Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Essential 55 by Ron Clark

I like fun non-fiction. This book qualifies.

I hadn't heard of Ron Clark until our elementary school decided to have their staff read it and pick the 10 most important principles/rules for the kids to learn and follow this past school year. The book and concept were presented to the PTA by the principal and we were offered copies to borrow to learn what our children would be applying this past school year.

Ron Clark pieced together these rules for running a classroom  smoothly based on his experiences as a teacher in the rural south and an inner city school in Harlem. Very different environments and yet these rules worked like gang busters for both. Then he kindly packaged them into this funny and informative book for all of us.

This book isn't just for teachers. It's for everyone with kids or who works with kids in any setting.

He talks about how to learn to transition from one activity to another, look people in the eye when you speak, when someone asks you a question you answer and then ask one in return. There are all kinds of just basic courtesy rules in here that many of today's kids just don't follow, ex. how to act in a movie theater or how to speak to an adult. He has classroom examples for each one of his rules to illustrate how it worked, or didn't work which was how he stumbled upon it in the first place. He's honest, humorous and heart warming.

These rules are for life. There are several I need to teach my own kids so they can operate as a kind and respectful student and citizen in the world. Like, don't interrupt and listen for starters. I've also seen some improvement in my own child as these concepts have been internalized. And I'll tell you that when I walk the halls of that school and pass students, they are deadly silent. Impressive.

What manners/ rules/ lessons do your kids need to learn? How are you teaching them?


  1. Love this book--used it as both a mom and a teacher for social skills class.

  2. I will have to look into this one.

  3. You always find the coolest books to review. Thanks for filling us in on this one.