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The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  3,390 Ratings  ·  363 Reviews
The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 21st 2004 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Oct 30, 2007 Anna rated it it was ok
I agree with Ron that students must LIKE and RESPECT teachers in order to get the most out of their experience with them.

I disagree that I should take them on endless field trips, bake them cookies every night as a condition of doing their homework, and be responsible for teaching them how to use a knife and fork. You'll notice a conspicuous absence of references in this book to Ron Clark's [wife][girlfriend][partner][significant other][children][pets][etc.]. Maybe that's because he spends all h
Vincent Eisman
Sep 16, 2010 Vincent Eisman rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
Egads! People take the idea of having 55 rules seriously!? And further, rules that are so exceedingly specific or absurdly general? Rules that dictate how a student is to behave at home!? I couldn't remember 10 rules myself, even if I wrote them (I believe Harry Wong suggests no more than five). And finally, rules that aren't even enforceable!? Sheesh. New teachers, please learn and practice the difference between teaching worthy principles (which most of the 55 are) and making rules.

Student mot
Jun 30, 2008 Gwenda rated it liked it
Can you say overachiever? Wow--55 rules?? That's a lot!! Did anybody else think that this guy has way too much time on his hands and needs to get a personal life? I mean, really, could anyone WITH A FAMILY do all that out-of-class extra stuff for his students--field trips, cookie-baking, fundraisers, preparing special rewards, etc.? Most of his rules are basic good manners, and I agree that they need to be taught/reinforced in the classroom, but I was so overwhelmed with the totality of it all t ...more
Laila E 240521
Mar 31, 2013 Laila E 240521 rated it really liked it
The essential 55 rules
This book is the most interesting than any book that I read before. And I recommend you to read it. Although from the title it seems little boring because, it has rules steps and advices, but I like these kinds of books. This book is for the writer Ron Clark; in this book he is talking about many rules that he set them for kids, children, teenagers and parents. These rules are going to guide teachers how to deal with kids and teenagers in different situation. It also gives
Linnea McGowan
Feb 17, 2008 Linnea McGowan rated it really liked it
Shelves: myworldsquared
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2010 Christina rated it it was ok
The Essential 55
By Ron Clark-
How To (non-fiction)
The things I enjoyed about this book were how all the rules didn’t apply just to school or work… but to everything in life. These rules are not too much to ask for, but they are used to show what kind of person you set yourself as and how to respect people and them to respect you back. Although I enjoyed reading all the rules that are very important, the rules were presented in the book in a list instead of a story. I think it would be a lot more
Jan 17, 2012 Nicole rated it it was ok
There was some good stuff in here - mostly for first year teachers - but really, I just found him fussy and condescending. I liked that he admitted his mistakes, and learned from them, but the writing was less conversational as it was authoritative (in some parts) which was irritating (as I'm sure it would be if it were being read by a teacher peer).

So, some good reminders of what teachers (and parents) should expect from children, but I think it could've been narrowed down to his "Top 10" - per
Jan 30, 2009 Krista rated it it was ok
A nice little book but falls too easily into the category of self-congratulatory idolization of ordinary ideas. And fairly poorly written; this guy would come across better chatting than writing.

AND when he was on his point about washing hands in the bathroom, after waxing quite eloquent about how to get a paper towel before you wash your hands to use to handle the faucet, going into great detail about how to use it to dispense soap, too, he, shockingly, says nothing about using the paper towel
Vicki Davis
Jun 07, 2014 Vicki Davis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education-books
I loved this book- not so much because I am going to adopt his rules for my classroom word for word- I am not. I do believe however that there are some essential aspects of great teaching within this book, particularly in a time when some parents- not all but some- are not teaching kids things they need to know to be successful. Manners go a very long way as well as learning to respect yourself and others. My hope is that those who read this book will develop their own unique rules for their cla ...more
Aug 17, 2008 Anita rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to hear this author at our teacher convocation this year and immediately bought both his books. Ron Clark is an inspired speaker and writer, giving valuable tips for a beginning or veteran teacher on ways to build a classroom community, let children know they are safe and cared about, and create a learning environment that encourages each child to achieve their personal best.

