130 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 to stay alive! Manners count for Ron Clark's students
Ron Clark teaches school. He has 55 rules of "engagement" for anything from good manners (Don't take the largest piece of pie, Always say Thank-You, Make Eye Contact) to rules of responsibility and deportment (Enter the field trip building silently, Do not talk in the movies, unwrap your candy before the film to keep from disturbing others.)
These rules teach his...
Published on April 25, 2003 by Joanna Daneman
254 of 316 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Kid, Anti-Teacher
Where is the Smoking Gun website when you need them?
Since I am sure they are currently off debunking Frey's "A Million Little Pieces," it is my unhappy duty to inform potential buyers of this book that you are about to be had. While P.T. Barnum may say "There's one born every minute," I say as a teacher and a one-time school board member, "When you know...
Published on August 22, 2006 by Dave
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130 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 to stay alive! Manners count for Ron Clark's students,
This review is from: The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (Hardcover)Ron Clark teaches school. He has 55 rules of "engagement" for anything from good manners (Don't take the largest piece of pie, Always say Thank-You, Make Eye Contact) to rules of responsibility and deportment (Enter the field trip building silently, Do not talk in the movies, unwrap your candy before the film to keep from disturbing others.)
These rules teach his students to be polite and attentive, to understand if they don't hand in assignments, there will be consequences (even if the assignment is just a little blue card they have to return to him the next day.) But Ron is no martinet--he has weird rules (No Doritos, just because...and a funny story to make the rule amusing.) His War of the Onions against a sadly jealous fellow teacher is both hysterically funny and touching.
Ron Clark shows the world that kids anywhere can learn to be well-brought up and polite, that manners and rules help them succeed. He makes the very important point that a teacher is an important influence since he or she is with those kids for more time during the day than the parents.
This book is fun to read and is a great story. It is also a MUST-READ for any school teacher who wants to excel with their students and give them something of tremendous value to carry them through the rest of their lives with honor and grace--good manners and good behavior.
Bravo, Ron Clark!
103 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teach Them to Love Life,
This review is from: The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (Hardcover)Manners, Respect and Discipline are the cornerstones of success in Ron Clark's classroom. In his first book, The Essential 55, he shares the secrets of that success. Disney Teacher of the Year, Ron Clark has the uncanny ability to instill fun and adventure into every learning opportunity. Daily he shares with his students an unbridled curiosity about the world! However at the start of their journey together, Ron conveys to the class the 55 essential expectations that he has for them. For example, he instructs them in how to give a firm handshake, look people in the eye, and eat properly using the rules of etiquette. His classes learn to respect themselves and others. Chart busting academic scores have been the result for his classes of low performing students from North Carolina to New York City. In The Essential 55 Mr. Clark provides guidelines for living both inside and outside the classroom. He exhorts young and old alike to embrace each day with heart and vigor, appreciate and encourage others and challenge themselves to achieve their potential. Read how Ron Clark convinces his students to seek lives of abundant adventure and fulfillment. I highly recommend this extraordinary book!
254 of 316 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Kid, Anti-Teacher,
This review is from: The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (Paperback)Where is the Smoking Gun website when you need them?
Since I am sure they are currently off debunking Frey's "A Million Little Pieces," it is my unhappy duty to inform potential buyers of this book that you are about to be had. While P.T. Barnum may say "There's one born every minute," I say as a teacher and a one-time school board member, "When you know something is wrong, fix it."
There is something wrong with this book.
Look at the subtitle. See "An Award-Winning Educator's Rules..."? Do you see anywhere that Mr. Clark's "Disney Teacher of the Year Award" was granted to him by his publisher? The listed publisher, Hyperion books, is a division of Disney. Go ahead. Take a minute and type Disney and Hyperion into any search engine. You will find that they are one in the same. A little shocking isn't it?
After reading "The Essential 55" today, I was absolutely stunned. Instead of the light list of feel good stories I expected, I was paraded past a whole host of teaching sins that would have gotten any teacher in America fired; except Mr. Clark. What magic defended this man who would use children as stepping stones to a publishing and speaking career? Fame, possibly?
