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 #1
    “The First Days of School” is a book that I wish I had read when I was a new teacher. I have often said that the college courses that I took were more focused on content knowledge, whole language, and reading diagnosis. Much of what I have learned about classroom management has come from talking to and observing peers and the classes that I taken since graduating from college. This book has inspired me to begin preparing for the upcoming school year, which will be in a new building with new colleagues. I will be preparing a procedure portfolio to ensure the success of th coming school year.

  2. I have been reading “The First Days of School” and watching the video presentation in tandem. I am in my thirty-second year of teaching and will admit that a lot of the courses I take now are to advance pay and retirement, but, these were things that I was unwilling to do when I had a young family. They were my priority. What I appreciated was a recap of everything that I have received in district PD over the years. In my mind I was like, “I know that and do that, but don’t know why.” The course has made me think about my upcoming school year and how I will conduct my classroom and remember that I really care about kids and am a pretty great teacher and colleague. I will keep in mind John Hattie’s research. It really encompasses anything a teacher can think about as they engage and react to students.

  3. Harry Wong’s Book really helped to remind me that the beginning of the year procedures and tasks are so important as they set the “stage” for an organized or disorganized year for both the students and the teacher. In my 27 years of teaching the beginning of the year procedures have always determined if the classroom will be highly successful or a struggle. Reading the book was a great reminder to me of how important this step of each year truly is.

    I also enjoyed the video presentations as they were a good reminder of how to take care of myself in all areas from sleep, eating to personal time and remembering to say no when it seems that life has gotten too busy.

  4. I love it that Harry Wong still lives in education somewhere. In today’s school I will not wear a tie, but I will continue to control and teach class time, not home time. I will try to understand what students need emotionally, therefore no matter they research of the ivory tower, smaller class sizes will be more effective for students well being.

  5. Assignment 1: The First Days of School

    A few years ago this book was provided to all the new teachers at the middle school and we discussed it throughout the year. It was a very useful resource and my classes were well managed. I totally agree that a well-managed classroom will run itself if there are routines and expectations in place to create a safe environment. However, I am now at the high school and it isn’t going as well. I’m excited to think about how to accomplish section c of the book with highschoolers as I write my paper.

    • What a great idea to gift this book to all new teachers! I think that it really has some valuable information included that would be great to read over in regards to starting your teaching career. So often, teachers want to dive right into teaching right out of college and it ends up putting so much stress on our lives. Being able to have a reminder to balance life/school/work in a healthy way would create such a great platform to begin a successful and healthy teaching career.

  6. Assignment #3 (Check for understanding).

    Through distance learning, I have been rethinking how I collect evidence for student learning (submitted online). The check for understanding in this module was not meant to be challenging, however, it did get the most important points across. After taking the ‘quiz’, students cannot say they never heard of the expectations. I will definitely incorporate this idea into my classroom as a stepping stone that students must complete before moving on to the project or next step.

  7. Assignment 3

    I found the John Hattie videos intriguing since the comparison of educational factors on a number line is a new concept for me. Having a classroom with strong teacher/student relationships, active learning, challenging goals, and peer involvement all had more positive influence on learning versus class sizes. Also, the piece about homework with only a .29 rating surprised me. I teach special education classes, and homework is something I do not assign regularly (too frustrating). so this helps to back up my reasonings for not assigning homework.

    • The above was to be for assignment #2. Sorry

  8. Assignment #5
    In writing the paper, it was interesting to pull information from the text, presentation, and additional articles and reflect on my own teaching. Putting it all together really made an impact and was a reminder to not let self-care fall to the wayside when things get busy. I particularly liked one quote that I found in an article. The author quoted Viktor Frankl who wrote “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” I took this as a call to reclaim the power in the space. To give time before answering that late night email from a parent or to stop and think before pushing bedtime later to read just one more interesting idea about a lesson, etc..

  9. Assignment #3 Knowing that there will be questions throughout changes the way that a student takes in the information. It is easy to let a video run and maybe not play complete attention. The addition of questions helps to retain the information.

  10. Assignment #4 Reading the blog posts of other educators has made it feel more like a class than an independent study. I agree with many of the other more experienced teachers in that a lot of the information, particularly the taking care of yourself information covered things that I know are important but continue to neglect. Most striking for me, as seemingly many others, was the portion about sleep. In order to maintain a work/life balance with two young kids, I try to focus on my family when I am home and they are awake. This in turn pushes all of the teacher homework/exercise/meal planning to after bedtime which then causes me to get not nearly enough sleep. Reading about the consequences of lack of sleep is a good reminder to figure out a better system for balance.

  11. Assignment #2
    I frequently tell my own children that I hope that the find a job that they love as much as I do, so I was not surprised at my results of the first wellness assessment. I decided to answer the questions based on my feelings at a previous job. I knew that I was happier now, but it was interesting to see where the differences were. The scores were 2.8 vs 1.8 which did not surprise me, but the indivdual categories were interesting to look at.

  12. RE: Video Presentation: So much of what makes or breaks my day, as a teacher doing her job, or just as a human being going through life, is my attitude. Negative feelings aren’t minor things to be dismissed as if they don’t matter, but one shouldn’t camp out in them either. Negative feelings are a wake-up call to do something that will make things better. Figure out what to really worry about and choose not to worry about the rest. Don’t waste time imagining negative scenarios that will never happen or ruminating on the past. Figure out what is within one’s control to improve –what realistic changes one can make for the better. (Ah! The Serenity Prayer!)

