The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck – 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers
Author: Ron Clark
Length: 352 pages
Intent/Focus: To provide specific ideas that will help teachers (and parents) ignite a passion for
learning in children.
What You Will Learn: 101 innovative and classroom-tested ways for improving America’s schools and leading our children to greatness.
Why We Recommend It: We admire Ron’s spirit, energy and hands-on approach, and applaud his concrete, “real-world” examples of how to achieve your goals as an educator.
Perhaps you remember educator and New York Times bestselling author Ron Clark, the subject of one of our Educator Spotlight articles last September. He has been honored as Disney’s Teacher of the Year, not to mention earning the title "Phenomenal Man" from none other than Oprah Winfrey. Not too shabby.
Ron felt a “calling” to education, and after a few years teaching in Harlem, founded his own school, the Ron Clark Academy. He wrote The End of Molasses Classes to capture “the magic, the successes, the heartbreaks, the mistakes, and the triumphs” of his experience at his Academy. The book offers 101 strategies for uplifting students and enlivening classrooms.
The title of the book was inspired by Ron’s travels throughout the U.S., seeking out remarkable, motivating teachers. During this quest, Ron also encountered classrooms that he described as: “sapped of all energy, filled with students struggling to stay awake and teachers in desperate need of inspiration.” He said these “Molasses Classes” broke his heart – and he became committed to getting America’s students “unstuck.”
Advice from the Book
In the summary on the book’s website, you’ll get a brief glimpse of the kind of advice contained within its pages:
Sample strategies for teachers:
- Love what your students love, whether it’s iCarly, Twilight, or Monday Night Football
- Bring education to life with kinesthetic learning – kids need to move
- Get a drum for the classroom and use music to excite, motivate and inspire
Sample strategies for the school and community:
- Provide examples of excellence; we have to be our best individually, but never forget that educating our children is a shared responsibility
- Recognize that the heart of the school is the teacher; hire the best and never settle
Strategy #1 in The End of Molasses Classes is simply: Be excellent.
“At RCA [the Ron Clark Academy], we believe that if we ask our students for excellence, we must require the same of ourselves… Children learn their behaviors from watching adults.”
Other top strategies presented in the book, with accompanying anecdotes and examples:
- Strategy #2: Create moments that will have an impact on children's lives forever.
- Strategy #3: Uplift the parents and guardians who raise your children.
- Strategy #4: Make learning magical.
- Strategy #5: Teach children to walk with confidence.
- Strategy #6: Create lasting traditions.
Review from Readers:
Amazon’s readers gave this book very close to a perfect 5-star rating.
“Includes end of chapter real-world-you-can-do-this-right-now implementation ideas... Super inspiring.”
“Filled with motivational learning expectations and new strategies, along with Mr. Clark's fantastic sense of humor… He discusses fearless teaching, fearless learning, which results in fearless living. I was truly inspired by the comments in the book, such as, ‘Not every child deserves a cookie,’ and ‘Teach the parents the correct way to tutor their children.’ The End of Molasses Classes is a must-have for teachers, students, principals and parents alike.”
Related Article: “Oprah’s “Phenomenal Man” – Ron Clark”
Have you read this book? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.