It appears Mr. Clark began innocently enough when his students decided to raise $12,000 needed to place an ad in USA Today. They met little success until an "anonymous" donator footed the bill. The ad was printed with a question directed towards then President Clinton and the world. The response was huge. Along with the President, such luminaries as the Prime Minister of Canada and the cast of "Friends" sent in responses. So far, so good.
The success of this stunt led Mr. Clark to believe that he walked on water. And he did. Who could challenge a teacher who had taken kids to the White House?
Remember the adage, "When things sound too good to be true..."? Well on page 53, Mr. Clark states "I taught both fifth-grade classes at the school, and we scored dead last in the county..." Then after claiming he had developed a writing outline program for the next year, he states, "...our school scored first in the county." Remembering the level of honesty displayed by Mr. Clark and his Disney Teacher of Year award, I simply could not believe this new claim. What test is this and where can we view the results?
What really turned me off from this book was that it is painfully Anti-kid and Anti-teacher. Instead of raising child self-esteem and documenting actual achievements, readers are treated to a continuous line of Mr. Clark's unregulated stunts. Nowhere else have I seen an educational author earning money from his experiences of humiliating both students and teachers. Until now.
According to pointless RULE 9, Mr. Clark will take back any gift you don't thank him for in three seconds. After one little girl won a set of books from him, our heartless author states on page 24, "The little girl was so excited that she was jumping up and down." Guess what. She forgot to immediately say thank you, and her gleeful classmates pointed it out. Mr. Clark then took away her earned reward and traded it in for lasting humiliation. He was then kind enough to share this humiliation with the world and profit from it in this very book. Have you thanked her for that Mr. Clark? Can you give her that excitement back? His excuse on page 25 was, "... I had to remain consistent." If you are wondering readers, this type of behavior will consistently transform employed teachers into unemployed ones.
It became obvious to me, that everything Mr. Clark did in his classroom (including going to teach in Harlem) he did to eventually make part of a future book; this book. Take RULE 16 on page 56. "Homework will be turned in each day..." In this section we learn that the amazing Mr. Clark got 100% of his class to turn in their homework for 62 days in a row. Something smells fishy here when he uses the phrase "homework participation," instead of homework completion. To get this 62 day run of whatever it is, he uses "peer pressure." This is code for bullying. If he doesn't like a kid, he turns the class loose on them stating "Well, I let the class lay it on thick." If the kid is his best student who is reduced to tears because she is the one who forgot her work on day 63, then Mr. Clark says, "Class, we need to have a talk." What happened to taking back books on page 25 and, "...I had to remain consistent."? Again new teachers, if you want to be fired, be like Mr. Clark.
Mr. Clark actually hides behind RULE 49 "Stand up for what you believe in," after giving a detention to a model student on page 139. Her sin? She had forgotten to bring to class a piece of blue paper. Really, how important are homework streaks when homework consists of carrying a colored piece of paper to and from school? The once happy, well-adjusted student, "...had cried all night long" because of this undeserved detention. Are we seeing a pattern here folks? Mr. Clark then refused to remove his martinet policy or the detention. If not for his preposterous fame, I don't see how he would have kept his job. Instead we read, "...that class went on to have twenty-three days in a row..." of what? successful colored-paper carrying? I am curious, what story of child humiliation arose at the end of that streak?
RULE 52 on page 146 is the clincher for me. Mr. Clark, in shear arrogance, states, "Accept that you are going to make mistakes. Learn from them and move on." Wow! This guy actually details how he gets into an argument with a veteran teacher and made her life a living hell. Astonishingly, Mr. "Respect" involves his entire elementary class in hiding a rotting onion in the woman's classroom; leaving it there for weeks; disrupting her student's working environment; and letting her throw out a personal plant that he convinced her was creating the smell. After she finally discovers the rotted onion, Mr. Clark then puts finely ground onions in her deodorizing spray bottle and laughs as she squirts it around the room. Her entire class then had to spend the day looking for non-existent onions instead of learning. Mr. Clark's horrible example leads directly to his own students blatant ignoring and disrespecting of this teacher. Amazingly, he never apologizes to her; her students; his student's; or the community. This idiotic behavior would have ended the teaching career of anyone, anywhere. But not Disney's Teacher of the Year. Instead, he got a movie deal.
