How We Implemented The House System Inspired by The Ron Clark Academy at Our School

How We Implemented the House System Inspired by Ron Clark and why you should too. Check out these simple steps to make your class more amazing.

Welcome!

We are so excited to be rolling out the House System, inspired by The Ron Clark Academy, to our entire school! As we posted pictures on Instagram and videos of our students participating in House activities, we were asked by many of you to share how we implemented it at our school. You asked and we are answering!

How to roll out the House System inspired by Ron Clark. Check out these simple steps to add tons of fun to your class. You won't believe how easy it is!

Before we get started…

Before we go any further, we want to make sure that you are familiar with The Ron Clark Academy. If your aren’t, you have just hit THE JACKPOT! You will never be the same! We had the pleasure of going to their two day training in Georgia and it has COMPLETELY changed the teachers that we are today. If you want to read about our Top Takeaways from our visit, check out this blog post BY CLICKING HERE. Just in case you haven’t heard of The Ron Clark Academy or the House System, we are going to share a few links with you to direct you to the right place!

The Ron Clark Academy Home Page

See what we are talking about with this RCA Experience Video!

Link to download their App (If you download their app, you will get a ton of free tools, guides and resources!)

Overview of what The House System is

Now, Let’s Get Started! Welcome to OUR House!

Why you should implement the House System inspired by Ron Clark at your school. Our students love belonging to a house! Click here and learn more about the House System.

After hearing Hope King and Wade King speak about the House System, we just knew that we had to bring this back to our school! It was exactly what our school needed… a positive school culture that focused on lifting each other up! What school doesn’t need that, right?!

Now, where to start?

This is a huge task! How were we going to roll out the House System to a staff that had never even heard of it before? Because we went to the training in December, and half of the school year was already over, we decided that we would pilot it just in our grade level. This was a great decision because we were able to work out the kinks and ease the staff into the idea along the way.

We decided to stick with the names that The Ron Clark Academy uses for their houses… if it isn’t broke, why fix it, right?! The names are Reveur (dreamers), Altruismo (givers), Isibindi (courage), and Amistad (friendship). Our grade level started by taking our class lists and assigning houses in a random pattern down the list. We believe that assigning houses should be at random. One teacher in our grade level was also assigned a house at random to “lead.” We decided to have our students discover their house at a fun get together. Each student was given an envelope. We got together and everyone opened them at the same time and their houses were revealed inside. Students were then given a t-shirt with their matching house.

House Points

 

House Scoreboard and Points Freebie. Click here and learn how change the way your students behave! You won't believe how easy and effective using House Points is!

Houses earn points for positive behaviors. Each House is a team that works together to collect points. As a grade level, we decided on what behaviors should be rewarded. Check out the FREEBIE for the behaviors that we chose. These behaviors were just a guideline. Points could be given for any reason that the teacher felt was appropriate. Points were collected on a “scoreboard” in each teacher’s classroom. At the end of the week, we submitted how many points each House earned into a Google Sheet and the points were tallied. The points were revealed at our House Meetings.

House Meetings

Our grade level chose to hold House Meetings every Friday. We did these House Meetings the last 30 minutes of the day, and it was an event we all looked forward to attending. Our House Meetings were divided into 2 15 minute blocks of time. Each House met for the first 15 minutes by themselves. During this time, students got together and created a chant/cheer/dance that they would perform for the grade level. Teacher sat back and watched. WARNING: This is hard to do!!!!!! You want to jump in and offer suggestions and give them tips. RESIST! Why? We decided to to this because students gain ownership and learn how to work together this way! Trust us! It gets better with each meeting. By the end of the year, our students ROCKED teamwork and communicating with each other. They also gained so much pride for their House!

For the last 15 minute block of time, we all gathered in one classroom and celebrated and lifted each other up in a variety of ways! Check it out below!

Learn how to engage your students through music. Students love music. Click here and learn the simple steps to add music into your class. Plus grab our FREE music lyrics!!!

Music

We always started our House Meeting with songs and music! Students love music and singing, so why not use that to our advantage? We wrote songs that were to the instrumental versions of songs that our students knew and loved. We had four that we sang at every House Meeting.

Read all about using music students love with messages you love. You will change the whole culture of your class with just a little music. Plus grab our FREE music lyrics.

Each song that we sang had a different message, whether it be teamwork, positive school vibes, or just plain fun! Students were singing these songs all day long. We also found that they made for a great brain break!

Our Little Secret…

Let’s just get this straight right now. FACT. WE CANNOT SING OR DANCE… neither of us. This idea terrified us when we went to the training. Here’s where the beauty of taking a song the kids already know comes into play. All you have to do is write new lyrics, go onto YouTube and find the instrumental version, and then have your students sing the song with your new lyrics. Type those lyrics up, put them on a projector and watch the magic happen!

Let us help you use song and dance in your classroom. Click here and read the simple steps that require no work on your part! Plus grab our FREE music lyrics.
Click here and read why music should be part of your daily routine and grab our FREEBIES.

