The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers

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New York Times bestselling author and educator Ron Clark challenges parents, teachers, and communities everywhere embrace a difference in the classroom and uplift, educate, and empower our children.

Read this book to find out why so many across the country have embraced these powerful rules.

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The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers

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New York Times bestselling author and educator Ron Clark challenges parents, teachers, and communities everywhere embrace a difference in the classroom and uplift, educate, and empower our children.

Read this book to find out why so many across the country have embraced these powerful rules.

· Set the electric tone on day one
· Teach your children how to study—don’t expect it to come naturally
· Don’t constantly stress about test scores
· Not every child deserves a cookie
· Lift up your teachers. No, really, lift them up!
· If kids like you all the time, you’re doing something wrong
· Don’t be a penny parent

Be different. Be bold. Join in.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

America's infrastructure isn't just highways and piping systems; it is also the young people who will be our future. Author and American Teacher of the Year Ron Clark (The Essential 55) has made it his mission to make classrooms places of lively interaction and learning. Like his Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, his new book is designed to teach parents and teachers how to teach better and how to empower students for the real world. With its 101 successful strategies, The End of Molasses Classes provides abundant remedies for lackluster classes and flagging motivation. One of the summer's most inspiring reads.

Publishers Weekly
Clark, founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, award-winning teacher and author (The Essential 55), interweaves the history of his school with advice for teachers and parents; the text is rife with heart-warming anecdotes and inspiring ideas. The author explains how he used funds from his first book to turn an abandoned factory into a school for fifth through eighth graders that hosts 3,000 teachers annually for training programs.. Rewards are given only to the deserving (to wit, "Not every child deserves a cookie" is the opening core principle). Kids must "earn" their school jackets, and not every child receives his or hers at the same time. Some, Clark admits, may say the practice is "cruel" or damaging to self-esteem, but he offers proven results, with test scores rising and children who love learning. "The End of Molasses Classes," the author explains, is a call to make education fun, interesting, and anything but "slow." Clark installs a slide in the lobby, jumps up on desks while teaching, encourages kids to sing and chant in class as they learn their lessons, and urges teachers to take a personal interest in each student. Clark's ode to his academy is overloaded with glowing testimonials, but educators and parents will find much to emulate in this passionate, motivating tool book. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451639742
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Pages: 322
  • Sales rank: 80,162
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron Clark
Ron Clark is widely known as “America’s Educator” and was Oprah Winfrey’s first pick as her “Phenomenal Man.” He is a New York Times bestselling author and has been featured on the Today show, CNN, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more, please visit
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Table of Contents