  13. I am a traveling teacher who is frustrated with how much time is lost at the beginning of each class. I arrive at about the same time as my students, and then have to connect to the projector, etc. I plan to implement a bell-ringer as a way to engage students with learning quickly and quietly, (First Days of School, Ch. 15, Wong). Since I teach a course that is a taste of French, German, and Spanish, I will call it “Activity Number 1” in whatever language is our focus. One of my ideas is to make laminated cardstock posters of the different bell-ringers I routinely use, and then post them on the whiteboard via magnets. Alternatively, I could post the bell-ringers on our class web page. Our students are all assigned a device, so most bell-ringers will be computer-based. For example, students might review a vocab study set on Quizlet. Another idea is a mini culture exploration via the Internet. To keep them accountable, they would answer questions in an online form or post in an online discussion forum. Ch. 16 also suggests taking roll with your seating chart quietly, without interrupting students as they do the bell-ringer.

  14. I have made it a point to implement strategies from The First Days of School. In particular, I have found it very effective to provide the students with a relevant bell ringer activity to complete in the first minutes of class. Providing this routine that helps them to ground themselves at the beginning of class while allowing me the time to take attendance and get handouts ready has been wonderful. I am a traveling teacher, so if my prep period is in another building, I may have just arrived and could use the time to get settled.

  15. The First Days of School book is a book that I read many years ago during my first year of teaching. It is an awesome book full of wonderful insight. In fact, I have based my classroom environment completely off of the 4 Characteristics of a Well-Managed Classroom and it has worked very well for me. I had forgotten about the really awesome classroom management idea that Arthur Kavanaugh uses (described on pg. 89). I very much plan to implement this next semester in my classes because I find that at the beginning of class is one area where students sit and wait(…and talk and mess around) for me to finish attendance, pull up necessary materials for this class etc…if I had something for them to do themselves at the beginning that would be even better. I am glad to have a chance to re-read this book. It’s a good refresher and gives a lot of ideas.

  16. The modules for Health Teaching were full of pretty basic (common knowledge) information. However…seeing and hearing this information really made an impact on me. I have always known in the back of my mind that I should prioritize my tasks, take care of my body physically and mentally, but am I doing these things?….no. That’s why I searched for a class that would help me deal with the stress of teaching. I’ll be honest that at first I was irritated in the basics of the modules but then I began to actually think about the information being given. Yes it’s basic things we should know, but sometimes we get so caught up in work we forget these basic things.

  17. The modules for healthy teaching I felt were pretty basic common knowledge; things that we should already know. For some reason though, I needed to see and hear these things. I really enjoyed the youtube presenters as well. Yes, we know we should prioritize our responsibilities and tasks…but do we do it? Probably not. Yes we should eat healthy and take care of our bodies to help with stress…do we do it? Some yes, some no. It was beneficial to hear those basics because although we know what we should be doing in the back of our heads…we aren’t. That’s why we looked for a course on how to manage stress.

  18. After viewing the video presentations I find there are many pieces of information that I reflect upon. The percentages about the amount of worry in ones life is astonishing. Only 8% of what people worry about can be controlled. That is eye opening and really gives me permission to move on and not waste my energy on what I can’t really control. Educator wellness is a hot topic and it should be. By taking the wellness assessment I realized that we, as stated, “get sucked into the tornado of school commitment.” I need to be in control of saying no to administrators requests and know it is okay to say no. The steps shared to becoming a healthier person are not only good for educators but for all people. I am going to have my daughter view the 14 minute video that included the steps to managing time, as I believe that young people of today don’t know how to manage time due to the impact of many factors in their life. This was a great reminded that all people have the same amount of time, 24 hours our day. Time simply passes and we are in charge of managing ourselves and how we use that time.

    • I completed agree with needing to get better at saying no. I literally just agree to “wear another hat” at school by being a Freshman Mentor. Why did I do that? Because an administrator asked me…and I want to keep my job. Part of given into the “tornado of school commitments” is because we want to be secure. I am not sure what state you live in, but in Illinois…teaching jobs are cut all the time because our state isn’t paying our schools and our schools struggle. I take on as much as I can for job security. But, in turn…my stress level is ridiculous. I decided that taking Freshman Mentor is enough extra duty that I am going to give up one of my other duties of Freshman Board Sponsor for next year. To try to alleviate stress but still take on something additional besides what is expected.

  19. I have been teaching for 20 plus years and I have never read the text “The First Days of School.” As I went through Section C I found myself jotting down ideas to share with co-workers. As a Literacy Interventionist, I am in and out of classrooms of all levels all day long. I have the opportunity to see what works and what does not. I believe that effective people need to be given the time to organize a well-managed classroom. Effective classrooms must be predictable and consistent for students to thrive. Well-managed classrooms provide consistent procedures for students which eliminates confusion and wasted time.

  20. I have to say that I really enjoyed the portion of the modules about taking care of myself. I often times put myself last and forget that a healthy me is a better teacher. I also appreciated the encouragement given throughout the course. Listening to the enthusiasm you produced in your classroom was motivation to try and do the same for my kiddos.

  21. I appreciated the graph idea for prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency. Sometime I waste too much time an an urgent but unimportant task. According to one article I read we spend a large part of time here thinking we are working on urgent and important tasks. It clearly shows me one place I’m easily side tracked.

