Written by Ron Clark
The Essential 55 is a set of rules that includes respect, manners, and an appreciation of others. It also shows one how to enjoy life, take advantage of opportunities, and live every moment to the fullest. Although The Essential 55 rules were written for children, they can apply to anyone. Ron states that these rules or “life lessons” are about how we live, interact with others, and appreciate life, and, therefore, they speak to everyone.
These rules and guidelines cover everything from manners and good hygiene
to homework and character education, and can help children become
more successful both in and out of the classroom.
Parents: Please take a minute or so to let your child/student know that you are aware of what is being taught and please help reinforce these rules each day.
1. When responding to any adult, you must answer by saying “Yes, ma’am” or “No, sir.”
2. Make eye contact.
3. If someone in the class wins a game or does something well, we will congratulate that person.
4. During discussions, respect other students’ comments, opinions, and ideas.
5. If you win or do well at something, do not brag. If you lose, do not show anger.
6. If you are asked a question in conversation, you should ask a question in return.
7. When you cough or sneeze or burp, it is appropriate to turn your head away from others and cover your mouth.
8. Do not smack your lips, tsk, roll your eyes, or show disrespect with gestures.
9. Always say thank you when someone gives you something.
10. When you receive something, do not insult the gift or the giver.
11. Surprise others by performing random acts of kindness.
12. When grading other students’ papers, give only the correct grade.
13. Follow along when we read together in class.
14. Answer all written questions with a complete sentence.
15. Do not ask for a reward for good grades or behavior.
16. You must complete your homework every day.
17. Subject transitions will be swift, quiet and orderly.
18. Be as organized as possible.
19. When homework is assigned, do not moan or complain.
20. When a substitute teacher is present, all class rules still apply.
21. Follow the specific classroom protocols.
22. You may bring a bottle of water to class; you may not leave for a drink of water during class.
23. Know other teachers’ names and greet them in the hall by name.
24. Keep yourself and bathrooms clean and germ-free.
25. Greet visitors and make them feel welcome.
26. Do not save seats in the lunchroom.
27. Do not stare at a student who is being reprimanded.
28. Call your teacher if you have a question about homework and leave a message – once.
29. Observe the ABC’s of etiquette.
30. After dining in the cafeteria or elsewhere, be responsible for your trash.
31. In a hotel room, leave a tip for the hotel workers who clean your room.
32. On a bus, always face forward.
33. When meeting new people, shake hands and repeat their names.
34. When offered food, take only your fair share.
35. If someone drops something and you are close to it, pick it up.
36. Hold the door for people rather than letting it close on them.
37. If someone bumps into you, say “excuse me”, even if it was not your fault.
38. On a field trip, enter a public building quietly.
39. On a field trip, compliment the place you are visiting.
40. During an assembly, do not speak or call out to friends.
41. At home, answer your phone in a polite and appropriate manner.
42. When returning from a trip, shake the hand of every chaperone.
43. On escalators, stand to the right, walk to the left.
44. When standing in line, keep your arms at your sides and move quietly.
45. Never cut in line.
46. No talking in a movie theater during the movie.
47. Do not bring Doritos into the school building.
48. If anyone is bullying you, let a teacher know.
49. Stand up for what you believe in.
50. Be positive and enjoy life.
51. Live so that you will never have regrets.
52. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
53. No matter the circumstances, be honest.
54. Carpe Diem. You only live once, so don’t waste it!
55. Be the best person you can be.