Part of Your Routine

The key is to have students sing these songs multiple times throughout the day so that when it comes to the House Meetings, they’ve got them down!  Students usually only needed to practice each song for  few days until they had them memorized. We sang them in line walking down the hallways, in between lessons, as a reward at the end of the day, as they were packing up. etc… Break up your day and sing about loving school!

We know what you’re thinking…

Right now, you may be thinking, “Wow, I would love to do this, but do I really have to write a song?” NO! We have got you covered! Here are four songs that you can use in your class starting tomorrow… or better yet, TODAY! We have done the work, so ENJOY!
Calling all teacher who want to add music to their classrooms but don't know where to start!!!! We have just the thing for you....lyrics to 4 songs FREE just for you! Check it out!

Here are videos of the songs so you can get some ideas of what they look like!


(We didn’t get the “Juju on that Beat” song in a stand alone video, but if you watch our assembly performance below, you can see that one too! )

Want to add music to your class but you don't want to write the songs? We've done the work for you. We've taken popular songs and tweaked them to work in the class. Grab them by clicking here.

Rewards

The other way that we lifted each other up in our House Meetings were through rewards, or maybe a better word would be recognition. In each House Meeting, we awarded one students from each House with a certificate. We gave a little speech, such as, “This young lady is getting an award today because she went above and beyond on her book report this week.” The reason can be for ANY positive behavior. The student came up and then earned the opportunity to spin the wheel (that we purchased on Amazon) for bonus points for their House. ALL students cheered EVERY student on!

Read about student recognition at House Meetings and how this will change your classroom culture. You won't believe how easy House Meetings are to implement. Click here and find out how.

Want these certificates for FREE? Click below!

 Click here and grab our House Certificates Freebies and read about how to implement the House System inspired by Ron Clark.

The Results:

Read about how the House System changed our school and how you can experience the same thing with a few simple steps.

At the end of the year, we unveiled what we were doing to the rest of our staff. Most of them already knew about it because they had seen the effects. The school was buzzing with excitement! Our grade level held an assembly where we performed our House Meeting so that everyone could see what it was all about. The students sang, cheered, gave awards, and smiled. We had students explain what a House was in their own words. Here is what they said:

“A House, to me, is a group of students that earn points for positive behaviors.” -Amistad

“A House, to me, is a way to have fun and be silly.” -Isibindi

“A House, to me, is a way to connect with students that are in my grade, but not in my class.” -Reveur

“A House, to me, is a group of students who cheer me on and make me feel special.” -Altruismo

AMAZING, RIGHT????!!!!!

We also asked them why they liked the House System. Here’s what they had to say:

“I like being in a House because we get to make up cheers, sing and even scream and yell!” -Reveur

“I like being in a House because it makes school a fun place to be.” -Altruismo

“I like being in a House because we get to make up songs, sing and dance.” -Isibindi

“I like being in a House because we get to see friends we don’t normally get to see very often.” -Amistad

We think it is safe to say that they enjoyed the House System! The students and teachers were PUMPED and ready to dive in to implementing the House System the following year!

CHECK OUT OUR ASSEMBLY HERE!

What We Saw that We Never Saw Before…

Before we wrap up this blog post, we have to tell you what we saw in our classrooms that we had NEVER seen before. We have both been teaching fourth grade for quite some time now. We had always thought that our classroom had a positive environment. Here’s what we discovered. Our classrooms had always had a positive environment that was dependent upon US. We were the ones that “made” students behave. We were the ones that told students to use kind words. After using the House System, the shift was that the STUDENTS were the ones in charge now. Scary for a teacher, right? Not really. It is amazing. Students were now cheering each other on without the push or “the look” from the teacher. Students were now using kind words on their own. The House System is STUDENT led. Talk about a powerful tool!

Read how to implement the House System inspired by Ron Clark and experience the joy students have by creating a postive school culture. It is truly life changing.Click here and learn how you can do the same for your school.

You might be asking, “What did the House get for having the most points at the end of the year?” Well, we don’t have an answer for you! We did not give a reward! You heard that right! We did NOT give an award! They never even asked! Not one student (out of 101) ever asked what they got for earning points. The positive experience, the feel good moments and the pride of having your House on top was enough.

Is your teacher heart happy? Ours is.

And our students’ hearts are happy too!

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    Andrea
    July 4, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    My school is super tiny. At the academy, do they have their teams in multiage teams, or is it just single grades?

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      July 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Andrea,

      At the Ron Clark Academy, they are multiaged(5th-8th grade). The size of your school doesn’t matter, it is about culture and fun!

  • Reply
    Tara
    July 5, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Do all grades participate now or 3-5? Curious about the k-1 students.

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      July 9, 2017 at 3:37 am

      Yes, we are rolling out the House System for the entire school… grades TK-5!

  • Reply
    Britney Holbrook
    July 10, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Hi! I am wondering who you used for your shirts! We are implementing the House System in the fall and that seems to be the final step 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenny
    July 26, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Do they wear their t-shirts everyday so that you can keep track of which house each student is in? What do you do if they do not wear their t-shirt?

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      July 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Hello, