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The Ron Clark Academy.... an experience like no other!

I've been teaching for 18 years and I love it, but if we are being totally honest we know that every once in awhile the negatives sneak in and start robbing us of the joy of teaching. We have to find ways to keep us focused on the positives and the reasons why we teach.  I took two years off to travel and present at conferences.  I love getting to meet teachers  and share my love for teaching, but I've decided that I'm ready to get back to what I love most. So, next year I'm going back to teaching K!  After spending some time at the Ron Clark Academy I have never felt more energized and excited about teaching!!

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.
No Words!

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.....

Must reads....



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!


  1. I tear up everytime I reflect back about our weekend. AMAZING! So blessed to have had the opportunity to spend time at RCA... and to have experienced it with you all! Luv ya!!!

    1. Holly, I had a GREAT time this weekend. Thanks so much for sharing the experience with me. LOVE you!!!

  2. Hope to go to RCA one day!! I have loved reading all of the blog posts from you girls about your trip!! :)

  3. Reading your post and seeing all the pics posted over the weekend made me dig out all my Ron Clark books for a reread. I even watched the movie again over the weekend! I really must book a trip to experience it all. Thanks for sharing, Jen

  4. Looks like you had a blast! It's on my bucket list! So exciting you are going back in the classroom. Are you going to work in Orange County?

  5. This school looks beautiful! Congrats and best wishes on this next chapter in your career.

  6. Oh wowza! What an inspiring post. I especially loved the gob-smacking photos of Hope's classroom. It sure does seem like 'the' blueprint for school all around the globe. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Emma :)

  7. Okay! So am I the only one who caught that you are heading back to the classroom?!?! So excited for you, and your trip to RCA looks absolutely amazing! It is on my bucket list for sure!


  8. I really enjoyed this post and seeing all the pictures... what a very cool place!! I just got my Heinemann catalog in the mail yesterday and I've been thinking about what to read next, but after reading this, I think I need to put Ron Clark's book on that list... it sounds really interesting. How fun to work in a place with that much energy!!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your experience Deanna, it looks like such an amazing place :)

  10. I first saw your images on Facebook about your experience at the Ron Clark Academy and went on to view the video. I must say if all schools could model after them we would have classrooms full of students with a desire to learn! They are amazing!! I even went on to see one of the videos of their staff doing a welcome to first day of school doing a stepping routine. After watching that who wouldn't want to go fun!! I agree with your learning style and I think it is great that you are going back to the classroom. Schools need more teachers that really go above and beyond to make learning fun. :)

  11. What a great post...thanks for sharing it with us! I have heard SO much negativity when I consider returning to the classroom , but I am certain I want to go back after my kiddos start school. So happy to hear you are going to be loving on some kinders next year...congrats!
    Mrs. Jones Creation Station

  12. I am overjoyed to hear you say that you're going back into the classroom. Good for you! Wow. I wish I could visit RCA. I need some revitalization! My passion is waning because of all this stupid paperwork and unrealistic pressure my district puts on us and the kiddos. I did very little teaching in Jan because I had to test. That is insane! That is a month of so many hours that I nor the kids will ever get back. I would love to visit RCA and reignite my love for teaching. God knows I am desperate for a spark!!!

  13. I could not agree with you more! You are truly blessed to visit RCA with your colleagues, and see the passion for teaching and learning that happens each day! If only every classroom across America could share this philosophy of student engagement! It is difficult to achieve but so worth the effort. You are an inspiration to many of us and I know you will love being back with YOUR kids next year!

  14. WOW!! This school looks amazing! How fun to teach there and to be a student :)



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