given before I entered this career. I will implement many of these ideas into my classroom this fall. The rehearsing and explaining is vital at all ages. Kids want to learn and want to be successful even in the first grade. Using it school wide would be ideal but I will try to get the other teachers who share my students to be consistent. I will also arrange my classroom differently as presented in the book. Wonderful ideas that are proven to work!!

  52. As I worked my way through the online portion of this course, I became more aware how important things such as exercise, diet and sleep truly are in the professional world. Kids cannot function well without these areas fulfilled and at times just need to know we care and they are safe at school. I put ‘The Noticer’ on my list of books to read in the near future. It’s always nice to hear others struggle with the same issues and what things worked for them.

  53. When listening to the seminar, I could relate to the topic of stress and how it can sometimes follow us home after a hard day of teaching. The question “How could I have handled that situation better or differently” is one that I have had several times on my own mind. Reflection is great for learning and planning for future situations, but it’s also good to know when to let things go to achieve that work/life balance.

  54. Dear Lynn,
    I always get more accomplished after making my “to do” list. It does help reduce stress and with all the things educators have to do, it eliminates forgetfulness. Also, it gives a “sense of accomplishment” to realize all the tasks that have been tended to.

  55. The video presentation was educational and a good reminder of what we need to do as educators. I often don’t delegate enough for my students to do and do many classroom tasks myself. The phrase, “Delegate, Delegate, Delegate” stood out to me and I realized I need to involve my students more often. Also, the nutrition portion was a good reminder to eat healthy and to incorporate a variety of food groups to stay fit and have the energy to keep up with the students. The sleeplessness study was interesting and reinforces how important it is to get the right amount of sleep.

  56. After reading, “The First Days of School” I was reminded that effective teachers manage their classrooms with procedures. Something I have been doing for the past 20 years. I am an organized person and know that if I show and model organization skills with my students, it will carry over into their daily routines. I have had minimal behavior problems in the classroom over the past 20 years and I do agree that is because students are taught how to follow procedures. I also prepare as if a sub is coming in the morning, so that I am ready and relaxed to start each day. One thing that did stand out to me in the reading was the, “What Do I Do Next” Poster to hang in the classroom. Of course the students are told and taught this, but it seems as the end of the year approaches, more and more students are finishing their work and asking me…”What should I do now?” I loved the idea of having the information posted, so students can refer to it and independently stay on task. I will be creating one of these posters to use in my classroom!

    • I think that displays help remind or redirect students also no matter what grade level. Pictures and/or words can be posted for reference. I’m hoping I can incorporate the Daily Five into this management system. They sound similar as far as procedures/rules. From day one, if both implemented, I feel they could be effective tools for my classroom.

    • One of my methods teachers used an empty, clean ketchup bottle and mustard bottle which she glued magnets as a visual for this. She used the mustard bottle to signal assignments/activities students “must do”. The ketchup bottle was used to signal assignments/activities students could do to “catch up” or “can do”. I thought it was a fun way to add a little flare to the tasks. You could hang them on the white board so you could easily update the information as needed.

  57. I have been teaching almost 20 years in the Fargo Public Schools District. I was fortunate that the school district I began teaching in had a mentor program. Through this program I was introduced to Harry Wong and Rosemary Wong. We watched videos of classroom management and were given his book to read. The first few years of teaching I lived school, I did not know how to balance school, home, friends, family, and me. Throughout the year, I have had various student teachers. I always give them a gift when they have finished their 12 weeks in my classroom; which is the book, The First Days of School. I still go to this book after 20 years of teaching, one needs to remember about classroom management and educator wellness. I am glad I took this course. The little reminders to take care of myself are sometimes needed. I think we as teachers are givers and we sometimes forget to take care of us. I will and have shared various parts of this course with my colleagues. It is important to share the knowledge with others too.

  58. I have been teaching almost 20 years. I was fortunate that the school district I began teaching in had a mentor program. Through this program I was introduced to Harry Wong and Rosemary Wong. We watched videos of classroom management and were given his book to read. The first few years of teaching I lived school, I did not know how to balance school, home, friends, family, and me. Throughout the year, I have had various student teachers. I always give them a gift when they have finished their 12 weeks in my classroom; which is the book, The First Days of School. I still go to this book after 20 years of teaching, one needs to remember about classroom management and educator wellness. I am glad I took this course. The little reminders to take care of myself are sometimes needed. I think we as teachers are givers and we sometimes forget to take care of us. I will and have shared various parts of this course with my colleagues. It is important to share the knowledge with others too.

  59. Just like many others taking this class, I also read The First Days of School during my teacher prep courses. I remember keeping it very close my first couple of years. As I take another look at the same readings with a more mature vision I realize I held on to the idea that classroom management is the most important factor in student achievement from the very beginning of my career. Students need consistency and a well managed classroom allows for that. I still take the time to train my students at the beginning of the year, as well as have the room, the work and myself as ready as I can be before they come in. Prepare, prepare, prepare. There is no other way.

  60. Hi Michelle,
    I’ve been teaching close to 20 years myself and agree with you in that this course was a pleasant surprise as I scrolled through course options. I grew up with the idea that you should always take care of yourself before you can serve others, and it definitely applies in our career. I won’t deny I’ve had thoughts of early retirement, thus my search for personal wellness. I’m excited to share that listening to the class lectures on healthy teaching before, during and after school have resulted as my light at the end of the tunnel. I no longer feel discouraged as I navigate through my teaching practice on a daily basis. I have been able to rediscover the reasons why teaching is my passion and realize I wasn’t doing enough to take care of my self before and after school to sustain myself cognitively as well as I should have, therefore causing me some unwanted stress. I’ve made a plan for myself, and have started working on my TO DO list as well as making sure I get enough sleep. I just needed a kind reminder or two. Your comment about leaving your materials out for the next day as if you were expecting a sub was something I starting putting into practice on my own not to long ago. Just having that mindset brought me many stress free mornings.

  61. After watching the Best Practices and Classroom Strategies for Educator Wellness, I was reminded how important it is that teachers take care of themselves. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and keeping our personal and work life in balance, are keys to effective teaching. By creating a “to do” list each week, I find that I am more present in each moment and also have less stress surrounding what I need to accomplish. This provides me with a sense of calm as I enter my classroom each day.

  62. After watching and listening to the video section on the research done by John Hattie, our fifth grade PLC purchased the book and have done a book study with it. We have worked to improve our teacher and student relationships in our fifth grade. We have seen amazing results. Our students have less behavior problems and care more about their classmates. It is amazing how making a connection with a student can help improve their academic achievements.

    • The information and research that John Hattie has done truly is best practice. It is great to read that implementation of making learning visible improves academic achievement. His conclusion of visible learning needs to be done in all classrooms. Teachers need to make the learning intentions and success criteria visible to the students. Students owning their learning is essential in this process. Students need to own their learning by discussion with peers and showing evidence of their understanding. It is wonderful to have research that informs each educator what great teaching looks like.

  63. I enjoyed reading, “The First Days of School,” book again. I read it as part of our mentor program when I first started teaching. I had forgotten what a useful book this is. I now keep the book on my desk for quick reminders to improve my teaching. The chapter on classroom procedures helped me to have a more effective classroom this year. I tried many of the suggestions and I feel that my students are more involved and are producing more work that is meaningful. I took the suggestion to spend the first week of school teaching and practicing classroom procedures before starting in on the curriculum. When teaching the procedure I would explain, rehearse, and reinforce the procedures with my students. The work at the beginning of the year has paid off. It is December now and my students are further in the curriculum than we normally are at this time. I feel that I have spent less time on discipline and more time on students being engaged.

    • Dear Julie,

      I appreciated your comments about the book, “The First Days of School” by Harry Wong. I too first read it over 20 years ago when I first began my career as a teacher. It was interesting to reread it as a veteran and see how the same principals still apply in any effective classroom. Greeting students by name at the door is one things I try to do every morning. I also spend the first week of school practicing procedures, and this saved time throughout the year. I agree that by going slow, you really can go fast later.

  64. Time management and delegation is always a struggle for me. As a school superintendent of a school district with 970 students in grades K-12 and 158 staff members, I work approximately 55-60 hours per week. I go to work at 7:30 am and go home at 6:15 pm almost daily. I take home one or two small items to work on after my spouse goes to sleep. I take five or six items to complete over the weekend. I go to at least one evening activity per week–sports, meetings, and/or community events. Even with seven other administrators, I am still too involved with what happens in the district. I talk to other area superintendents and they are not nearly as busy as I seem to be. I am a workaholic.

    This weekend’s work include: grading five assignments from two students (of the nine that I am currently working with) who are completing independent study classes with me; grading three assignments from two staff members (an independent study graduate class that I am offering this fall on tribal history; 37 staff are taking the class); complete initial draft of Jan. 16th professional development day; code nine district bills that were received on Friday with appropriate budget codes–make copies to be placed in my budget files when I go back to work tomorrow; write a summary of Miss Indian World’s visit for the newsletter; and prep initial report for school board meeting on Tuesday. Three of the above items could easily be done by others if delegated.

    I understand the need for reducing stress. I focus on reducing stress for others. I struggle with my own. I really don’t see myself changing. With two years to early retirement, I often wonder what happens when I go from working 60 hours a week to what? LOL

    I do try and exercise four days a week. I usually do that at 6 am. This helps with my health. I watch a lot of television which reduces my stress as well.

    I have set a goal for implementation this month: I will delegate the writing of the newsletter to the other administrators. I sent out an email this morning at 8:15 explaining this to them. They will rotate the writing of it each week. Therefore, one duty has been removed from my plate.

  65. In college we used Wong’s book as our text book. After teaching for a while it was a good refresher for me, as many of the techniques become “second nature” for us in our daily classroom routines. One piece that stuck out to me was the part about seating arrangements and how all students “should be directly facing the board.” Many times I have my students in groups, I now have found a way so that all my students are facing the area where I am teaching.