    • I totally agree. I get overwhelmed with the piles because I feel like I have to attend to anything and everything when in all actuality it’s just not the case!

  22. I am beginning my 26th year of teaching. I had read “The First Days of School” many years ago. One thing that I see many teachers struggle with is organization. After observing many teachers, I still cannot understand how effective teaching can occur without clear organization. I believe organization and classroom management are the keys to a successful school year.

  23. Reading Unit C in the book “The First Days of School” validated the work I have done in my classroom. I have procedures for handing back papers, for handing in papers, for checking out books, etc. One of the nicest compliments I received from one of the assistant principals was regarding the fact that my 7th grade students were quietly lined up to pick up their folders and were recording their grades on their self-monitoring sheets. Having procedures has simplified so many aspects of teaching and decreases the stress in the classroom because everyone knows what to expect. Last year I had a student look at me and ask if it was “have a nice day time” because that was how I always dismissed them.

  24. One of the ideas to reduce stress as presented in the videos was to work to develop a healthy lifestyle. This past year several teachers at my school decided to work on weight loss together. Having the support of so many others has done wonders for me and helped me to drop 20 pounds so far. I have had teachers share the apps they use for tracking food and exercise and found that by using one I was much more accountable. I also realized how much of an impact a healthier lifestyle can have on my daily outlook. I was much more able to handle the stress in the classroom because I felt better physically.

  25. I found the information from Andy Andrews regarding what we worry about particularly interesting. The fact that 92% of worry is about things we have no control over was surprising to me. As I started to look at the things I worry about and realized that the majority is uncontrollable, I started to be able to let more of them go. As I work with students this up-coming year, I am going to make an effort to look at each worry with the focus on can I control this or not. I will attempt to let more of the “can’t controls” go.

    • I found this information very interesting too. As I thought about these statements in both my work and personal life, I realized most are also uncontrollable. I think this is important in reguards to work for both myself and the students. If I can model worrying less about the “can’t controls” then hopefully my students can pick up some of those habits too. This will in turn hopefully reduce my stress along with help the student’s stress and anxiety in their own lives.

  26. I just completed the coursework and essay for the class “Best Practices and Classroom Strategies for Educator Wellness”. The biggest take away for me was the data and research presented by John Hattie. A major focus in our district is on active student engagement and social emotional learning; both of which score high on Hattie’s “achievement scale”. It’s satisfying to know that our district’s focus is in line with the research.

  27. Assignment #5 – The resources I used to support my paper where supportive for faculty to increase rituals for everyday well-being at school. My school district needs to have more wellness programs for the teachers. It seems they are focusing on the students so much that they forget about us.

    • I agree, teachers tend to put themselves last by nature and sometimes the districts are just as guilty of this.

  28. Assignment #4 – Reading the blog posts was very reassuring. Many talked about the first days of school and being prepared. I have not had many classes that used blogs but I really enjoy this way of communicating. I think everybody who teaches gets overwhelmed in the daily routine and forgets about educator wellness. A healthy teacher is a happy teacher!

  29. Assignment #3 – Teaching middle school PE I need to be very organized, have a bag of tricks ready if a lesson is getting side tracked, and be able to check to see if the students understand what the objective is. Using Differentiated Instruction has helped me teach all students and address their personal learning styles. Taking time in class, with questions about the rules of a game, keeps the kids who are not playing the game fairly on call. If I find that they do not know the rules they need to sit out and watch the game until the can answer my original question.Next time they listen a bit more .

  30. Burnout!!! Last week I hit the wall and thought I was going for early retirement or go get a doctors note for burnout, the kids and parents were out of control. I reflected on the Educator Wellness and took some time for myself. I went to the gym, made a healthy dinner and prepared my lunch for the next day. Being organized and taking a step back gave me confidence to go back into the ring. I loved the wellness quiz and was surprised that I scored well on it. The wellness portion of the online video was one of my favorite parts.

  31. This book has been a great refresher for me after teaching PE for twenty – one years. My biggest success over the years has been having a good class management plan. I organize the students with a seating plan, give strict class room rules , and encourage and teach character, the Six Pillars of Character. During my last three years I am going to try the Wongs suggestion of greeting students at the door during the first month. I am really going to try to learn all their names and address them properly. It is a great book and I will pass on to my successor when I retire.

  32. Assignment #4- The fundamental behavioral elements associated with student engagement and learning are featured prominently during this lesson. In teaching, I forget how important each element is to the overall lesson success. Too often I am caught up in the curriculum to teach and I miss an important step required for best student achievement. I model, then give small guided practice time, and then send them along to do independent work. I need to allow time for input and sit back while they work. I want to promote the exploration failure and success rate and available to prompt with questions for further exploration. I will remember to block out things that may distract from the overall goal of the lesson objective. I will learn not to get lost in the details but provide motivation. I feel rejuvenated as I wrap up this school year with my students.

  33. Assignment #3
    I have always believed a class like this should be taught to aspiring educators before going into the classroom. There is more to teaching than the creation of singular lesson plans to present to established classrooms through the required classroom visits. There is more to teaching than having someone guide you (or not guide you) through the weeks of student teaching. Teaching is overwhelming at times and the burden we carry transfers to all walks of life. I particularly liked how much importance was put on being prepared for daily lessons. I have always thought of the adage, “If you are not prepared, then be prepared to fail.” It holds true still today as it did at the beginning of time.