I would recommend this book to teachers and parents. It is a fast read but one that merits rereading
Mar 01, 2009 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teachers of all grades
Mr. Clark came to Sarasota to motivate teachers just before the big budget hammer came down upon us, and as a Level III intern about to graduate, he was highly intriguing, very motivating, and a lot of fun. I immediately ran to B & N after school that day to pick up his book, but I must admit that he is much more captivating in person. His "essential 55" could be pared down quite a bit, and you will definitely need to pick and choose the rules that are most important to you and what you expe ...more
Mr. Z
Mar 08, 2009 Mr. Z rated it liked it
Personally I think 3-5 classroom rules is plenty to set the tone for a stable academic environment. But if you have the time and energy to discuss 50+ rules with your students, this book gives you plenty of ideas of where to start. What I enjoyed more than Ron Clark's "rules" was his contagious passion for teaching and reaching kids. His rules might not fit every teacher's philosophy, but his passion should be commended and embraced by all. I enjoyed both his book and the movie that later came o ...more
Jul 22, 2016 Kate rated it it was ok
I've heard/read/watched about his school, I've seen his students and teachers in action (at a conference), I felt like it was finally time to check out what he was producing before the school but still with all the hype. Mostly feel uncomfortable by a lot of what he's putting down here.
Bill Dilworth
Aug 29, 2009 Bill Dilworth rated it did not like it
I thoroughly dislike this book. Yes, most of the rules themselves are good. Yes, I have applied some of them in my teaching. But the way that he implements them, and his attitude towards his students, struck me as demeaning.
Cherise Fisher
Jul 31, 2015 Cherise Fisher rated it really liked it
This was a great easy and interesting read. Awesome for new teachers and those teachers that feel like they are in a teaching rut.
Kris Marley Patrick
Jul 12, 2016 Kris Marley Patrick rated it it was ok
Alfie Kohn would have a field day with this one.
Apparently I am in no danger of being named Disney Teacher of the Year.
Sep 24, 2008 Emilie rated it it was amazing
Loved the 55 rules, and Ron Clark's presentation of them. A very memorable read, with a lot of practical application.
Oct 18, 2016 Megan rated it liked it
Interesting concepts. Found myself wishing more teachers cared this much. As a parent I will go over these rules with my child.
May 24, 2014 Briana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This review is also posted at Pages Unbound Book Reviews.

Ron Clark’s rules for teaching probably will not speak to every teacher, but they do provide a great basic guideline for teaching a very specific set of students: young children in at-risk schools. Clark’s teaching experience began in rural North Carolina, where many of his students had never travelled beyond the borders of their own state. He later took up a position teaching in Harlem. In both cases, he was working in schools with high t
Sandy Hurst
Dec 24, 2016 Sandy Hurst rated it really liked it
Great book for teaching students basics on manners and procedures that students can use in daily life not just in a school setting.
Blythe Penland
Aug 24, 2015 Blythe Penland rated it really liked it
I thought that this book was more than adequate. I honestly don't think I ever would have gotten this book into my hands if not for my wonderful Studio D teachers; Mrs. Farr, Mrs. Soblo (and okay, I guess Mr. Kearse too). I would like to thank them for that. Our Studio D assignment was to read the rules, and after each one, we were to write down the rule in our notebooks and give a reflection, adding up to five or so sentences for each rule altogether. So over the course of the past month (give ...more
Mar 24, 2010 Carmen rated it liked it
Shelves: education
A list of fifty-five rules to enforce in the classroom, written by an award-winning educator. I respect Clark in that he found himself in the field of education by chance, and seemingly had a knack for classroom maintenance, something that does not come naturally to most people. He sets very high expectations for student behavior, and I agreed with many of his suggestions. However, he includes some odd rules, such as recording a videotaped lesson so that substitutes just need to pop in the tape ...more
Dirk Pratt
Oct 02, 2016 Dirk Pratt rated it really liked it
It's the simple things that make the biggest impact. Ron Clark's book goes through and lists the 55 'essentials' to creating a successful environment for students. While I do agree with the list if you were say, an elementary school teacher, these ideas aren't as easily enforced if the teacher is in high school.
I feel compelled to say, that it is extremely sad that Ron Clark had to write this book. 99% of what Ron Clark is doing is essentially parenting. The 'essentials' is what the parent needs
Adam Watson
Jan 20, 2015 Adam Watson rated it really liked it
I saw Ron Clark live at an SDE conference in Las Vegas in 2014. He is definitely one of the most energetic, charismatic educators you will ever meet. So it took a while, but I finally got around to reading one of his books.

