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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 ·  3,615 Ratings  ·  384 Reviews
The runaway bestseller that's a must-have for every parent and teacher. How many authors would travel coast to coast on a bus to get their book into as many hands as possible? Not many. But that's just what Ron Clark, author of The Essential 55, did to keep his book and message in the public eye. And it worked. After his Oprah appearance, sales skyrocketed: we've sold more ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2003)
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Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Linnea McGowan
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myworldsquared
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the 55 rules, and Ron Clark's presentation of them. A very memorable read, with a lot of practical application.
Indigo Crayon
I thought the three small sections at the back with tips was useful. As for the actual rules, it was hit or miss for me. But for a lot of the ones I was "eh" about, I could still understand the core idea and I can see the place he's coming from, so I mean I don't hate this book or anything. I just don't understand why you'd have 55 very specific rules. And yes, I get that kids need more explained to them than you think (always be very specific about what you want them to do lol), but I'm more of ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: june
As a still beginning teacher I always enjoying reading about other teachers' experiences inside the classroom. Though I had read Ron Clark's book before while I was in undergrad as part of a teaching course, reading it for the second time as a new teacher was much more worthwhile. I reflected on my past experiences in teaching as I read through The Essential 55 and thought about what I could do this upcoming school year to better myself and give my students a better learning experience. I would ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book felt more like narcissistic bragging than an actual guide book for class rules. As a new teacher, I want to learn from those who succeed but most of these rules were so long and convoluted or just too ridiculous to enforce. I believe in overachieving but not to the point of elaborate field trips and daily baking. I have too many bills to pay for that kind of extra expense. Also if I found out that my child's teacher crushed up and threw out his/her Doritos, I would be on the phone with ...more
Shalah Collins
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really appreciate it when intellectual people find a way to get their message across with out making people have to grab their dictionary to reference a word because it is not familiar to them. Nothing wrong with learning new things, but I think people appreciate when you are direct and blunt with your message. Ron Clark's the Essential 55 can be a timeless very useful guide for parents, educators, and other school staffers
John Willis
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read on the author's ideas of what can help make a great teacher. Having heard the speaker in person and having watched the TV special on his life, I really enjoyed reading about some of his ideas. This man has a passion for students and excellent, creative teaching. A must read for teachers.
Amy Nicole
I would never actually use this as a how-to guide because I couldn't keep up with 55 rules, but this was thought provoking. I found it interesting that he focuses on teaching etiquette and social interactions. It's true that we can't expect students to do things that we haven't explained before, especially if they come from different home lives where there are different expectations. While not directly applicable, this book made me consider how I could approach those "life lesson" moments in my ...more
The list seemed a bit extensive, but I think it goes well if you have received any Responsive Classroom training -- that first and foremost, if there is an expected behavior you wish your students to have then you must teach it, model it and be consistent in its follow through.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This enjoyable teaching book has many practical ideas of rules, or guidelines, for not just the classroom but really any place. It teaches the reader how to live a life that is considerate of the people around him. I highly recommend this book to all teachers and people.
Darcie Erin
Glad I read it, but what a mixed bag. I want to teach manners and respect in my classroom, but some of the consequences in this book were really shaming and made me cringe. Others, I thought, were good ideas. Take it with a grain of salt I guess and pick and choose.
Courtney Cahoon White
Many of the rules and tips were practical and helpful, but taking the kids on endless field trips & giving them tons of homemade rewards, as he mentions a lot, just isn't feasible for every teacher. Nevertheless, I enjoyed his insight and took away some good strategies from this.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This book is really inspirational. I have lots to think about after reading it.
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for parents and teachers alike. Insightful. The techniques and methods are applicable to every age level if applied right.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was hilarious, but it was also SO helpful! I am using a few of Ron Clark's rules for my classroom now.
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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  
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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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