It is a magical experience from the very first moment you enter and I know that I can't even begin to do it justice.
The school looks AMAZING and I just wanted to explore every nook and cranny because there is no way to take it all in. Once I stepped inside the classrooms and observed the teachers I was floored by the level of student engagement and how passionate the teachers were. My big take back is to use lots of MEANINGFUL music and movement to keep the students ACTIVELY learning.
" In my classroom I spend a lot of time rapping lessons, dancing, jumping on desks, standing on my head, and doing whatever it takes to get my students excited and enthusiastic about learning."
-Ron Clark The Excellent 11
Even though the level of rigor was through the roof you could see that the student's were having fun while learning... and isn't that what it's all about? I've always been a firm believer that LEARNING SHOULD BE JOYFUL! If you are forced to teach with a basal I would encourage you to find a way to add in some activities that bring joy and excitement to what you are teaching.
If no one is looking throw it out!
Kim Bearden shared her story and she had me in tears. I don't even have adequate words to describe what a wonderful person she is. She not only talks the talk, she walks the walk. Her love for teaching and for her students is contagious!
Another take back is the feeling that everyone (students, staff, teachers, parents) truly care for one another. In class if a student struggled to answer a question the other students cheered them on and encouraged them to give it a try. They cheered for each other in times of success and in times of struggle. Wow! I'm getting teary eyed just typing this. Could you imagine how wonderful our world would be if this was the norm?
"At our school, we clap and cheer for one another, and we embrace each others' good fortunes. We teach our children that we are in this together and that we must help each other find success."
-Kim Bearden Crash Course
Okay, so I might be a bit biased here because Hope King is one of my dearest friends but I was blown away by her teaching. We were only able to observe her for about 15 minutes but I took away so many strategies that I can incorporate into my classroom. Hope hasn't written and published a book with a publishing company like Ron and Kim have but she does have a wonderful resource on TPT called, Student Engagement: A Guide to Teaching Outside the Box. This book matches perfectly with my Philosophy of Teaching. Learning should be joyful, meaningful & engaging! I want my students to love coming to school each day and be excited when to tell their parents what they learned when they hop in the car every afternoon.
Do you want to see some pictures of Hope's classroom?
One word... AMAZING!
These are the doors that lead into her room. When they open up you are led through a doorway that looks like you are stepping through the pages of books.
These are the pictures of the inside of her classroom.
We all had to climb in her tree house and get a pic. :)
Friday evening we were able to attend the first basketball game in the new gym.
The energy and enthusiasm in the crowd was contagious!
Everyone was cheering on the team and their level of sportsmanship was out of this world.
They even clapped for the other team.
Ron Clark was there cheering them on and there was very little time to sit.
At one point he looked back at us during the game and when he noticed us sitting he fussed at us and told us that there was no sitting allowed. Everyone must stand and cheer. If I could bottle up his energy and sell it.....
If you ever have the chance to attend the Ron Clark Academy I highly recommend it!
Your passion for teaching will be reignited!
Click on the image below to check it out!