  34. Assignment #2
    I am not sure how I felt about the presentation regarding Teacher Effectiveness by John Hattie. I think, however, that is what he intended to happen so we as individuals can get to the heart of what is happening in our classrooms. I know we all want to maximize skills to develop capable learners. We want to matter in a child’s life and be remembered for helping them achieve their goals. We believe we set high standards and want them to engage in peer involvement. But we are tired! We are the caregivers, nurses, psychologists, confidants, and learning facilitators. We are data collectors and professional development participators. We have parents to call and administrators to email. Most often we have our own family to take care of as well. I think these were some of the points not addressed by Mr. Hattie. I appreciate this course taking us through strategies for educator wellness because I for one need to be able to balance life!

  35. Assignment #1
    It was interesting to read the book “The First Days of School” once again after 18 years of teaching. I still use several of the techniques presented as part of my daily instruction. It is imperative I greet each student at the door every day. I encourage them to make that connection with not only me but also others in the classroom as a way to build classroom relationships. I also believe is communicating with parents is key in forging a relationship to help the child succeed inside and out of the classroom. It was encouraging to read that I am still on track with some of Wong’s best classroom practices.

  36. Assignment #4
    After reading the blog posts, one idea that seemed to keep coming up was the fact that this course should be offered to new teachers before they begin their career. I think that teaching as become so demanding that stress reducers are needed to do the job, but not let it take over your life. I agree with the other students that that new teachers should be aware of ways they can take care of themselves as they embark on a career in teaching.

  37. Checking for understanding is a very important part of learning. To be sure that I understood and remembered important points in the video presentation, I took copious notes so that I would remember everything. In my second grade classroom, I check for understanding in many ways. In addition to assessments, I use informal assessments including thumbs up/thumbs down and writing answers on a whiteboard, which kids really love!

    • HI Suzanne, I also use the thumbs up/thumbs down in PE to see if the kids know the rules. They can not play if they do not understand!

  38. Assignment #2
    I enjoyed listening to the video presentation. I feel fortunate that I have avoided the teacher burnout rate after 17 years of teaching. I did take this class though because I do feel a lot of stress at times. I did appreciate listening to the ways that I reduce stress for both myself and my class. Sometimes it is hard to be “on” when you have personal problems. I think admitting your mistakes and not holding your students to perfection is really good advice for me to remember as I am teaching!

  39. Assignment #1
    I feel that the book The First Days of School is timeless. It was a required read for me in 2000 as part of my class work. Every day for the last 18 years, I have made it a priority to greet my students at the door with a smile and a hug or high five. It creates a bond between my students and I. After reading it a second time almost two decades later was just as enlightening! One weakness that I still feel I struggle with is organization. I think I have good classroom management with the students. But, I realized after reading the chapter about having a well managed classroom that having everything ready is equally important so there is little wasted time. It inspired me to work on my organization more so that I am not looking for materials while my students are in front of me waiting.

  40. Hi! I just listened to your audio lesson regarding the things that make teaching a stressful job.
    Talking points that spoke to me the loudest:
    1. Baggage that we take home each day causes stress–It is difficult to turn off the school day once the dismissal bell rings. I often worry that I spend more time on my students than I do my own family, which is a sad statement.
    2. Can’t complain about money–No, we really can’t. But on the flip side, it is hard for an 18 year old to see 30 years into the future. I definitely couldn’t imagine my life beyond five years. I wonder if I would have changed majors if I understood the trajectory. All of that said, I really love teaching kindergarten.
    3. 40% Worry Warts and 10% What Others Think–That’s me, although to me they almost go together. I am constantly worried how I am perceived to others. Is this called Imposter Syndrome?
    4. Animal Dialects–I wonder if different situation call for different animal dialects. For example, if a student is in a heightened emotional state, words and physical touch are probably the last thing he/she wants experience. No talking or touching in a heightened state. If a child gets hurt, physical reassurance might be best practice. If a child finally “gets” a difficult concept, the cat approach might be best.
    Anyway, loved the audio lecture and the presenters straight forward style.

    • Hi Leah-
      I agree with many of your talking points above. I found the lecture regarding the highest levels of success most interesting because I have been under the belief that class size is relative to student achievement. I had never considered that I could be like so many and make a false comparison with numbers. I have been a Kindergarten teacher for several years and I believe that my a larger class size has been detrimental to the learning process of each student. I guess I use this year as my example because my morning class has 26 students and my afternoon class has 12. In the morning, I get to maybe 2 reading groups. In my afternoon class, I can get through all 5 groups each day. Then I remember that I still give each group challenging goals, show them work samples, and work out 3-4 different strategies on how to solve problems, so maybe I can offset those feeling I originally had about class size with the other items that list has the highest indicators of successful teaching and it all may work out ok.

  41. Assignment #5 Additional readings. The articles I chose had to do with staff wellness and how it affects student achievement. I wish more school districts were more pro active with staff wellness. Healthy teachers miss less school and have more energy.

  42. Assignment #1 Harry and Rosemary Wong’s “The First Days Of School” is a great teacher resource. As I read through the book I realized that, as a veteran teacher of over 20 years in the classroom, a lot of it was a review. Reviews are good. Some of the ideas on classroom management were an affirmation on what I am currently doing. There were some other ideas that I had since forgotten and they served as good reminders. This should be mandatory reading for new teachers.