  66. I like when learning about classroom management and ways to be a healthier and more stress free you can be interesting no matter how many years you have been teaching. Hearing from people who have taught a long time or teachers like myself who have only taught a few years can be a great learning and collaborative experience for all. After taking this course I am going to still keep high standards at school but am going to balance my work and life outside of school better!

  67. I had to read the First Days of School in my classroom management class in college. Reading it again for this class was a great refresher after being a teacher for a few years. There are parts of the book that become second nature for many teachers. When reading through it this time the part about seating arrangements stuck with me. I thought about how the book states that all students need to be facing the board where teaching happens. I had put them in groups in the past where some students had to turn to see what was being taught. It’s interesting to see how a small change can make the classroom run so much better!

  68. It is so important to get enough sleep each day, it really can affect how your day goes and how productive you and your students are. I thought the video lectures about what to do before, during and afterschool were very interesting and thought provoking. I’m going to try to keep a journal of how I spend my time. I think that the results will be eye opening!

    • I appreciated the honesty and humor present in the video discussions. I particularly appreciated the comments about needing sleep and finding time for family and friends. I teach a full course load of English and Speech classes in addition to a college course and am in charge of speech, drama and yearbook and am senior class advisor. I think young teachers are hesitant to take on additional roles at our school because they know of the difficulty of finding a replacement. I wish I had been given more advice about balancing work and family when I was younger. I want to think that my children benefited from being around the fine arts and that in some way made up for my absence. I think dialogue about time management is crucial. Parents and administrators don’t realize the time it takes to grade compositions and when school activities interfere with grading time, it becomes overwhelming. It is incredibly rewarding but also exhausting.
      Janel Schiff

  69. I read The First Days of School book as a part of a classroom management class I took in college. Reading it again after being a teacher for a few years reminded me of the basics of running a successful classroom, many of which I do as part of my regular routine at school. As I was setting up my classroom this fall I referenced back to the chapter about seating arrangements and kept in mind that all students should be facing the teacher (in the past I had some in groups that were facing the side and had to turn to see the board when I taught.) I can already notice a difference in student engagement after making the slight change. I think this is a great teacher resource for both starting teachers and veteran teachers!

  70. I enjoyed the presentation on Visible Learning by John Hattie. We, as a profession, must become better at evaluating our instructional strategies and our instructional performance. We must challenge ourselves to provide quality instruction that promotes higher order thinking skills including 21st Century Skills.

    We have to get away from what is easy (the crossword puzzles, the questions at the end of the chapter, busy work, etc.,which unfortunately, I was guilty of for many years). Since studying and developing instructional units based on Essential Questions (Grant Wiggin’s work) and Understanding by Design, I have increased the rigor in the classes that I periodically teach. Since I am a school administrator, I only teach only one class every other semester. Our school district adopted Essential Questions and Understanding by Design four years ago.

    I just purchased the book Visible Learning today. I want to provide several presentations to our administrative team regarding his research. We will ultimately plan on presenting some of it to our teachers.

  71. I am a believer in Harry Wong’s research. Procedures are necessary to have an orderly learning environment. Our school district implemented twelve required procedures for all classrooms for the 2015-2016 school year. They are: Paper Headings; Getting Done with Work Early Procedure; Profanity Procedure; Start of Class Routine; Posting of a Daily or Class Agenda AND Objective Statement; An Opening Assignment; Dismissing the Class; Getting Students’ Attention; New Student Orientation; The Angry Student; Substitute Teacher Handbook; and First Day/Week of School Script. The first three procedures were mandated by the school district to be followed in a particular manner. The remaining procedures were ones in which the teacher could develop their own procedure, but must have an established procedure. Teachers were allowed to retain their own influence and creativity within their personal classrooms. Teachers could also develop and implement other procedures in order to make classroom management as complete as possible.

    We have seen some very good improvements in our classrooms by implementing procedures this past school year. The Curriculum Steering Committee is determining if another district-wide procedure should be added for the 2016-2017 school year.

    Harry Wong’s books are essential reads for teachers who want to improve their performance in the classroom. Teachers new to our school district must read and discuss The Classroom Management book by Harry Wong.

    I have two children who are studying to be teachers and we have created our own book study around the First 100 Days of School and the Classroom Management book. I think that this will give them a much better chance of success during their first year.

  72. This is such good information to hear! It doesn’t matter if you are a new teacher preparing for your first – first day or if you have been doing this for years. I have taught special education for 26 years from 2nd grade up through transition level (age 21). It is the same for all – they want to know that YOU want to be there and that you want THEM to be there. That message is sent on the very first encounter you have with the student!

  73. I have been teaching for 25 years and have never thought to take a course on teacher wellness. I’m so glad I did, and will recommend it to others. One additional thing I have learned, and always pass on to teacher education students who find their way into my classroom: always leave your desk at the end of the day as if you expect a sub to be there in the morning. I can walk into my classroom in the morning knowing that materials and plans are prepared in arranged for me. No rushing out to the copy machine or searching for that missing book.