It’s been a rough couple of days here at the Martin home. My wife and I both have colds, and Caleb is starting to get stuffed up himself. We’re all fighting through, though!
Goal: Read Ron Clark’s The Essential 55 in its entirety and incorporate the ideas into my classroom
Today, I started rereading Ron Clark’s The Essential 55. I say rereading because I read the first third of the book about six years ago when I heard about it in a graduate school course. However, I never finished the book for whatever reason, and I’ve been meaning to read it in full and jot down notes, hence the goal. This goal, I should mention, has been on my list ever since I crafted the first draft in 2006, the same year that the television film The Ron Clark Story starring Matthew Perry of Friends fame aired. This morning seemed like as good a time as any to get started on the pursuit of this goal.
For those of you unfamiliar with this book, here’s the blurb from the back cover verbatim:
“With this runaway New York Times bestseller, Ron Clark lit a fire under parents and teachers everywhere to raise their standards and expect the best from their students. Read this book and find out why so many people nationwide have found these rules to be just what they were looking for to help their kids succeed in school.”
This book is structured as a list of 55 rules, and for each rule, Clark shares a personal anecdote (or two or three) from his time in the classroom. Though Clark’s experiences come from the elementary level, I have found that much of what he shares is both engaging and helpful for me as a high school teacher.
What I did this morning was read the first twenty-seven pages and took notes under the following heading: “Worthwhile Rules from The Essential 55/Additional Ideas”. Basically, I am finding that the contents of the book reaffirm much of my current practice, but I’m also being reminded of some very basic “stuff” that I sometimes forget to mention, reinforce, or deliberately teach. For example, one of my notes reads: “Show appreciation via clapping—all clap and clap well. Oftentimes, we clap as a class when something clap-worthy occurs, but the clapping is frequently sloppy at best. Clapping, like anything else, can and should be modeled. I need to remember this each year so that this act of appreciation is truly appreciative, not just “going through the motions” and awkward. Following the completion of this post, I intend to keep reading before bed!
Goal: Raise my children to be intelligent, compassionate, responsible, successful, and unique by providing them with a variety of experiences
Caleb and I might head out to do some X-mas shopping tomorrow—I’ll post accordingly.