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Kathleen

Vernon, CT, United States | Member Since 2010

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  • 2 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 74 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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  • The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck - 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Ron Clark
    • Narrated By Ron Clark
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    A new book from the award-winning teacher and best-selling author, Ron Clark, providing rules for parents and teachers to help kids succeed in school.

    Kathleen says: "Unexpected Outcomes"
    "Unexpected Outcomes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The End of Molasses Classes to be better than the print version?

    I think there are benefits to both. This is read by the author, who is from North Carolina. Hearing his stories in his own voice, with his own expression and personality (and adorable accent) was something that I think really helped me to love this book. I will also buy a print version of this book, because there are a lot of ideas I want to bookmark to refer back to and use.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I'm not sure this question applies to this book, but there are characters in this story - Ron Clark, his teaching staff, his students, and the parents of his students. What I really like about Ron is that he pushes himself to think beyond what is typically done, and reaches a little farther to solve problems we all face. He recognizes his ideas are often impractical and outlandish, and he collaborates with his co-director and teaching staff to make an impossibility a reality. He has a knack for thinking of ideas that engage the children and make a lasting impression. Something else that was very valuable in this audio version -- the narrators are not just Ron Clark. Ron includes many parents and students perspectives in the book as he tells stories that go with each strategy. Whether the speakers were the authors of those points of view or not (knowing Ron, I bet they were the authors), hearing those stories in parent and child voices was entertaining and powerful.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved a story that Ron told about a time when he made an assumption about why a boy was acting a certain way, how he dealt with the boy, and then asked the boy if he would write about his recollection of the same event. It was captivating to see how different the boy and the teacher saw the same situation. It was great to hear how Ron resolved this, even if it was many years later. The concept of teachers making assumptions about why kids do what they do was a powerful message for me.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    You will hear A LOT about the Ron Clark Academy in this book. Accept that. If you get annoyed by that, you will not enjoy this book. I happened to come to enjoy it, thinking of the school as an ideal, something for a public school to aspire to. Visit youtube and search for the RCA and see the children and teachers doing what he talks about. It brings another level of connection to the stories. Visit the RCA webpage and you will see a lot of what he talks about in action. You can see photos of their events and what he did for the winning team this past year. The idea for me, is BE INSPIRED and do something. Anything. Just don't do nothing.

    The other big idea that has resonated with me since I finished this book a few weeks ago is that the worst thing is for students to feel like they have disappointed their teachers. We have to remember how fragile they are, even if they have a gritty exterior in whatever form it comes. It's ok to crack that exterior, and let them know if they have really messed up, but then we need to be willing to help them get past that and guide them in what they can do next. There will be a few children in our career that we cannot help, no matter what we offer, but at some point many of those kids do turn around. We may never see that turn around, but by being there and providing opportunities and tough love, we are part of a collective of support that made the difference.


    Any additional comments?

    Let's be clear. I was a Ron Clark skeptic. I read his last book and was annoyed by the overstatement of the obvious, "listen to your students." kind of advice. He laid it on thick. He was a used car salesmen and I was not buying. I really think you have to be in the right frame of mind to hear his message. It's easy for us teachers to tilt our head in annoyance when someone says they have the key to anything in education. We are tired of hearing it. There is no one way to fix any problem whether it be instructional, organizational or behavioral. If there is one thing I have learned in 7 years of teaching, it's that you are your best when you are flexible, emotionally intelligent, relaxed and completely open minded. The rest just comes. This is how you have to approach Ron's ideas. Many of them are not possible in the regular public school environment, but that doesn't mean we should dismiss it completely. I found elements of almost everything he has done that I could use now, or at some point, given some collaboration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • U Is for Undertow: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Sue Grafton
    • Narrated By Judy Kaye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1365)
    Performance
    (410)
    Story
    (409)

    It's April, 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's 38th birthday, and she's alone in her office doing paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy booze, but Michael Sutton is 27, an unemployed college dropout. Twenty-one years earlier, a four-year-old girl disappeared, and a recent reference to her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories.

    BSquared67 says: "A brilliant departure from the familiar"
    "Not twisty enough"
    Overall

    I usually enjoy the excitement of figuring out her twists just words before she reveals them. However, in this one, there just wasn't enough. The tale was too linear. But, I'm still a fan through and through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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