Preparing for Your First Day of the School Year & Lee Irons, Engineer and Professor: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips Blog/Article for August 2016

Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong are education experts and best selling authors of “The First Days of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher” which provides “teachers with step-by step instructions for effectively organizing and structuring their classrooms”. Dr. Harry Wong says, “The very first day, the very first minute, the very first second of school, teachers should begin to structure and organize their classrooms, to establish procedures and routines.”

Dr. Rosemary Wong was asked by Education Week Teacher to “give an example of what you mean by procedures?” She responded, “ … if you could close your eyes and say to yourself, “This is something I’d like to have happen in my classroom,”…. then you need to come up with a procedure for it. ..You need to teach the procedure, and there are three basic steps to doing that. The first is to explain it. The second step is rehearsing it, physically going through the procedure and making corrections as needed. And the third is reinforcing it, which you can do by acknowledging that the procedure is being carried out correctly.” Remember to teach all “three steps”.

Drs. Harry and Rosemary Wong spoke last August to over 1000 teachers and administrators at Polk State College. The Wongs said, “start by greeting your students at the classroom door each day. Choose one of the “three H’s” every morning: a handshake, high-five or hug.” Have “bell work” or short assignments posted on the board prior to the start of each day. Bell work, even if it’s something simple as silent reading gets students into work mode right away. Posting a daily agenda every day in the same place every day, eliminating questions.” What procedure do the Wongs use to quiet their classes? In their book the technique is called ‘Give Me Five’. “1) Eyes on Speaker, 2) Quiet, 3) Be still, 4) Hands free, 5) Listen. In five seconds, the class is quiet.”

Dr. Wong says, Classroom management is the secret sauce in education. Coaches don’t go into a game without a game plan. Pilots use flight plans. All teachers should have a plan. Starting today, start planning.” The Wongs said, “Classroom procedures should cover every second of the school day including what students are to do as they enter the classroom, how they are to be dismissed, and how they are to label and turn in their homework.”

Also included in this blog are Dr. Frank’s, “10 Creative Ways to Inspire Students & Curb Teachers Burn Out!” Mrs. I, a fourth grade teacher shares how she prepared for her first day of school, and a student survey on what characteristics make a good teacher. Our blog and Radio Show celebrate the life and work of Lee Irons scientist, engineer, professor, husband, father, and musician.

Dr. Frank’s, “10 Creative Ways to Inspire Students & Curb Teachers Burn Out!”

  • 1) Effective teachers and administrators agree to have “an assignment on the board” for students to start on the second they walk into the new classroom. “A well-planned lesson eliminates 90% of discipline problems.” “Before your first day of school have your “First Day of School Script” ready with the “Procedures” you will use for your class and implement them by rehearsing your class until all the students know your procedures and understand them.  *Example: What is your procedure for students having a cell phone in class?   -In your “Procedures” include Mrs. Hamilton’s definition of “Character”. “Character is knowing the right thing to do, doing the right thing even when no one is watching, and taking the consequences for what you do. The first step to develop character from the First Day of School is to teach that definition, and challenge students to build walls of character around themselves in the weeks ahead.” Remember to decide your procedures and teach them to your class on the first day of school. Harry K. Wong and Dr. Rosemary Wong’s book “The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher” is a must read for all teachers’.


Here are a few of the Wong’s articles to assist you in your “First Day of School Script”:


“Effective teaching”:


For Elementary School Routines & Procedure Power PT. click on middle of the page for power pt.)


“A First Day of School Script”


“Teaching Procedures is Teaching Expectations” says, H. & R. Wong


“Stress Free Teacher” (Middle School)


Middle School/High School script:


The Wong’s say, “The First Five Minutes are



Have your smile in place, your student’s seat assignments ready, and your first assignment on the board for the students to get started immediately after sitting down and have your classical music on in the background. * School starts the first minute the students enter for the new school year. Be prepared! Start preparing and rehearsing this summer. Remember students need to feel safe and secure! They need procedures.

2)  Before the first day of school decide how you are to dress for success in bright colors to get your students attention. Remember first impressions are the most important.

