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First Day of School - Good advice from DeAnn


From: Judy Decker (jdecker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 30 2003 - 04:47:42 PDT

(DeAnn - this is just FYI - I am sharing this with the other list - THANKS)

This Wong book was mentioned before - DeAnn has given more information about
it. If you have questions for DeAnn - her address is in the cc. line. She is
a member of Art Education list) From DeAnn:

If you haven't invested in this book, you should think
about doing so (in my own opinion).

How to be an Effective Teacher: The first Days of
School by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong

ISBN 0-9629360-2-2

It has very useful information for first year
teachers--at least I found it to be helpful my first
year. (especially pp., 140-193)

master this, you make life in the classroom easier and
more enjoyable for yourself and your students.

Try to keep the number of rules limited, reasonable
and realistic. Which are the most important and which
do you feel you will consistently reinforce. Students
will test your rules, and you want it to be known that
you mean what you say. I try to keep mine simple and safe, be responsible, be respectful (high
school). These are also used district wide. You may
ask fellow teachers if there is a school-wide set of
rules to use. That way, expectations are consistent in
every room (and their is no excuse for students
stating,"I didn't know!")

It's important to teach the student the rules the
first day of school, and you may find that you teach
them for several days afterwards...effective
communication is is easier to prevent
negative behavior in the classroom! Also, don't expect
your students to know what your rules mean. Discuss
and define them, allow students to come up with some
examples of what each rule might include and the
possible consequence that can be expected if it is
broken. Also, try to "catch students in the act" of
fulfilling positive classroom expectations and reward
them. Other students will follow suit.

Post the rules in your classroom where they are easily
seen along with your consequences and rewards. I also
send a student contract home for both parents and
students to sign stating that the classroom
expectations, consequences and rewards are understood.
I also sign this contract. We are all in it together
as a team to help the students be the best they can
possibly be.

Also important is setting procedures and routines the
first week of school. How will you start and dismiss
the class? How will you quiet the class? How will
students obtain art materials for the hour? How will
students clean up at the end of the hour? Make sure
you teach these procedures! THREE STEPS: 1. Explain in
concrete terms, 2. Demonstrate and Rehearse (Don't
just tell), 3. Reinforce until the procedure becomes a
routine (or habit.)

I hope these ideas from Wong & Wong and my own
interpretations help give you some direction for your
rules and procedures. I'll be starting my third year
of teaching in August, and I really believe that this
is half the battle in our classrooms today. You'll
learn more this first year than in any text book you
read during your teaching courses. It will be
challenging, but I'm sure you'll do a great job. Keep
asking questions when you need help. You're not alone!

Good Luck!

Judy Decker - Ohio
Incredible Art Department