Introduction xvii

Part I RCA's Core Principles and Values 1

1 Teach children to believe in themselves and don't destroy the dream. 3

2 Not every child deserves a cookie. 7

3 Define your expectations and then raise the bar; the more you expect, the better the results will be. 11

4 Uplift other adults who play a role in the lives of our children. 20

5 Listen. 25

6 Give all that you have to your children even though you will often receive nothing in return. 29

7 Get to know your students in nonacademic settings. 34

8 Be selfless with your contributions to the team. 39

9 Make it happen. Don't give excuses; find solutions! 43

10 Be excellent! 46

11 Create moments that will have a lasting impact on children's lives. 52

12 Set the tone for a love of learning. 58

13 Treat every child as if he or she were your own. 61

14 Push yourself to be innovative beyond your imagination. 63

15 Know the name of every teacher, student, parent, administrator, and board member. 68

16 Use music to excite, motivate, and inspire. 71

17 Know your students. 76

18 Don't let opportunities pass you by, even if the time, funding, and circumstances aren't completely right. 80

19 Make learning magical. 84

20 Teach children that the good you do in the world comes back to you. 91

21 Teach children to embrace their personalities and present themselves with confidence in all situations. 95

22 Live with no fear. 100

23 Love what your students love, whether it's iCarly, Twilight, or the NFL. 107

24 Create lasting traditions. 110

Part II The Role of the Parent in the Success of the Child 115

25 Be prepared for the long haul if you want your child to succeed. 117

26 Don't be a helicopter parent. You can't come to their rescue forever. 121

27 Realize the power of gratitude and appreciation. 127

28 Remind children of their blessings and stress the value of a strong work ethic. 131

29 Nip it in the bud; small issues can grow into big problems. 136

30 Don't get your kid a video game system unless you are ready to be a prison guard. 140

31 Show them how to study; don't expect it to come naturally. 143

32 Realize that even very good children will sometimes lie. 147

33 Be patient. 150

34 See the potential in every child. 153

35 Punctuate the power of words. 156

36 Don't be a Penny Parent. 157

Part III Creating the Right Climate and Culture 161

37 Welcome students and families to your school in style! Roll out the red carpet-literally! 163

38 Believe that every child can learn, regardless of ethnicity, learning disabilities, emotional or behavior problems, or the economic situation of the family. 168

39 Open your doors to the parents. 172

40 Dress the part; attire matters! 173

41 Make the most of every moment! There should be an urgency in education! 176

42 Can the intercom. 178

43 Please don't interrupt a teacher's lesson to deliver a note, ask a question, or disturb the class. 178

44 Avoid sitting down while students are in the room. 179

45 Do not use cell phones or computers while the students are in the room, unless the device is part of the lesson being taught. 180

46 Make homework for home, not school. 181

47 Make sure you do your homework, too! 182

48 Begin each class on fire! 183

49 Increase teacher quality instead of reducing class size. 184

50 Set an electric tone on Day One. 185

51 Don't constantly stress about test scores. We have to stop sending the message to our students that the purpose of learning is to take a test. 194

52 Open up your home to your students. 196

53 Stay connected; have parents on speed dial. 199

54 Give children a chance to respond and don't give up so quickly. 200

55 Realize that kids need to move! Bring education to life with kinesthetic learning. 204

56 Use chants to create a supportive, encouraging, exciting environment! 206

57 Get on the desk! ' 209

58 Resolve to find your own Red Button. 214

59 Celebrate the beauty of their ancestries. 215

60 Show them examples of excellence. 217

61 Set the bar high for parents, too! 218

62 Use an Amazing Race to bring learning to life! 219

63 Love your eighth graders. 222

64 Don't give children second chances on tests and projects. 225

65 Encourage children to cheer for one another. 227

66 Paint the walls with positive memories. (If their faces are on the walls, they are less likely to pee on them!) 231

67 Never read a speech. 233

68 Make eye contact with your classroom or audience. 237

69 Move around the room throughout the lesson and never remain in the same place. 238

70 Teach the students, not the board. 239

71 Exhibit the same energy you expect from your audience. 239

72 Smile. 240

73 Never allow students to begin a statement with "Umm," "Well," or "Me and." 241

74 Fake it to make it. 243

75 Use a djembe drum. Every classroom in the world needs one. 244

76 Don't put the blame on students unfairly. 246

77 Lift up your teachers. No, really, lift them up. 248

78 Have fun. 249

Part IV Reaching Out Beyond the Classroom 253

79 Teach parents the correct way to tutor their children. 255

80 Build strong bonds with parents. 257

81 Ask the hard questions-"What do you want this school to be?" 260

82 Join parents, teachers, and community members together to create "theme days" for the school. 264

83 Accept the fact that if kids like you all the time, then you're doing something wrong. 267

84 Recognize that the heart of the school is the teacher. Hire the best and never settle. 269

85 Always observe a teacher applicant teaching a lesson before offering him or her a job. 271

86 Teach children the history and symbolism of their home and school. 275

87 Remember that children are literal thinkers and, as adults, we really have to spell out what we mean. 277

88 Remember that the little things can make all the difference. 280

89 Provide lessons in life that will become lessons for life. 284

90 Uplift the students who have the furthest to go. 285

91 Allow teachers the freedom to make their rooms reflect their personalities-allow them to use color! 287

92 Let the students shine. 291

93 Leave the jealousy at the door. 294

94 Realize that you never truly know all that is going on in the life of a child. 296

95 Raise our children to be global citizens. 297

96 Recognize the big cost of big dreams. 301

97 Reach out to the community to build a powerful network. 305

98 Once you have donors, work hard to keep them! 307

99 Send fhank-you letters that are hand-drawn, colorful, and grammatically correct. 312

100 If you need advice, ask for money. If you need money, ask for advice. 313

101 Make your good-byes mean something. 314

What's Next? The New Dream 318

Acknowledgments 321

Ron Clark Academy Educator Training 323

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 47 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2011

