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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The End of Molasses Classes: Book Review



Ron Clark is unconventional but he gets results. Some of you will cringe when he talks about teaching on top of his desk or wonder how he does it when kids enter his school to a red carpet and applause. He has a flair for creating experiences.

I enjoy Ron’s writing. His optimistic, upbeat tone full of:

“I don’t have money. I have tons of obstacles but I’m going to do everything in my power to make learning magnetic for my students” attitude resonates with me. In fact, sometimes I feel like jumping up on the desk myself and saying, “Amen” to the empty desks as I read this book during lunch and break.

Ron’s new book, The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers has lots of great ideas.

I got up on a chair

I do have to admit that I had one class that was being a bit loud and I got on a chair (a steady one) and the class completely quieted down.

“Mrs.. Vicki, we like that, do it again.” said one student. It was strange. I haven’t done it often but sometimes when I’m excited and really want their attention, I do. (Disclaimer: OK, if you can’t get up on a chair or don’t have anything steady, don’t do this in your classroom. Do it at your own risk.)

Esprit de Corps

I do love how he builds Esprit de corps with the four “Houses” at his school.

I recommend this book

I adore this book and have finished up reading it because I will hear him speak next Monday at the GISA conference where I’m also presenting a session. I know that I probably won’t be able to get near him with the crush of fans, but if I can score a pic then I’ll share.

I admit that I get a ton of books to review and my point to authors is that I will do no harm. If I have big criticisms I will let them know but if I love it, I will always tell everyone. This one I love.

He has lots of energy and I adore his ideas. I highly recommend this book. I do think it has value for parents but I really wish administrators would read this book because so many of these things come down from a visionary leader.

Dress for Success

I have to admit that I also like how the teachers dress. They dress in a way that promotes their professionalism and yes, that means suits, coats, and ties. I know that some of you cringe at the thought, but personally, I wear suits 4 days a week and on Friday I wear jeans and a Westwood Wildcat sweatshirt. I won’t look down upon my very professional peers who don’t dress that way, but I do think that attire makes a difference when you’re a teacher. Teachers dressed like hookers or college students make it hard to teach and invite the ire of parents and administrators even if they don’t know it.

I hope one day to get to see his school in action. He co-founded Ron Clark Academy with the Middle school teacher of the year in Atlanta, Georgia.

I’m headed to GAETC today to Atlanta and have been up since 3 am. (Up and back in one day.) I’m excited about learning so many great things today.

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