3) Do you remember the middle school and high school Chemistry and Math teachers playing Classical Mozart Symphonies in the background of their classes and how much better behaved and smarter the students became? Well you can do this too! Put on your Classical music and help your students get smarter, work faster, and calmer.

4) Don’t just lecture tell a story. Make the material visual. Be creative by becoming a teaching artist! Example: Dr. Madeline Frank’s “Musical Notes On Math”, teaching fractions and decimals to children in K-5 through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Award.

5) Make your course come alive. Make it fun to learn. Remember that Alicia Keys and Dr. Condoleezza Rice both studied the piano learning Classical music and skipping grades in high school. They were both at the top of their high school classes all through school because they played Classical music every day. Playing Classical music made them smarter! Dr. Albert Einstein was able to win his Noble Peace Prize and make his scientific discoveries by playing Classical music on his violin or piano every day. Dr. Judith Resnik astronaut and electrical engineer made perfect scores on her SAT’s through playing her Classical piano music every day for one hour. Louis Armstrong learned Classical music on his cornet at age 13 and his life was changed forever! Your students can be smarter too by playing Classical music every day!

6) Involve your students in your course by posing a problem and helping them solve it! Make them into detectives. (Sherlock Holmes and his side kick Dr. Watson) Help your students work cooperatively. (In a musical String Quartet members work together cooperatively with set goals and without violence.) Put on your Classical music to help your students concentrate better. Mark Reimer & Mrs. Adlyn Reimer said to “Set the tone from the beginning—your class/rehearsal style is fun, informative, and fast moving, and everyone there is important to you.”

7) Help your students gain self-esteem and self-worth by showing them kindness & patience.

8) Romayne Leader Frank, Mother, friend, Family Advocate, teacher, & Lawyer, always said, “Every child has one gift.” Find that gift and accentuate it!

9) Frank’s favorite saying is “every student is a gem in the raw.” Start with that thought and work with your students. Believe that each of your students, on the first day of school, wants to learn your course and desires to learn.

10) Does anyone here like to work? No, then make it fun to learn. Put on your Classical music! © 2016 Madeline Frank

Remember on your First Day To:

Have your Classical music on your CD or iPod before your students enter your class to improve their concentration, for them to stay focused, relaxed, work faster, and remember more. On your first day of school have your “First Day of School Script” ready and rehearsed. “Have your “bell work” or short assignments posted on the board prior to the start of each day and post a daily agenda every day in the same place.” Be prepared! Have a smile on your face and put your best foot forward!

Students: Classical music has the power to organize the brain while listening to it as background music while you are doing your homework, to help you relax after a hard day of work or while doing exercises. Begin listening or playing your musical instrument for 30 minutes at a time. It helps because of its highly developed mathematics and therefore exercises the brain as physical exercise exercises the body.

Radio Show feature question for August 2016: Lee Irons how does Classical music play a part of your life as a scientist, engineer, professor, husband, and father and what musical instrument do you play?


Our blog features Mr. Lee Irons, scientist, engineer, professor, husband, father of five children, and musician. Lee Irons is passionate about solving problems, especially the really difficult and intractable ones.

Lee Irons Growing Up Years: Lee Irons was born in Riverdale, Maryland to Walter Irons and Doris Clingerman Irons. He was raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, where his father worked as an electrician and his mother as a homemaker.”

Dr. Frank: “How does Classical music play a part of your life as a scientist, engineer, professor, husband, and father and what musical instrument do you play?

Mr. Lee Irons: “I love classical music and, really, all kinds of music.  I am at least a third generation musician on my mother’s side, and at least a fifth generation musician on my father’s side.  I have been told stories of how my dad’s father’s grandparents would gather the extended family on Sunday evenings to play music together in the back yard of their homestead in New Jersey.  I have his old banjo.  My mother played the piano in our home, and my two siblings both played the flute and I began playing the trombone when I was in the fourth grade in our elementary school band.  We had an excellent band program in our elementary and junior high schools which made it easy to get involved and challenged. My wife and five children are also musicians. There are at least sixth generations of musicians keeping our family tradition of music.”

Dr. Frank: “Did your Dad inspire you in Math and Science?”