    This book is a MUST READ. Everyone should be exposed to what they are doing at The Ron Clark Academy

    Simply turn on the news, listen to the radio, take a step into a classroom and it will be evident that America's education system is at the peak of a crisis; we stand on the brink of disaster. At the precipice, what better time for a book like this to inspire positive change in education. As a student, parent, and educator I have seen teachers in action from different angles and the term "molasses" is perfect to describe the majority of classroom situations I have observed. But educators don't sign up for the job with a goal of being an ineffective educator. They get stuck, some have given up hope in finding that technique or motivation to help get them back in gear.this book is it! I laughed, I cried, I was inspired, and above all else it was a call to action for me. Every parent, teacher, administrator, or person who cares about children and the future of America should read this book. Everyone should be exposed to what they are doing at The Ron Clark Academy. Their approach is effective with proven results! After reading this book I know for every birthday, christmas, and teachers appreciation anyone will be getting this book! Hopefully it will reach our government leaders and they will take notice to what Ron Clark is doing. If he had a hand in our countries education reform there would be no stopping America!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    This book is an inspiration and a testament to how our education system should be. I just bought several books to send to parents that I know that are having a hard time getting their kids "UNSTUCK". The methods mentioned in this book are techniques that parents and teachers around the world can benefit from. My favorite tip is #31 "Show them how to study; don't expect it to come naturally". I have tutored many kids in my day and have seen first hand why this tip is so beneficial. I also adore the concept of teaching life lessons, manners, and respect in our education. Thank you so much for this life-changing tool.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2011

    Fearless, fiery pageturner

    I purchased Ron Clark's first book back in 2003 when I was still a wet-behind-the-ears educator, and, like so many others, I loved it for reminding us to model common sense and courtesy. Flashforward eight years, and I started reading Mr. Clark's newest book with expectations of learning some new motivational strategies as well as having a few laughs because of Mr. Clark's charming turn of a phrase. What quickly grabbed me, though, was the call for revolution, almost more manifesto than handbook at times (I'm telling y'all, if this book doesn't light your fire, then your wood is wet!). He speaks to us all -- teachers, parents, and the community -- about 101 ways we can make education extraordinary. It includes ample concrete examples of fearless teaching, fearless learning, and, therefore, fearless living. There are so many "Amen!" moments when I nodded my head in whole-hearted agreement (for example, "Not every child deserves a cookie"), and other moments that are "Aha!" in discovery (such as "Teach the parents the correct way to tutor their children"). What profoundly affected me, though, were the "" moments that convicted me of my own shortcomings as a teacher (and now as a parent). I had wet eyes as I read about Kenneth, Clark's former student/current colleague. I got chill bumps as he described "accidentlally" meeting Nelson Mandela. I felt such sadness as he also described the "big cost of big dreams." Although Clark and his staff have made so many personal sacrifices, that sadness is overcome by the awe his school creates for its students and community. Really, it is more of a ministry than just a school, an example of radical obedience to one's beliefs and stepping out on faith. The End of Molasses Classes is a must-have that all principals should plan to study and discuss with staff before school starts this fall. It is meatier than Clark's previous books: The others were a mild invitation to come down to the front at the end of service compared to Molasses, which is a big-tent revival that will change lives. To summarize how this book made me feel, I'm going to borrow a line from the book: "It's like hearing your favorite artist while you sit on the front row. It just reaches your core."

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2011

    Ron Clark has a REMARKABLE take on education! Buy this one!

