Review of The First Days of School
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Harry and Rosemary Wong are teachers. In the introduction to their book, the Wongs define the goal for their readers: "The First Days of School is written to help all teachers 'jump start' and begin school successfully." In the five units that follow, readers can find information on effective teaching, positive expectations, classroom management, student mastery of material, and ideas for professional growth. Each unit contains several chapters, and each chapter focuses upon a "Key Idea." The Wongs' ability to capture and clearly state the essentials, impressed me. An implied message is: 'We are interested in saving you time and we are providing only the crucial information.' The First Days of School explains such practical aspects of teaching as how to prepare your classroom, how to introduce yourself, and how to maintain a grade book. The First Days of School does this in a refreshing style. The eye-catching tidbits and the text they surround make reading a positive experience. The entire book focuses on the positive, and encourages the reader to do the same.
The First Days of School is the best book I have found, for new teachers. Although the examples often focus on elementary education, the information and ideas presented are appropriate for educators at all levels and in all subject areas. I have used so many of their ideas. The number of good ideas shared in the book may weigh some people down, but for those who take it a little at a time, The First Days of School can bring a new learning experience with each turn of the page.
From The First Days of School (page 105):
The seven things students want to know on the first day of school:
1. Am I in the right room?
2. Where am I supposed to sit?
3. What will I be doing this year?
4. How will I be graded?
5. What are the rules in this classroom?
6. Will the teacher treat me as a human being?
7. Who is the teacher as a person?
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