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The Wild Card: 7 Steps to an Educator's Creative Breakthrough

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,680 ratings  ·  160 reviews
The Wild Card is your step-by-step guide to experiencing a creative breakthrough in your classroom with your students.

"This book is a teacher wonderland of ideas, inspiration, and mind-blowing magic." - Ron Clark, The New York Times best-selling author and cofounder, Ron Clark Academy.

In this audiobook, Wade and Hope King show you how to draw on your authentic self - your
Paperback, 229 pages
Published January 8th 2018 by Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated (first published 2017)
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Stephanie Fujii
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what I expected from this book. But I didn't get it. At all.

Hope and Wade sound like amazing educators. They are super enthusiastic and give their all to their kiddos. Their school, and students are super lucky. I admire their devotion, and really enjoyed their anecdotes about their own classroom. They have a lot of ethos in this area, that's for sure.

A few things I did take away:
1. Thinking about my class as a parent. Would I want my kids to have me as a teacher? Would I feel they
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
It's clear that Hope and Wade King, teachers at the Ron Clark Academy, are passionate about their profession. They put their heart and soul into their work, and their students are lucky to have such enthusiastic, creative teachers. That said, it seems that the Kings, not their students, are the stars of the show (a metaphor they use throughout the book).

On one hand, I really loved what the Kings had to say about building relationships with students, both in and out of the classroom. They emphasi
Mrs. Schuld
Jun 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The book was okay. Great for inspiring teachers about engagement. They truly care about kids and go over the top to inspire and motivate them. However, I disagreed with some of their statements and ideas. While I firmly believe we can be the wild card for kids, I think it’s the responsibility of the student to be an active learner as well, and I think they missed the mark there.
Kelly Carlson
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was not one I would have grabbed off of a shelf, but it was one that met the date criteria of a challenge my Academic Dean gave our teaching staff. At least in my printed copy, it met the date criteria since it was published for a second time in 2018 (wink: I may be making that up). My family enjoys card games, so it was the title that caught my attention. I wasn't sure how the author was going to connect the title to education, but right into chapter one, I got it.
The whole book is
Lauren Walton
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a positive and must read for all teachers!
Monica Hills
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have been a teacher for the past 17 years. I went into teaching with the philosophy that I wanted my students to have fun and love learning. Over the years I feel like I have tried to do many of the things mentioned in this book but these educators took engagement and love of learning to a whole new level. It really is an inspiration and I love their ideas and discussion. My only complaint would be that I would love more examples of how they did things. Part of what they discussed was taking i ...more
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very motivational book to encourage teachers to find their spark! Excited to put their tips to use as I continue to develop as a teacher!
Tammy Hahs
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great reminder of all the great things about teaching. It gave me so much food for thought and I spent a lot of my time reading this and self-reflecting. Reading this book energized me the be the best version of my self in the classroom.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy the style or the voice. Someone told me it would be more engaging if I had followed Hope and Wade on their journey, but I suppose what’s the point of writing a book but to attempt to reach a wider audience? Someone else said to read it with the lens of a self help book. That helped but I vehemently disagreed with some of the dispositional points so it really didn’t sit well with me. I would have enjoyed some more research based support to their tips. I wou ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book-- I really did. Hope and Wade are amazing, and I mean NO SHADE to them. But my grade takeaway from this book was that teachers have to do it all, be it all, and make it all work. There were a few good nuggets that I'll use in my classroom, but overall, not my favorite PD book.
Ashley Barrett
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read

Every single teacher should read this book. It can be a personal challenge or additional ideas to what you already do. Amazing!!
Valerie Zink
Jul 13, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book says nothing new that I could not figure out myself, that I have not been there done that, heard before. Most of it is the two authors talking about themselves. Dullsville.
James (JD) Dittes
With The Wild Card Hope and Wade King provide a nice jolt for teachers looking to add some spice to their teaching practice.

My favorite part of the book was the ways Hope and Wade put themselves into the book. It isn't just "look what I've done," although there are many fascinating and relevant pictures of the couple at work (at play?). By sharing their stories and their experiences as students, they show how closely they identified with their students--first in South Carolina, now in the Atlant
Julie Anderson
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great insight on how to make your curriculum more engaging and get students to want to come to school. Lots of good examples and ideas that you can start using tomorrow! Really great book and a great listen in the car on the way to work to get me in the right mindset to teach kiddos.

