Harry Wong
Jan 2017
Vol 14 No 1

A New Year Provides a Fresh Start: Don’t Waste it!

By Bill Page

Teachers are on a never-ending journey. There is always more to learn and more that can be done. Teachers never “arrive”; they are always in the process of “becoming” better, more experienced, and more accomplished. No matter how good, how effective, or how talented teachers may be, they constantly seek to become more proficient and effective; and most of all a new bunch of kids who need their help. A unique feature of education that sets it apart from any other profession is having the opportunity to start fresh each school year with new students, a clean slate, new choices, and a fresh opportunity for improvement.

The first days of school are crucial for getting the school year off to a great start. Harry and Rosemary Wong sold millions of books about The First days of School because everyone knows the start will determine how the year will go. Getting the new school year off to a great start is kind of like making a good first impression—you get only one chance—there are no “do-overs”. And, the medium is the message: you don’t need to tell the kids what your class will be like. Your initial encounters and interaction will communicate more about you, your beliefs, and your teaching than any verbal message you can give.

My new year never started the same as the previous one simply because I learned more efficacious ways to increase achievement, meet my needs as a teacher, and the kids’ needs as learners. Following are important considerations for getting the new year off to a great start and making it better and more satisfying as the year progresses.

1. Hands-On-Learning Is Indisputable

The greatest failure in education is the failure to use proven, unquestioned research. Three factors are clearly in that category: 1) absence of dialog in classrooms, 2) absence of student input into classroom decisions, and 3) absence of student involvement (Note: participation can be mandated; involvement cannot.) All three failures can be reduced, reversed, and eliminated by proven “Hands-On Activities”. These participatory strategies involve learning laws, not theories. It is foolhardy not to use them as primary teaching techniques. For what to do and how to do it: Google, Hands-On Learning; I just did and found 65 million responses.

What teachers do in the classroom — such as conducting hands-on learning activities and emphasizing higher-order thinking skills—matters more to student achievement than do other measures of teacher quality, such as professional development and years of experience, a study finds. Conducted by the Educational Testing Service and financed by the Milken Family Foundation,



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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.7 No.7 July 2010

Cover Story by Mitch Ward
Found in Macaroni and Cheese: The Key to Understanding Education
If we don't change something about education practice, the results will never change, OR "What a pan of macaroni and cheese taught me about teaching and learning."

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Ten Year Summary of Articles,
2000 to 2010
During my 1st and 2nd year, I was completely clueless and going insane! Then I found your articles on teachers.Net and your book. And you said "steal!"

»Celebrate the 30 Days of Teachers.Net
»Dear Old Golden Rule Days by Janet FarquharJanet Farquhar
»Advice for Substitute Teachers: Are Rewards the Answer?Barbara Pressman
»Study The Crucible for McCarthyism? Yes. Puritans? Not really
»Teach Anger Management - Five Ways to Help Students Deal With Anger ConstructivelySusan Fitzell
»Life Lessons We Can Learn from ButterfliesLanise Jacoby
»Karen's PreK Page - Blogging Your Classroom NewsletterKaren Cox
»A New Year Provides a Fresh Start: Don’t Waste it!Bill Page
»Effective Finance Allocation in Low Budget, Limited Resourced SchoolsPR Guruprasad
»Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Education - Simple, Powerful Tool to Transform Education?Stephen McClard
»Apple Seeds - Quotes that Plant Ideas & InspirationBarb Stutesman
»Creole Bread Pudding - Featured Recipe
»Featured Lesson: How Big is the Solar System?
»Corporal Punishment - Resources
»First Day of School Out of Control... What to do?
»Casting Call! Teachers Sought for ABC Gameshow
»Hot Links, Lessons and Resources
»Found in Macaroni and Cheese: The Key to Understanding EducationMitch Ward
»A Poetry Unit that Transforms Reluctant Writers into Confident PoetsTeresa Kirkland
»Advice for Subs: Are You Ready for Subbing in High School?Barbara Pressman
»Teaching Children the Essential Skill of Self-ControlLeah Davies
»Dyslexia in the Kindergarten ChildKimberly Willoughby
»Your School Could Win a $1000 Graphic Novel Prize Package from Picture LiteracyNews Desk
»Teach Anger Management - Five Ways to Help Students Deal With Anger ConstructivelySusan Fitzell
»Children’s Business Cards - A Safety IssueDr. Marybeth Ames
»Writing Prompts for JulyJames Wayne
»Watch Out for Trolls!Tim Newlin
»Today is... Silly & Serious Days of Note for JulyRon Victoria
»Schoolies Humor: Something in Common

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