In reference to your RULE 52: Mr. Clark, a mistake is an accident that occurs in the heat of a moment. You decided to torment a fellow teacher and her students for weeks. That is no accident. Your actions were, and continue to be, nothing less than disgraceful. Does anyone out there really believe the targeted teacher's name was Mrs. BITTERson? Couldn't resist sticking her one last time Mr. Clark?
Instead of following his own bullying advice and growing from this self-created debacle, Mr. Clark appears to be involving us all in his biggest, meanest prank yet: humiliating kids and a career teacher in front of the world, while wink... wink... taking our money.
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars AN ESSENTIAL... for starting bonfires!,
This review is from: The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (Paperback)It makes my skin crawl and my stomach turn that Mr. Clark won an award for his...''teaching''. I am equally appalled that this thing is given to those in teaching classes. Here is a list of things in this book I found despicable.
1.A little girl is excited about winnimg a set of books that she won fair and square for a test, but Ron rips it from her hands because she didn't say thanks within a three second period.
2.Clark encourages his student's to laugh at her for her ''mistake''.
3.With the help of his students, Mr. Clark places a rotting onion in a fellow teacher's room, and tells her it's a plant that is producing the smell. Of course, she throws the plant out.(Dose he really expect us to believe her name is BITTERman)?
4.Our teacher grinds up the onion and puts it in her air-freshner, so the foul smell is sprayed throughout the room.
5.Ronald tells his students a false story about his sister licking the cheese off the Dorito chips as they watched ''The Flintstones''. Because of this story, he dose not allow Doritos in the building. ''If they try to test me'' he says, ''I will walk over to them wearing a face of disgust, snatch the bag from the table walk over to the neareast trash can and bust the bag, sending chips all over the place''. If you don't believe me, go to rule # 47 to see for your self.
THE ESSENTIAL 55 is a poorly written, self indulgent book, an 'essential' for starting bonfires, but not recomended for anything else.
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for new teachers,
This review is from: The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (Hardcover)After reading several other books similar to Ron Clark's no other book gave me the knowledge I needed to help me in the classroom. The author uses many personal situations to explain 55 things that help him in the classroom. Not only is this a MUST READ for teachers, but will help anyone in their daily lives. GREAT BOOK and fun to read!
69 of 84 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disney teacher indeed.,
He's bright, egotistical, funny, and wants to set the world of education on its ear by showing how marvelous he is. Good plan. Bad book.
63 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simple is always better,
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58 of 73 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not only an awful book but scary!,
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This review is from: The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (Paperback)I had to read this book with a reading group composed of fellow educators. I found the book to be poorly written, overly padded (how did tipping a hotel maid become one of the 55 essentials?) and furthermore I have serious doubts that many of the included incidents happened or happened in the way Mr. Clark describes them. The tone of the book is so self congratulatory is was often difficult for me to continue reading it. Mr. Clark seems to control his class by embarrassing or shaming his students in to compliance and his rules are often arbitrary (no DORITOS?). His feud with an older colleague "Mrs. Bitterman?" should have gotten him severely reprimanded especially since the students are fully engaged and participatory in his actions against her. Yet Mr. Clark has no shame about teaching his students to persecute an older woman and actually brags about it. The scary part is about three fourths of the teachers in my reading group thought Mr. Clark was wonderful and refreshing. No wonder there is so much distrust of teachers and the public school systems.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "May be helpful to the novice teacher, but more foam than substance",
Kudos to Clark on his accomplishments, but if you're looking for practical helps on becoming a better teacher, there are better works.
"Teacher Under Construction" is the standard in the field for new middle school teachers, and "Extreme Learning" is great for heavy-research learning. While neither will make you slip into an emotional 'yea, rah! rah!' as well as Clark's book, both will make you a better teacher.
36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Well-marketed fluff,
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The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child by Ron Clark (Paperback - July 21, 2004)