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The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher Paperback – 15 Feb 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Harry K. Wong Publications; 4 Pap/DVD edition (15 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976423316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976423317
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 24.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

With nearly 1.4 million copies sold you ll learn practical techniques on discipline procedures and routines teaching for mastery cooperative learning and positive expectations. You ll find it difficult to put this book down as you become an even more effective teacher.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a great book to tell you about all the practical aspects of setting up your own classroom. I discovered it 3 years into teaching and still found it very useful, clearly I am not as knowledgeable as another reviewer on here! Some lovely, easy to use strategies that help to establish routines and procedures. Would recommend to all teachers who would just like to get that little bit more organised (12 years on and organisation is still my middle name!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thanos on 23 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Very simple with good advice about teaching method and school life. Its a good book a teacher should have in his library.
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By Aisha on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a great book. Many ideas and helpful hints for the first days of school. I wish I had read it sooner...
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By NicE on 21 April 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a triumph of style over substance. There is little in this book that anyone with a passing understanding of schools could not work out for themselves. It is full of warmed over platitudes and does not get into any real depth about any of the subjects it purports to cover.

There is no real evidence for any of the things that the book states. Instead there are a large number of assertions which may be the views of Dr Wong but has little to do with real life teaching.

Where are the examples which would give anyone the understanding that the Wongs have actually been inside a classroom? Where is the guidance to achieve all these grandiose ambitions?, Instead for example, in this book there is a chapter on what records to keep:
1. Attendance - amazing!
2. Scores - totally reductive view of how to assess a child's progress - just looking at numbers
3. Totals - we are shown a picture of a sheet showing all the scores with a total at the end. Only PhD could work out how to do that!

Oh and don't forget this is written from a American perspective and does not apply to the British education system.
Summary: great for marketing and making money (for the Wongs). But as a serious guide to teaching it's useless.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 843 reviews
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
The First Days of School 8 Aug. 2000
By Arthur D. Vlahon - Published on
Format: Paperback
The First Days of School, is number one on the MUST READ list for anyone who aspires to be a good teacher. I'm in my thirty-first year as a high school science teacher and for the last nine years I have used this invaluable resource as a guide. I have obtained great ideas and strategies, priceless advice, valuable insight and inspiration. Using ideas from this resource concerning classroom management, lesson mastery, professionalism, positive expectations, et cetera, a teacher can formulate his/her own style to make themselves a much better, more effective professional educator. Dr. Wong's book applies to all teachers - rookies, veterans, elementary, middle school, and high school - alike. It provides a multitude of "time-tested" practical ideas, strategies and techniques which will make your teaching more effective, fun, exciting, meaningful, relevant, enjoyable, rewarding and successful. You will be at your best everyday; your classroom will function smoothly and at top productivity; and your students will leave each day with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
170 of 186 people found the following review helpful
Good for elementary, too naive for middle school 14 Jun. 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have just finished my first year teaching and found "The First Days of School" useful for setting up a classroom but not for dealing with extreme problems.
Wong's book was an excellent resource for me when I was given a job description, a classroom, and little else. Wong will explain to you how to set up everything from your gradebook to your classroom management system. He stresses the importance of routines and procedures to classroom management, and he is indeed right. If you teach in a school where the students are used to structured classrooms and consistent discipline systems, this book will cover most of what you need to know. Buy it, implement it, call it heaven-sent.
HOWEVER: Wong fails to address the WHAT IFs of classroom management like: what if I'm doing all of these things and the kids are defiant? What if all 35 of them decide to act up? What if I totally lose it? These were the major questions at my school this year, and many of were dissatisfied by the way Wong assumed children would react.
Case in point:
In a discussion of logical consequences for a child not entering the room correctly, Wong suggests that you tell the child to do it over again until he does it correctly. I'm sure that a 2nd grader would repeat the procedure correctly and sit down. An older child at a school with a consistent discipline plan might do this as well.
At my school this year, our 7th graders (who had every 6th grade teacher walk out on them the year before and had gone through five Junior High teachers this year already) would do one of the following:
1. Scream obscenities at the teacher and leave the room (not to re-enter correctly but to ditch);
2. Re-enter incorrectly until the teacher went crazy and wrote the kid a referral*;
3. Some combination of the above choices, drawing the teacher into a time-consuming referral* while the rest of the class (35+ kids) got out of control.
*The referral would likely not be seen at the office anyway, so the kid's gotten off without a punishment and the rest of the class got away with missing 10 minutes of instruction.
Does this sound out-of-control to you? I certainly hope so. If you find yourself in a situation where students have become accustomed to these behaviors and you want to break them of these behaviors and actually - get this - teach something, BUY FRED JONES' "TOOLS FOR TEACHING" instead. Fred Jones will teach you practical solutions for these problems. He taught me how to deal with the preceding situation and many others, and I'm actually excited to go back next year.
Harry Wong seems nice, his tools are useful, but the second a kid is extremely defiant, his book flies out the window. Jones will teach you how to eliminate backtalk - and it works.
55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Wouldn't Teach Without This Book! 22 Jan. 2009
By High Scool Science Teacher - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am a high school science teacher. My principal gave my a copy of this book when I started teaching 13 years ago. Since then, I have read it every August before I start the school year.

I enjoy reviewing the components of good teaching (positive expectations, classroom management, and lesson mastery). However, my favorite part is the section called, The Teacher as a Professional. It helps me maintain a positive and professional attitude during the school year which is not always easy to do. Thank you Harry and Rosemary Wong for inspiring me to be a teacher-leader, not a worker!
119 of 135 people found the following review helpful
Don't Walk Into The Classroom Without This Book! 19 Sept. 2000
By Rocco B. Rubino - Published on
Format: Paperback
I won't go so far to say that this book could replace going through a teacher education program. But there is such a gap between all of the "theoretical stuff" you learn from your professors, and actual practice that this book has been literally a God-send to thousands of teachers.
Dr. Wong and his wife have put together a wonderful resource based on the experieces of hundreds of successful teachers. This book is designed to give the pre-service teacher, or relatively new teacher a handle on what can be, the overwhelming experience of managing a classroom.
This book deals in depth with what a successful teacher looks like, how to have positive expectations about student success, the sometimes elusive art of classroom management, designing lessons to foster student mastery, and the teacher as a professional educator.
Practical, sometimes funny and inspiring from beginning to end, The First Days of School will both strengthen and encourage you for the journey ahead. Buy this book today, and read it many times over. I did!
80 of 91 people found the following review helpful
A good book for new teachers 19 May 2000
By Trent M. Nicholson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first was introduced to Harry Wong through a set of videos my mentor teacher had. I found his advice useful, and I still use a number of those ideas today. Coming from a department that didn't stress classroom management very well, I found this book to be priceless.
This is a book you need to read BEFORE the "First Days of School". Some of the ideas take awhile to implement and many of them need to be in place from day one. You can't change you rules two or three times and not expect to upset the apple cart (no pun intended).
The only real drawback I saw in this book is, like so many things in education, this book is largely geared toward elementary teaching. Although it is useful to a secondary teacher, it really shines for the elementary teacher.
I don't have my original copy anymore. It has been passed down to new teachers over the last couple years, but each of them has found it useful.
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