    • Hi Stephen, I am also over twenty years of teaching and I agree it should be a mandatory reading for new teachers. It would have helped me at the beginning. I agree reviews are good and this may help me get through my last 3 years.

  43. Assignment #2. The video portion of the class was one educators good ideas on teacher wellness as they pertain to before, during, and after school. I wish I would have taken this class earlier in my career. It has taken me many years ( 22) of teaching to figure a lot of this stuff out on my own. Solid information.

  44. Assignment #3: Doing all the steps to complete this class has really made me think about myself as a teacher. I would tell teachers write out of college to take this class for sure. So much was covered that a teacher does not learn until they are in the classroom. I am in year thirteen of teaching so lots of the stuff I had heard before but some was new and it is always nice to learn something new. I really liked the art of saying a “soft no” and I took that lesson to work and told it to my co-workers.
    Writing the paper made me think the most because five pages calls for a lot of planning. I was surprised at the research I did on my own on some of the topics and I would have never looked into any of it had it not been for that paper. I have never been big on homework but I gave out zeros when kids failed to do work and after some research I am thinking harder about what kids learn from getting a zero and also making sure there is a clear point to my homework.
    Lastly, reading through other people’s blogs was nice because it made me think about some of the aspects of the videos that maybe didn’t make me think that hard the first time through. It is interesting what parts resonated with different teachers. I guess it goes to show how different everyone learns because we all took the same class but we all picked different areas that we focused on for our blogging.
    Like I stated at the start of this blog, I think new teachers would get a lot out of this class, but any teacher should be open to listening to what the class said. There was a lot to be learned and it also gave lots of information about if a teacher is burned out what he or she should do. I knew I wasn’t burned out but it was still nice to see what signs to look for and what to do to keep myself safer from burn out. There is so much more to teaching then anyone can guess and this class really had good suggestions on how to manage all that.

  45. Assignment 3: I really think this class should be required by young teachers to avoid burnout and minimize the stress. The videos were helpful giving information that teachers should learn from. The additional reading was interesting to see how other people thought and seeing both sides on issues especially homework and dress for teachers. I also like looking at what other people thought when they do things, because as a teacher I liked to see what others have tried that I could try. We used to do like PLC around my area where you could talk to other teachers teaching the same things. One thing I know I need to work on is health, but I think that goes for everybody. The reflection paper was also really interesting, after writing it, I found that I had to shorten in up to get the most into the paper.

  46. Assignment #2 I learned a lot from all the videos and some of the topics really stuck with me and I brought the information to my co-workers. I have seen great teachers burn out because they focused too much on being a cool teacher instead of focusing on time management or their own mental health. It is very easy to get bogged down with work and extra duties and I am now going to not be afraid of a polite no. I am in year thirteen of teaching and do not feel any burn out yet. I hope that by focusing on some highlights of this class I can keep my body and mind healthy so I can have a long teacher career that benefits me and all my students both present and future.

  47. Assignment #4
    Book: I found section “C” to be most helpful, as classroom management is the area that can make or break the school year. I like how they laid out 4 characteristics of a well managed classroom: 1. Students are deeply involved 2. Students know the expectations 3. There is little wasted time 4. The climate is work-focused but relaxed and pleasant.

    Presentations: I feel like a lot of the information was review or reminders for me, but something new that I learned about is the 4 quadrant to-do list. I think using that method would be a great way for me to feel less overwhelmed with my long to-do lists.

    Blog: I enjoyed reading comments from other educators in different settings. I don’t often get to hear from other educators as I am the only art teacher and my school and can feel isolated at times. The comment by Corey Ploium from Nov. 24th 2017 really resonated with me. He said that success on the first day is just as important for teachers as it is the students. How the first day/weeks go will impact how the rest of the year goes as well.

  48. Assignment #3
    There are a variety of ways that I use to check for understanding. I do informal checks verbally and with thumbs up/thumbs down. I also do small assessments at the end of class on occasion. In my situation being an art teacher, I can also see in the student artwork if they are getting concepts or not.

  49. Assignment #2
    I was intrigued by the fact that most of the burnout occurs between 5-7 years of teaching, because it correlates with my own feelings being in my 7th year. I started to feel the burnout on year 5. In my self-care questionnaire I got a score of 2.5, which translated to being “secure and satisfied.” I feel that I generally still enjoy my job, but feel less passionate than I did my first years of teaching.

  50. Assignment #1
    I really enjoy reading “The First Days of School” each year before starting. It puts me in the right mindset and reminds me what is truly important, such as greeting and getting to know the students. The importance of setting procedures and routines and then practicing them is something that has transformed my teaching and makes my classroom a happier place.

  51. Assignment 2 – The videos were very informative, and made me have to do some thinking. The one thing that really hit me was the dress code as an educator and how on casual Fridays the discipline seemed to get worse. After I heard that I had a discussion with colleagues to see if that was the case, or if it was just Friday’s when students are looking forward to the weekend.
    I also found it interesting when I needed to take a wellness test just to see where I was at. Being in my 13th year, I was thinking it might have been a lot different when I started and some years might have been higher. Because I have seen really good classes and some classes that 4 years with them was way to many.

  52. Assignment #5: The extra reading that I found all support what I have learned in this course. They also focus on the fact that if teacher don’t take care of themselves they burnout and leave the profession.

  53. Assignment #4: This course has really helped me to refocus and see the value in having routines and taking care of myself. I would say an area that I realize I really need to take care of myself and put myself more. I need to try and find ways to squeeze in gym time because it is something that I really enjoy and it truly does help let that stress go at the end of the day.

  54. I like to check for student understanding on topics in a variety of way–exit slips, entrance slips, formatives. This gives me an idea of who gets it and who is lost. Hopefully that way we can catch them before they are tested on the materials formally.

  55. Assignment #2: The information covered in the Video presentation was very informative and relevant to teaching today. I liked when I had the opportunity to stop and reflect on 2 quizzes they had us take.

  56. Assignment #1:

    This is a book that I received on the first day of inservice at my first teaching job. It should be handed out to all students before they begin student teaching. There is so much information that in the book that is so valuable to first year teachers and veteran teacher. It should be the go to book during your first year of teaching and a recheck book in your 5th, 10th, 15th, ect years of teaching.

  57. Assignment #4- Some takeaways that I am bringing into my classroom are to focus on my self-care, keep it positive, and work on routines. For self-care I am getting back into the routine of a whole foods plant based diet. Our family was really focusing on this the past few years, but it was easy to fall out of it and just pick something up quick instead. I am also working out at the gym again. Although I love to go for walks with my daughter and dog, I can tell a definite change in my mood when I run.

  58. Assignment #3- Checking for information is vital to ensuring that what is being taught is actually being learning. Informal assessments help teachers to see where students are at now, so we can see where we can take them further.

  59. Assignment #1-My district was lucky enough to have the Wongs come present our beginning of the year in-service a few years back. Reading their book, “The First Days of School”, is a yearly back to school tradition for me. It helps me get focused on what my focus will be for back to school. Some items that I always focus on are the routines!

  60. Assignment #2- The video presentation really resounded with me. Last year was my hardest year teaching, and I took this course to help put some more pep in my step. During the questionnaire, I realized that I could honestly say that I was not a positive person at the end of last year. I’ve been taking into account some of the healthy practices mentioned, and I feel a lot more upbeat about this year. I do have an excellent class this year (which helps immensely), I have started a regular workout routine, I have been getting back into eating a whole foods plant based diet. My positive outlook has been restored!

  61. Assignment #1-Our school district was lucky enough to have Harry and Rosemary Wong present at our school beginning of the year in-service a few years ago. Reading their book each year is a way that I prep for the school year. Reading the book for this class fell right into my prior to school prep!

    Some takeaways that I always value from the book are the importance of routines in the classroom. I make sure to really teach my students the routines of the room, and that has always really helped our classroom function smoothly. Within my second grade classroom we spend the first 6 weeks really honed in on those routines. As we move into more content area the second week, we are constantly practicing how to get our book, how to put away jackets, etc…

    Our class rules are a reflection of the school mission statement, “At Hagan Elementary we will be safe, responsible, respectful, and most of all have fun learning”. I have tied all our procedures back to how to be safe, responsible, and respectful so that we can have fun learning.

  62. Assignment #1

    In my twelve years of teaching I am always amazed when I learn something that is new and simple for me to put into place in my classroom. Reading this book has done that for me. I also like that as I read the chapters I could agree with many of the points made in the book. Harry Wong talks about having assignments posted in the same place every day. Last year I put this into place in my classroom and it worked. Students stopped asking questions when they came into class and they simply referred to the board and started working. That way I was able to do role while the students worked without taking away from class time.

    This year I am going to lean more toward have specific rules in my classroom so students are well aware of the rules and if a problem arises they can cite what rule has been broken. Clear rules that are reenforced and placed in the classroom are hard to challenge. If students are clear on the rules then so will administrators so there is no grey area when if comes to how my classroom is run by me.

  63. Assignment 1 – The First Days of School

    The first thing that came to me when I was reading this section was a teachers reputation. In my 12 years of teaching I have seen it a different way where students that I had wanted to be with a different teacher because they didn’t have to work as hard for a passing grade. I guess I was making seniors work to hard to graduate.

    The second part that hit me was going over the procedures the first week of school to make sure that they new what I wanted in my classroom. I have be spoiled with good classes that by time I had them the second year and sometimes 3 they knew what I expected but sometimes it took a bit of time to get there. I think it I hit these the first week of school then I wouldn’t have to deal with some of the headaches I have had. I have had the student that keeps asking why do I pick on them so much, but it was because I didn’t go over class procedures with them right away.

    The last thing that hit me was meeting them at the door with an assignment at the door so they could get right to work and doing attendance. I have missed doing attendance because I have been trying to get them started but if I met them at the door with the assignment. We might be able to get more done in class without any distractions

    In this reading it gave me some stuff to think about it that I could incorporate to my classroom to help me become a healthier teacher.

  64. Assignment #4 –

    There were a few key takeaways for me from the readings in this class, the videos, and the observations from classmates within this blog.

    In Wong’s reading, the importance of having clear learning expectations posted when kids walk into the room and avoiding that dreaded question from Dr. Madeleine Hunter of “Why do we have to learn this?” Is one that I will focus on as a personal goal for this upcoming school year. It’s hard to imagine that so much class time is wasted in transitions and in the beginning of the class, so again having those clear routines, procedures, and expectations from day one is imperative to avoiding this wasted time and instead maximizing instruction, which will be another personal focus for me this year.

