Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slice of Life - Ron Clark

I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
"Who makes the most mistakes?  The people who do the most."  - Ron Clark
     On Thursday, I traveled up to Sandusky, Ohio to attend the Ohio Middle Level Association conference in order to give a presentation with my colleague, Tracy Kleis, on our social action project, #ReadWalkWater.  Tracy and I began our annual Walk for Water with our Columbia Intermediate School 6th graders in 2013 as a result of reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.  David Etkin (the first person I contacted when I finished the book) and I coined the term "ReadWalkWater for a Nerdy Book Club post in September of 2013 to outline our plans, which I later presented to Tracy and our building principal; they were on board immediately - Tracy had already planned on doing something since she had read the book previously.  This year we raised almost $15,000, and we're not done yet!  Our presentation went well, and we had a lot of interested attendees. 
     Later in the afternoon, I was surprised by the organization and my principal with a Regional Award, Best Middle Level Practice.  It was so exciting!  What a nice reception OMLA puts on for the awards presentation - complete with appetizers and drinks!  We educators don't get to enjoy those kinds of things very often, so it was very much appreciated!!  I was so proud to be a part of Kings Local Schools - our junior high was recognized as an Ohio School to Watch! Unfortunately, I couldn't stay for Friday's keynote speaker, Jack Berckemeyer, speaking on Deliberate Optimism.  He's been at our school several times, and I always enjoy listening to him.
     Those events were great, and I also enjoyed other sessions as well, especially one on Genius Hour.  In addition, the day started with a bang with Ron Clark's keynote speech.  Wow!  I've followed Ron Clark for a long time, ever since I saw him on The Oprah Show and read his book, The Essential 55.  I was thrilled when I realized I would get to see him live. 

     Seeing him in person is an exhilarating and inspiring experience.  No wonder he won Disney American Teacher of the Year!  He dances, sings, raps, jumps on tables, gestures wildly, tells stories, laughs, and ultimately, calls all of us educators to action.  He says there is a sense of urgency needed in education.  We don't need longer school days; we need to do more in the school days we have!  The above quote was my favorite.   If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing enough!!  He also calls for more money and effort spent on gifted kids, holding kids to higher standards, and putting forth more energy in teaching.  Bravo!  This is not a video from OMLA, but it is essentially the same speech he blessed us with - some of what he says might be controversial, but I think he says some things we need to think and talk about.  I'd love to know your thoughts!

And for more enjoyment and inspiration....

     I bought a copy of The Essential 55 to give to Jordan Griebner, one of Libby's friends at Miami University.  She came to our school both years to talk about the water crisis during our #ReadWalkWater units.  She is a future educator who is what Ron Clark calls "A Runner."  She's already changed the world by starting The Wells Project at Miami University, an organization of Living Water devoted to building wells and educating the world about clean water.  I also bought a newer book of his, The End of Molasses Classes.  The world needs more Ron Clarks - educators who are ON FIRE about teaching, kids, and influencing the future of our country!  Educators who have that extra "something" - that go above, beyond, and over the top!


  1. Holly,

    Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition. I enjoyed reading about your Walk for Water project. I am glad that you were able to see Ron Clark speak. It is evident that he is a dynamic speaker. I would like to watch the videos later.

  2. Congratulations, Holly - I've loved reading about this project and know how much it means to you. Clark is certainly enthusiastic, and his school seems lively. I'll have to come back and finish watching his speech.

  3. Congratulations on your reward, Holly, I'm proud of you, but not surprised from all I've seen you write these years! I saw this video of Ron Clark when you shared on FB, so inspiring. I'm certainly all for more time and money spent for gifted education. You may not know that my school is for gifted kids & part of our philosophy is that EVERY child deserves to learn something every day. Sometimes gifted kids do not experience that. Thanks for introducing me to Ron Clark.

  4. Holly, I loved the book A Long Walk to Water. In fact, I cried through most of it. I admire you for the difference you have made. And, it's awesome you were able to see Ron Clark. I forgot all about him. I'm also happy to stumble upon your blog!

  5. Hooray Holly! Isn't it fun to get energized as we meet someone that we've read about in books. Dreams do come true.

  6. Congratulations Holly! A well deserved award. I heard Ron Clark several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed his speech. He is so motivational. It sounds like you had a wonderful conference!

  7. Nice work! $15,000! Wow! Ron Clark is CR_A_ZY! I saw him years ago at a conference. Inspiring and energetic!

  8. Congrats on this fabulous honor. I've never read Long Walk to Water, but pulled it last week for 7th grade book talks. I love listening to people on fire about our profession! Isn't it amazing what good PD can do to keep us motivated?

  9. Congratulations! You are fire, like Ron Clark. You ignite learning and service with your students. This fire will spread!