    Ron Clark's narrative voice is lively and realistic! His words touch the heart. I howled with laughter, shed tears of joy and was immensely proud (and a bit jealous) of the atmosphere that the kids at the Ron Clark Academy have. All students should have this type of education and with a book like this, all students can. Every parent, teacher, principal, businessperson, adminstrator should READ THIS BOOK! It is a shining example of passion, high expectations and real results! Watch out for the kids from this school. They are ready!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    So excited about this book - This is a Godsend.

    A truly remarkable and inspirational piece on the balance between parenting and education. As a professional that has worked with kids, I definitely found this book useful in being able to get positive results from these kids. I loved the clear and concise examples provided in the book. These truly helped internalize the strategic approach to education and teaching kids.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011


    This summer, I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Clark speak at the 2011 NC Teaching Fellow Senior Conference. At the conference, he gave out a select number of copies of this book to some fellows. (He is always willing to give to others to help teachers be better teachers). I was fortunate enough to get a copy.

    This book is a must have for teachers and parents. Mr. Clark is full of fresh and exciting ideas to engage students and instill in them a love of learning. He shows with his test scores that his somewhat non traditional methods work wonders with his kids. He doesn't take excuses and thinks that we should expect the best from our kids, which we should.

    Mr. Clark is an amazing teacher who can all learn something from. This book is great for teachers looking for new ideas, for parents struggling with helping their child in school, and even for new teachers looking for how to set up their classroom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2011

    Asbolutely a great book.....

    Any educator or parent that doesn't read this book is really missing a blessing. It makes you want to start back to school NOW...Once I started reading I couldn't stop!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Must Read for Parents and Teachers

    This is the best book yet from Ron Clark.

    It has 101 excelent ideas and suggestions for parents and teachers to keep students engaged and excited about the educational process. This is a must read for parents and students in Oklahoma as well as the rest of the country. I am reading it a second time, now, using my highlighter and pen.

    Chapter two is a favorite for me. Chapter 89 and 91 are required reading, too. Buy two copies and give one to your favorite teacher or a new teacher.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    Another great book about education. It’s important to be i

    Another great book about education. It’s important to be innovative in your teaching method and really care about your students.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012



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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Some good points

    This book had some good points in it and was a worthwhile read. It got a little bit too much too much on their perfect school after awhile, but I picked up some very good tips and if you can come away with that, to me it is a good endeavor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Great book!

    I actually had the priviledge of going to the Ron Clark Academy today for training and I have to say...this man lives and breathes what he talks about in the book! If you are a teacher, this is an essential read!

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    You can do it!

    In a time in which all you hear is bad news: war, down economy, and failing students, The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark is a glimmer of hope.

    This accidental teacher found his calling through a series of unfortunate circumstances but Ron Clark has become a bolt of lightning that is re-energizing a sacred calling- teaching.

    In The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark, the author takes you on a journey of his dream, the Ron Clark Academy, where he takes ordinary students and makes them extraordinary. How does he do this? Well you will learn in The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.

    With 101 lessons for teachers, parents, and students, Clark spells out the best practices that will empower the next generation of leaders. Not completely self serving, this book reaffirms the old adage that it does take a village to raise a child. Children are living messengers to a world we will never see.

    A quick and fun read The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark will have you ready to jump up on your desk and yell that "we are not going to take mediocrity anymore" and yes, we can all make a difference in a child's life.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2011

    The Best Educational Book Ever

    Yes, Ron Clark has written 2 good books before, but this one is in a league of it's own. This book had chapter after chapter of incredible ideas. Each idea was thoroughly explained and illustrated with real examples used in his classrooms. If everyone in education read this book, the education problem would get a lot smaller. Ron doesn't just talk abou high expectations, he brings you right into the classroom and shows you a level of teaching that leaves a person speechless. Amazing! Amazing! Amazing! I'd give this book 6 stars if I could. Every teacher, principal, superintendent, and political leader should read this book.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    What a book, what a school, what a man!

    Ron Clark never let's me down. Hopeful, ebullient, and inspiring... A no-excuse, change education for the better approach, with motivating reminders and anecdotes at every corner. I have visited The Ron Clark Academy, and can personally vouch for the mindset of the students and the culture of the school that he so passionately espouses for on these pages. I would recommend ALL of his books, but especially this one, as it goes more into the teaching and personal TEACHER mindset than I felt Essential 55 or Excellent 11 do--and, therefore, had the greatest impact on me. What a book, what a school, what a man!