    Like many classmates, I struggled with the “Blue Jean Blues” and the professional dress. I teach in a casual mountain community were kids and parents alike are in chacos and shorts 365 days/year. My own principal wears jeans every day of the week and is known for his cool collection of Nike sneakers. While I agree that it is important to dress the part, the casual environment that has been established in our school hasn’t impacted student success or expectations…in fact, I think if one teacher were to wear a button up shirt and tie everyday it would be detrimental to their image to the rest of the staff, much like the point in the video about the “cool teacher” who lets their kids chew gum and watch movies loses the respect of the staff.

    In the blog posts, a classmate posted about the similarities between the animal dialects and the 5 Love Languages — this was my first reaction to that portion of the video as well. It’s so true that we communicate with people in the way that we like to be communicated with. Just having an awareness of this can help us identify effective and ineffective communication and try to improve it.

    Lastly, the four quadrant to do list is a tool that I will immediately implement in my day-to-day. I allow myself to get bogged down in projects that I should’ve said “no” to and focusing on things that aren’t time sensitive while putting on the back burner things that I need to get done, which has a trickle effect on my stress, sleep, and ability to enjoy my hobbies and relationships. This year I am going to attempt to minimize what I say yes to and focus on what is important, going back to my own health and well being as a priority before I can help others.

  65. Assignment #3 –

    Check for understanding is, of course, a great formative assessment to understand that learning has taken place. Not only was this effective in the presentation, but also an effective reminder of the importance of formative assessments for educators. I also enjoyed the sections with reflective questions on time management and prioritizing to do lists, as well as considering why I became a teacher and finding that purpose that I had when I first went into the profession.

  66. Assignment #2 –

    I very much enjoyed the video presentation on Healthy Teaching and Educator Wellness and found that it reinforced things that I already knew but never stopped to consciously consider. Right in the beginning, the comment on avoiding teacher burnout, saying “I’ve wasted three years of my life and x years of college, this is awful” really hit home. In my ninth year of teaching, two masters degrees, an administrative license, and pursuing a doctorate, I find myself saying “I’m stuck and how did I get here?!” That was reinforced by the Wellness Assessment in Part 2 in which I scored a 1.6 — this was a black and white way of telling me that I need to make changes in the way I approach my career in education if I am going to stay in education. These changes were presented in various places in the video… like many classmates, I found that the “dialects” section spoke to the need to understand the way that others communicate in order to have more effective relationships. This is true of speaking with students, parents, colleagues, and even friends and family. I liked the challenge of finding the dialect that I am most uncomfortable with and working on it. Going into this next school year in a very aggressive parent and teaching community, I can identify people I struggle to work with and plan to utilize this tool to more effectively communicate and get along. I also enjoyed the section on worry, and put myself into the camp of worrying about things that have already happened and worrying about what others think of us. These are both things that are out of our control and I need to learn to let go of. Coupled with the section on time and feeling the stress of “the time famine”, it is abundantly clear to me that I need to let go of things like worry that take me away from more important aspects of my life, such as nutrition, working out, my hobbies, and my relationships. A final takeaway was the research done by John Hattie and the effect sizes of what we do as teachers. I would like to use this as a tool to more effectively focus my energy on things that are proven to have an effect and spend less precious time on the things that don’t.

  67. Assignment #1 —

    A few things in Harry Wong’s book, “The First Days of School” specifically stood out to me. I have never stopped to consider how the beginning of the year sets the trend for what the year will look like an how crucial it is that you establish clear expectations for your students. I like that Wong lists the importance of using the student’s name, saying please and thank you, smiling, and showing love to students as important aspects of enhancing positive expectations. The difference between management and discipline was also a concept I hadn’t considered before, specifically in considering the climate of a classroom being relaxed and pleasant as opposed to regimented in a disciplinarian way. As a teacher, if I am structuring my lessons in ways that are inspiring to students with clear expectations and set the students up for success, this will happen in my classroom. Finally, understanding that the problem in a classroom is not discipline but is lack of procedures and routines really drove home the need for structure from day one.

  68. Assignment #4
    I’m always happy when I take a class and the words “That’s a great idea!” come out of my mouth! This happened several times while watching all the videos for this class. Here are some of the great ideas I learned and would like to implement this upcoming school year:
    – Cooperative Learning vs. Cooperative Teaching: I’m a gifted intervention specialist who works with the same kiddos for four years in a row. The students become very comfortable with me and with the others as the years go on so the environment is usually quite chatty, often much to my chagrin. I love the idea of using a listening/talking object. I think this will encourage my students to talk more and listen more to others.
    -Pet Peeves: Lining up to leave my room is always a talkative time and a huge stress-producing time waster. I never thought about practicing that and even putting a student “in charge” by delegating and making that person the enforcer instead of me. This has always been one of those insanity moments where I just get frustrated with the students, and I now know strategies to make this a non-issue and decrease my stress several times a day.
    -Differentiation Party: I know this video was done tongue -in -cheek, but a great deal of my job involves encouraging teachers to differentiate for the gifted students. I would love to somehow incorporate this video or at least the idea behind the video into how I present differentiation to teachers to get them to buy into it (instead of them thinking that I will just do it for them).
    -“Handle people and projects that waste your time”. This is going to be my mantra for the upcoming school year.
    -Real Time vs. Clock Time: I love the idea of scheduling beginning and ending times to think about things. I tend to dwell on things that have bothered my during the school day, usually at night when I’m trying to go to sleep, and then they become repetitive thought cycles that keep me awake until all hours of the night. If I schedule specific time slots to hash and re-hash the day I think I will sleep better this year! I’m looking forward to how the increase of sleep alone will reduce my stress!
    – The “I Make a Difference” video was empowering and I would like to share that at a staff meeting. That really hit home!