Biggest takeaway that I needed and loved was the idea that all the “excuses” for why you can’t do something, for example: large class sizes, standardized tests, etc. are just a roadblock that you need to be creative
Laurel Wendt
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a fairly new educator I am very passionate about my practice and am constantly looking for ways to become a better teacher for my students. With that being said, I found “The Wild Card” to be a great read that continued to spark the flame I have for teaching. I got some valuable ideas and tools that I definitely want to implement in my class. However, the authors are very adamant about student engagement and come across as if you aren’t teaching the way they suggest, then you’re teaching inco ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every teacher should read this book. The reason I loved it so much...they don't tell you exactly what to do. I love their "no excuses" attitude and motivation to improve as an educator. There are so many great ideas, things to think about, and reasons to refocus your "why". Start with smiling while you teach! This is a must read.
Emily S.
The beauty of reading a book like this is that I can pick and choose what will work for me, and that's how it's intended. I didn't once feel like if I didn't do a particular thing, then I was a bad teacher. I appreciated the personal insights given, and the many ideas that I can adapt for my classroom.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Similar to Teach Like a Pirate from what I remember. Lots of good engagement strategies and I agree with a lot of the points they made. Nice read to get me back in school mode.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here again a full review will come later.
For now ... Some interesting ideas I did like. But lame that the last 11-12% of the book was advertising.
Lynnae Andersen
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book as part of a district Twitter chat. As a new teacher in this district and still a green teacher only in my 5th year, I was excited to participate and converse with other teachers about our craft.

Initially, when I read the prompt, I was disappointed. Creativity is my THING. I love taking an old or boring lesson, flipping it on it's head and doing something fun: especially for my middle and high school students (elementary shouldn't be the only ones having fun). Needless to sa
Kim Erwin
May 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Unrealistic and authors are so self-congratulatory it was just annoying to read.
Indigo Crayon
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5ish? But it was so easy to read and just got me feeling really pumped, so I'm rounding it up for my star rating.

This is not like a research-y book. This is more a book told with tons of anecdotes and giving you some advice for how to have a creative break through. It really is kind of like a self-help book in that the tone is more about encouraging you to push past any roadblocks and figure out creative solutions than about providing you with data about stuff. I thought it was really enjoyabl
Kristin Lawrence
May 10, 2020 rated it liked it
My friend was inspired by it and her entire district is reading Wild Card. All schools in her district are receiving PD days and trainings on the Clark’s philosophy of room transformations and engaging students in learning. Yet, it is a district with high test scores, involved parents, and extra support in an affluent area. As teachers, we are faced with so many challenges and one of the biggest is time. I wish I had time to be able to transform my room and move the desks and chairs to create a ...more
Shanda Jones
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t write many reviews so please forgive any etiquette breaches.

First, I see that most of the people low-rating this book are people arguing to maintain their current situation. Second, I noticed that the majority of those giving high reviews use words like “positive,” “inspiring,” etc.

You will always find what you’re looking for. If you want to defend your practices, commiserate on the challenges of teaching, or get step-by-step instructions, don’t bother. Neither this book nor any other wi
Caren Jennings
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have followed Hope and Wade’s journey through social media for a while. I will admit, I am a huge fan of theirs. I haven’t had the opportunity to go to Get Your Teach On, but it’s on my list! It took me almost a year to read this book, but I am so glad I did!

Their book The Wild Card is an excellent read for any educator or aspiring educator. I think they do a great job of giving you support without giving you all the answers. They talk a lot about being yourself and if they gave you all the an
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I feel like since this was required reading so I probably shouldn’t even review it.

I didn’t really enjoy this book. I don’t know what I was supposed to gain from it. I think the authors sound like tremendous educators and I can see why they work at the Ron Clark Academy.

Also though? There was a lot of expectations that would be hard to live up to/exhaust you by the end of the day. The idea that you have no bad days/always on/always positive will burn some people out very quickly. When I worked
Lindsay Wilcox
This was my school’s faculty summer reading. I was rather confused by this book. I agree with the authors that teaching and learning shouldn’t be boring, but I’m not sure that teacher creativity is the one path toward improvement. (I feel the same way about technology, and I use tech constantly.) The Kings are adamant that teacher creativity is the best way to improve student test scores because it makes the students *want* to learn. I don’t doubt that they get the scores or that the scores are ...more
Sarah Williams
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was very well written and had a lot of good perspectives, and tips on how to be more creative in the classroom. I agreed with most of the rationale behind the practices they were encouraging. You can tell the authors have a lot of classroom experience, and practice doing the things they recommend. The only struggle I had, was that some of what they were encouraging is very hard to do if you have a personal life or children of your own. The authors spend a lot of time outside the classr ...more
Lisa K
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hope and Wade King have long inspired teachers everywhere while sharing their craft at the renowned Ron Clark Academy and on social media. When I saw that they had written a book, I knew it was going to be full of ideas to keep kids engaged! I was not disappointed! This book takes a look at ways to extend your teaching and is a slam dunk for any teacher looking to take it to the next level. They give a solid account of their own journeys and offer many ways-both big and little-to join fun and le ...more
Mrs. Gold
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this inspiring book for teachers by Hope and Wade King! I feel like I should read it each year, just to help me stay on top of my teaching game. The authors have real-world experience (at the Ron Clark Academy, where I would LOVE to visit for some professional development), and they use tons of examples from their past to show teachers that classrooms should be full of JOY and FUN and ENGAGEMENT. Many of my favorite days of teaching were inspired by this book. The only thing that would m ...more
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“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
36 likes · 13 comments
“You have to teach standards; that’s a given. But standards don’t determine how you deliver the content—and it’s your delivery method that drives engagement.” 3 likes
“Because in the game of life, children have no control over the hand they are dealt. You, as a teacher, are the wild card that can make a difference in your students’ lives.” 1 likes
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