This book is a solid four star book for a beginning or struggling elementary or middle school teacher, and perhaps a three star for anyone else. When Clark is sharing his anecdotes, he is absolutely laugh out loud amusing (or the opposite, may make you tear up) while making a
Oct 01, 2011 Amanda rated it it was ok
While I think it is great that the author was able to go into an urban school and have a positive impact on his students, I don't necessarily see his method of classroom management/molding instruction to be effective in the long run. A lot of his rules seem arbitrary (and in fact, he admits to have a purposely arbitrary rule) and, having been an adolescent recently myself, I can see how teenaged students would not want to follow his rules. Some of his rules seem to exist for the sake of having r ...more
This book was sitting in a set of boxes of books my mom asked me to clear out of her house. I'd heard of Ron Clark and had seen him on "Waiting for Superman". So I decided to give it a try.

Most of the early rules are dead-on fabulous ("When homework is assigned, do not moan or complain"). Some of the rest are good and reasonable. A couple of the last ones are pithy ("live life to the fullest"). A small handful are plain silly, such as instructing kids how to wash hands or use forks. Editing the
Aug 01, 2014 Susan rated it liked it
The author, Ron Clark, earned the 2001 Disney Teacher of the Year Award. In this book, he goes through his 55 classroom rules for (not surprisingly) discovering the successful student in every child.

I began reading one of these rules each night to the girls after dinner. They are nothing earth-shattering, but they're things that are just good to know, and be reminded of every now and then: Make eye contact. Respect others' ideas and opinions. Do not save seats. Say thank you within three seconds
May 13, 2012 Corinne rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
Received book in a book exchange through reddit. Ron Clark has "55 Rules" he uses in his classroom. His effective methodology reinforces what all teachers know... students need structure and consistency to be motivated and successful. I definitely have some take home bits from this book. He teaches 5th grade so he doesn't see 7 classes of 8th grade students, so I will have to adjust some of his things. I like how he addresses manners, so I am trying to figure out how to apply that to students I ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: education, 2011books
What an admirable teacher!

Reading the below comments, I felt that everyone operates differently. These 55 rules worked well for him, but it won't work for everyone. The point of the book being written was to have a catch-all for teachers to refer to as a guide. For instance, my school adopted 23 of the manner requirements for the students to follow and it doesn't need to be stated...they just become engrained. As someone mentioned, Harry Wong's rule of five posted rules works well for students t
Adriane Devries
Jul 25, 2011 Adriane Devries rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
Ron Clark’s mission in “The Essential 55” is to rescue rules from the bad rap they’ve acquired in pop culture over the last 35 years or so. He shows through his own teaching time in classrooms full of what others would label as “problem students” that the right rules, combined with the right attitude of love and concern for the students, deliver incredible results in both student learning and social growth. He insists that it is possible to, in a relatively short time, instill respect, manners a ...more
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What's The Name o...: book about manners by male 6th grade teacher [s] 4 53 Mar 28, 2010 09:26PM  
  • What Great Teachers Do Differently: Fourteen Things That Matter Most
  • The Daily Five
  • The First Days Of School: How To Be An Effective Teacher
  • Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom
  • The First Six Weeks of School
  • Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades
  • Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching, Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy
  • Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement
  • Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
  • Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year
  • Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement
  • Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Need of All Learners
  • Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students by Their Brains
  • 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It!
  • Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook
  • The Art of Teaching Reading
  • 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching
  • The Morning Meeting Book: K-8
Ron Clark has been called "America's Educator." In 2000, he was named Disney's American Teacher of the Year. He is a New York Times bestselling author whose book, The Essential 55, has sold over 1 million copies and has been published in 25 different countries.

--from the author's website

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more
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