Sunday, June 7, 2015

Under the Influence...of the Ron Clark Academy!

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. I have to tell you that I had no idea what was in store when I walked in the door!
We were greeted with a party-like atmosphere complete with music, students dancing, and even teachers jumping on a trampoline!
I have to say that the most impressive part of this 'party' was the 5th grader I had the pleasure of talking to. He was so polite, asked questions, actually listened to my answers, and then asked more questions about me! 
Then, we got to meet Ron Clark for an introduction to the day. What a fun guy! And boy, does he have a TON of ENERGY! He showed us a spinning wheel that they use as a type of 'Harry Potter Sorting Hat.' They use the spinner for things like placing kids into their special 'house' and also as a competition to see which 'house' can earn the most points. Points can be earned for behavior, academics, honor, etc. Pretty neat!

 I LOVE the idea of having 'houses' for behaviors. I am trying to think of a way to incorporate it into the 2nd grade . . . or even better, our whole school! If you have a good idea of how it would work in a public school, please leave a comment for me!
Once we were over the excitement of being at RCA, we were split into groups to observe in actual classrooms. AMAZING! I cannot believe the engagement in these kids. 
The classrooms were also so cool! Each of the teachers is able to have their room decorated the way they want it. It really made me want to go and give my room a total makeover! I just need a little more cash and a carpenter/painter! Check out the VW! AND, this is in a classroom! 

I had the opportunity of talking with another one of the phenomenal students in the school gym. How would you like to play a game on this fiery floor? We were going to go and watch a game but it was cancelled because of the cold snap in Atlanta. They weren't taking any chances with the ice!
  And the coolest thing? I am now SLIDE CERTIFIED! What a fun way to get downstairs! Now, if there was a fun way to get back up the stairs! Oh, and one more thing . . . How do you make visiting RCA even better? You go with a bunch of blogging buddies!
If you ever get the chance to visit Ron Clark Academy, go for it! It is totally worth the money to attend. It totally changed the way I run my classroom. It was quite the shock for my kids and for some of the parents when I got back. However, the kids responded well and behaviors improved and caring and kindness increased.
I even made a simple version of Ron's Essential 55 rules into elementary posters. They are simple and have a picture to help the kids understand the rules. If you haven't read The Essential 55, you need to get it done. Great summer read!
This book is incredible! I was reading it during silent reading time and Bryce came up and asked: "Is that the Rule Book?" YES is is my boy, yes it is! If you'd like to check out the class rules and activities pack, just click the pic!


I hope your summer is off to a good start or that you are in the final count down. I am just beginning to feel human again!
Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Hi Hilary! I just took a class this summer and a school district near us came in and spoke about the Ron Clark Academy. Their Superintendent and all of their principals came in to talk to us. They have created their own version of the The Ron Clark Academy. They have sent about 3/4 of their entire staff down to Georgia. They have their entire K-12 school involved and they have 4 different "houses" that each student belongs to. The staff there is more than willing to talk to other schools who may be interested in starting something in their own school. If you want more information, send me an e-mail and I can get you some websites/phone numbers:) I too would LOVE something like this in our school.
    Jennie
    jdsrockinreaders@gmail.com

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