Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thank You Harry Wong

Years ago, I was the Susan Lucci of education. Every year I was nominated for Teacher of the Year and every year I lost. Then I earned my library degree. After that, I was nominated for Teacher of the Year and Media Specialist of the Year, and lost. Again and Again.

Then I read Harry Wong's The First Days of School. my classroom management was transformed. I taught more because kids knew what to do. I learned the difference between rules and procedures. Rules have consequences. Procedures get practice. If a student runs, he practices walking. Eventually he learns to walk.

Wong also teaches that students are our customers. Especially in a secondary library, we need to remember that. In a flexible schedule, students can and will go somewhere else, if their needs are not met or they don’t feel welcome. That’s the beginning of this story…

So we need to teach the rules and share the consequences. One way to do that is the yakking power point. You can improve that by adding photographs of students demonstrating the rules. Maybe they even do them incorrectly.

Now take this a step further. Save your power point presentation as jpgs. Then create a Photo Story using the rule slides that are now picture files. (See my blog article about Photo Story if this is news to you.) You will have to go into the motion feature and adjust the time and movement on the word slides. Choose start and stop in the same place and make sure the movement is the whole frame.

Narrate the slides. Add some opening and/or closing music and TA DA! You have an interesting movie to share with your students about rules. You’ve used technology that will capture their attention. Students like to see themselves “on camera.” And you save your voice. If you ever need to change it, and you will, you can just change or add pictures. Re-record the voice over and save your new production.

Now for the rest of the story…
After I learned the difference between rules and procedures and practiced. I was not only voted Teacher of the Year, but also Media Specialist of the Year for my state. Harry Wong made a difference in how I taught. My kids learned more, because I was able to guide them more when less time was wasted. How about you? Couldn’t you use more time to guide your students? Check it out at your library.

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