  69. Assignment #3
    The videos were interesting; because I’m a very seasoned teacher close to the end of my career there was not a great deal of new info to me, but definitely some food for thought that I have not “tasted” in while. The questions would definitely help new teachers retain the material, but did however help me reflect on what was being presented.

  70. Assignment # 2
    I’ve been a teacher a long time and am two school years away from retirement. I’m tired, I’m burned out, but not by the kids. I teach gifted kids and I love them; they keep the joy in my job. What stresses me out the most is the fact that I’m the only teacher in my district with my job and I’m teaching in 4 different schools. I’m stretched way too thin with too little support from admin and sometimes the teachers I’m assigned to. The question in the video “Are you maximizing your potential?” really hit home because I feel like I’m not maximizing my potential due to too many responsibilities in too many schools. I don’t bring work home with me (I don’t assign homework and there are no grades involved because it’s all enrichment), but the stress from the adults involved in my job keeps me up at night. The topic of how lack of sleep effects a person really hit home because this job is effecting my health. I now realize that I’m going to have to work on techniques to clear my head so I don’t lay awake at night this upcoming school year hashing and rehashing the battles I have to fight to support my gifted students.

  71. Assignment #1 Response to Wong text

    I was happy to see this book being included in this course! I have owned Wong’s “bible” for the past ten years of the twenty four I’ve been teaching, and I find it helpful every year at the beginning of the year to get me motivated in preparing well-run classes. Organization and the setting up and rehearsal of procedures is so valuable, and I realize every year I teach that my classes run so much more smoothly when these are routine and everyone knows my expectations and how the classes work. I also find personally that rereading this text made me reflect on things that went wrong in my classes last year, and how I can better right those wrongs this upcoming school year.

  72. Assignment #4: Blog and Post

    Book: I found section C of the book interesting and helpful. I especially liked “The Key Idea” sections because there were great take-aways. Many of the strategies and techniques mentioned by Wong are things that I already implement in my classroom so it make me feel like I am being successful. This would be a great book for students in a teaching credential program to read prior to being in their own classroom their first year/first days.

    Presentations: The video presentations were engaging and informing. I especially enjoyed John Hattie’s Visible Learning section. In the 2nd half, the YouTube videos broke up the monotony and also make me laugh (I love Gerry Brooks!). Overall, I felt like the video presentations will allow me to really reflect on my health and make necessary changes to be the best teacher I can be.

    Blog: I enjoyed reading other students’ blog posts. Many parts of the book or presentations they mentioned I had similar feelings about. It is interesting to read the thoughts from different educators (elementary, high school, admin) from different parts of the country. That is my favorite thing about this type of online course– connecting with other educators.

  73. Assignment #3: Check for Understanding

    The check for understanding questions are a great way to check for comprehension. Knowing that there will be questions throughout the section makes you pay close attention to what you are being taught. I felt that the video presentations were engaging and relevant to my life and profession so it was easy to follow along and not get distracted. Therefore, the questions were not necessary.

  74. Assignment #1: Book

    Section C of The First Days of School reinforced the idea that in order to be a good teacher you must have good classroom management. I have always believed that the first day of school is very important because it sets the tone for the school year with routines and expectations. I agree with Wong that management strategies must start on the very first day of school and that you must stick with them. One message I took away from this section is the difference between discipline and managing. I also agree that being organized and consistent is key to a successful school year.

  75. Assignment 2: Video Presentations

    I really connected with a lot of the ideas presented in part one. The percentage of worries made me realize that I have a lot of “what ifs” and not legit concerns. The animal dialects reminded me of another book I read about Love Languages. Each person (and student) have a preferred dialect and as an educator I need to make sure I am communicating with others in their desired language. I have always been an advocate for no homework for my 2nd graders so it was reassuring to hear the negative effects of it.

    After scoring a 2.3 on the Wellness Assessment, it gave me confidence that I am in the right profession and “fighting the good fight.” Everyone says that sleep, nutrition, time management, etc. are important but I loved how this video deeply explained what is needed and how to implement these things in your life and nurture yourself. This section provided me with great tips and strategies to stay mentally and physically healthy as a teacher.

  76. 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!

  77. 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!

  78. 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.

  79. 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!

  80. 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.

  81. 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!

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. 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.

  98. 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.

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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!)

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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.

  105. 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!

  106. 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.

  107. 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…

  108. 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.

  109. 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.

  110. 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.

  111. 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!

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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.

  116. 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.

  117. 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.

  118. 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.”

  119. 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.

  120. 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!

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

  124. 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.

  125. 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.

  126. “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!!

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

  129. 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.

  130. 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.

  131. 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.

  132. 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.

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. 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.

  136. 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.

  137. 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.

  138. 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.

  139. 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.

  140. 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.

  141. 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!

  142. 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!

  143. 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

  144. 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!

  145. 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.

  146. 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.

  147. 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!

  148. 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.