    (Also, I HIGHLY recommend getting yourself a desk copy of the hardback (for inspiration as it sits there, looking enthusiastic, and for reference), AND the audio download version. Hearing Ron read his books is like nothing else, and I am a little embarrassed to say that this frugal English teacher owns a hardback and digital audiobook copy of each of his three teaching books. It is WORTH every penny!) ;)

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Truth and inspiration in every captivating page

    No excuses, read for solutions! Dry off that wet kindling and light your fire! The only reason why you would put this book down is because it IS on fire!

    Those who care TEACH! And those who care about teaching will read this book! It is a must-have manual for every educator that refuses to settle for average results and strives to keep raising the bar.

    Ron Clark and his academy dance the "obmil" on a daily basis. The bar keeps being raised and raised, never lowered. No matter what new challenges educators face from year to year, the Ron Clark Academy keeps inspiring all types of students to become passionate life-long learners. I worry that some schools and educators fear failure and under so many pressures to meet the needs of so many diverse learners, end up doing the limbo in their schools...but not at the Ron Clark Academy. If we set better goals, we will get better results. His honesty on how to achieve this is OH SO REFRESHING!

    Thanks for keeping it real (and real funny), Ron! Keep on dancing the obmil and inspiring others to do the same! Shout-out to NC Teaching Fellows - light your fire and go out and inspire!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    I love the stories and the advice. A true to life example of ways to help out both in the classroom and at home. This book has lots of laughs and giggles with the true stories that are told. Thanks Ron! Another wonderful book!

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    Must-read for teachers and parents!

    This book is a must-read for educators, parents, and anyone interested in transforming today's youth into tomorrow's leaders. Not only do you learn the fascinating backstory of the Ron Clark Academy, you get to know several of his memorable students by name - indeed, the real-life examples of these children's work at school, lives at homes, and triumphs over immense challenges make for an inspiring, page-turning read.

    Besides that, Clark also offers specific, realistic advice for teachers and families on how to encourage students, and to reach into the larger community to create a real culture of support and love of learning.

    As an etiquette consultant who frequently visits the RCA to work directly with students, we have seen Clark's enthusiasm and dedication first-hand, and the book's tone perfectly captures his approach and philosophy.

    By the time you finish "The End of Molasses Classes," one reaction will likely stand above the rest: you'll really wish that you could be a student at the Ron Clark Academy, no matter how old you are.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    An A+ book written by an A+ man!

    I can remember reading Mr. Clark's first book, The Essential 55, for one of my college courses. From the moment I started reading it, I knew this phenomenal individual was going to mold my teaching style. I have been lucky to have visited the RCA many times and each time I am flooded with ideas that I want to incorporate in my own classroom and school. After a few weeks, all of my ideas seem to blur together, and I forget the key points to some of his strategies. This book helped me remember so many techniques and how to go about getting my students and parents motivated about education! This book is a wonderful back to school read for parents and educators. Upon finishing this book, you will feel empowered and ready to take on any obstacle! I laughed, cried, and reflected on my own teaching and my time spent at the RCA while reading this book. So many of his stories will uplift you and help you realize that we as teachers MUST change education! If we want our students to succeed, then we must step up to the plate and do our part to challenge, excite, and support these future all stars! I challenge everyone to not only read this book but to share it with parents and colleagues! If we each pour our hearts into our schools and dedicate ourselves to changing America's Educational System, there is no stopping us and our students! The sky is the limit!!!!! "May the force be with you!"

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    Highly Recommened - an absolute must read!

    Mr. Clark's book is an absolute great tool for parents, teachers and others to use to help children be successful in today's learning environment. The book shares so many helpful hints and practical strategies that can be used to keep our children excited about learning and motivated to be their best! In addition, the book is inspiring and funny! I just could not put it down! I have two school-aged children and I am lookng forward to putting into practice these solutions!

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