Mr. Irons: “I guess I always felt I would go into a STEM field, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  My dad was technically oriented.  While I was in early high school, my dad returned to college to get his associates degree.  I remember my father and brother taking a college calculus class together when my brother was a senior in high school.”

“My mom would always talk about how her father started his career as a teacher and was very intelligent, but then had to go into farming and painting in order to make a living.”

Dr. Frank: “ Were you a good student in high school and what were the names of the teachers who inspired you and did you receive any awards?” 

Mr. Irons: “I did well in all subjects. Mr. Claes, my physics teacher made physics interesting, and he is now the Chair of the Physics Department at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It was Mr. Claes who inspired me to go into physics.  But the real motivation was that I wanted to go into the space program as an astronaut, and I read that many of the mission specialists on the Space Shuttle were physicists. Mr. Eaton, my English teacher, taught me that I did know how to write if I would just apply myself and use some logical organization, and Madame Caldwell, my French teacher in my first two years of high school.  Now, I can’t imagine not understanding physics and not being able to write, and I still remember some of my French.”

 “Mr. Reynolds was my high school band director. I was in marching, concert, and jazz band. I was first chair trombone at the end of eighth grade.  Because I did not go to band camp in the summer between my eighth grade and ninth grade years, I lost a chair position.  All the way through high school, I was a chair behind my peer in my same grade.  Then in our senior year, the person in front of me refused to go out in the cold to practice marching band one day.  Mr. Reynolds moved me past him up to first chair for that reason.  Then, for the senior graduation band concert, he asked me if I wanted to direct a song, which I did and enjoyed doing very much.  To cap off a great senior year, I was awarded the “Marine Corps Semper Fidelis Band Award” for my high school during our pre-graduation award ceremonies.”

Dr. Frank: “Where did you attend college and graduate school and what was your major?”

Mr. Irons:   “I attended a small, private religiously-affiliated school for undergrad where I studied engineering, physics, math, astronomy, and geophysics.  I then attended University of Kansas for graduate schooling in physics.  I worked hard as a teaching assistant in my first year of graduate school to help the students learn how to do experimentation and interpret the results.  My students voted for me for best “TA of the Year”, but I was told that I was not going to get the award because my students were scoring too high, on average, and they felt I was helping them too much.  In general, besides Mr. Claes, my high school physics teacher, none of my physics teachers really seemed to enjoy teaching physics.  I think that is why I struggled to learn it, and yet I soldiered on.”

Dr. Frank: “ After college and graduate school where did you work?”  

Mr. Irons:  “I wanted to work in the space industry, which I did for the first eight months as a space analyst, but then took a higher paying job working in a position where I learned how to operate Nuclear Reactors and train others to do so.  I frequently pursued new things.  If I would have found a solid position more closely affiliated with NASA, I’m sure I would have stayed in that career, because that is where my real dream was.  It is the main reason why I am now the CEO of a space industry company founded by my daughter.  It turns out that I instilled a love and a dream for space in her.  She and I talked things out, and she figured out a way to make a career in space happen.  She did such a good job at it, that she created a space for me to finally fulfill my dream.  But I think that is because of how we raised our kids to have confidence in themselves, to pursue their dreams, and to do what they wanted to do.  It was scary, because my wife and I know how important it is to go into a field that pays. One son majored in political science major, and yet he now has a job at a top Washington consulting firm.  Another son majored in psychology, and yet now he is in medical school.  Our third son majored in microbiology, which we felt good about, but then took an extra two years to finish undergrad, and yet he received a coveted apprenticeship with NASA and now works in a post baccalaureate position with a researcher who is working on a cure for aids.  My daughter’s creating her own space industry business now seems inevitable.  I guess we did it right.  We can’t wait to see what our youngest does with sociology and criminal justice.”

Dr. Frank: “As a teacher where have you taught and what was the subject?”  

Mr. Irons: “At age 36, I took a position as an adjunct professor of physics at a community college, when I realized that I actually understood the physics to a level I had never realized and was good at teaching it.  I made it an intense pursuit at that time to actually learn how to teach physics and do it well, considering the experience I had with my own professors.  I didn’t want my students to go through what I went through.  Did I succeed?  I remember one occasion when I had just taught for one hour of our weekly three-hour block and the class was on a ten-minute break.  One of my students walked up to me staring at the board on which I had just finished working out a problem.  She asked me some questions and I responded.  I then saw the light come on in her eyes and she smiled, saying that she finally understood.  Then, after class that evening, she thanked me for helping her come to a realization that she wanted to pursue a career in clothing design.  I was naturally taken aback and asked how I had accomplished that.  She said that I had helped her realize how deep of an understanding would be required to get really good at physics and engineering, and that she would rather just pursue it as a hobby or an interest.  She was, instead, going to pursue what she had a passion for as a career.”

Dr. Frank: “Where do you work now and what problems do you solve? 

Mr. Lee Irons:  “I work as a project manager in the engineering and design division of a major shipyard, solving technical problems, but mostly solving organizational and cultural change problems.  Businesses are always trying to improve to save money and make profit.  At the same time, we are in a challenging day in which information technology has become vital to businesses and quickly changes. People don’t like change.  So I help them do it.  However, as I mentioned before, I now also have my dream job as the CEO if my daughter’s space-industry company.  We are working on solving the problem of how to establish an ecologically healthy, self-sustaining, Earth-independent human habitation on the surface of Mars.  Now that is a challenging problem. However, it is surprising how things seem to start lining up when you just start observing, asking questions, and going places where like-minded people can be found.  In just a matter of a month, we have managed to form the business and set up two collaborative efforts with other companies in the industry, as well as grab the attention of top-thinkers in the government and private sectors.”

“It kind of relates to what I have learned at my job at the shipyard and what my advice to a teacher would be.  Every business is ultimately a people business.  Every problem is ultimately a people problem.  Yes, there are some technical hurdles, but if you help people build confidence in themselves, problems can be overcome.”

Dr. Frank: “Thank you Lee Irons for sharing your work as a scientist, engineer, project manager, and professor with our Radio Show audience and for inspiring, motivating, and encouraging the people you work with and teach.”


Mrs. I, a fourth grade teacher, lists below how she used Dr. Frank’s creative tips from “The Teacher’s 11 Secrets to Success” and “10 Secrets to Stop Students Boredom, Inspire Them & Make Them Smarter” during her August-December public school classes.”

1) Mrs. I began preparing for her new students, a month before the semester began, by studying their files, to more effectively deal with their problems.

2) On the very first day of school, students were informed about procedures and practiced them.

3) Mrs. I dressed appropriately and at times dressed to reflect the theme of the lesson or story.

4) Mrs. I prepared daily so that time was spent on learning activities and not preparation during school time.

5) She encourages her students to do well and gives examples that students can relate to of why it is important to do well and stay in school.

6) Students know that Mrs. I take’s an interest in them and tries to see the good in each student and looks for positive things to say about her students.

7) Classical music is played. This helps students quiet down, stay calm, and focus more on their work with fewer distractions. They really enjoy the Classical music and ask for it.

8) Students are spoken to in private, concerning behavioral issues and are not embarrassed in front of other students.

9) Cooperative learning groups and differentiation are used in the classroom. Students get to be a part of completing tasks successfully as a group in a fun but challenging atmosphere.

10) Articulation, inflection, and timing are encouraged when reading and when learning key phrases and clues.

Mrs. I says, “That by using Dr. Frank’s tips, a classroom environment is created where students want to come to school. They enjoy learning, and every child finds a measure of success.”

A recent survey asked public school students in grades 5-12, what characteristics make a good teacher?

Many students said a good teacher “is passionate about their subject, has the intelligence to inspire students to learn by keeping the class material fresh and interesting by making the class seem to go by faster and getting all the students involved.”

A good teacher “listens and cares about their students never raising their voice and is willing to help any student who needs help.”

A good teacher “thoroughly explains the subject matter is always patient and never makes fun of any student. A good teacher has a good sense of humor and tells good jokes to help teach the material.”

“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is now available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:

com(Kindle) Barnes and Noble(Nook) iTunes


“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is now available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook. 


Barnes and Noble(Nook) iTunes

Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”


Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below: Download Your Copy Today!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through Click on the following link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available as an e-book on Kindle or in book form. Click on the following link:

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2016 Madeline Frank.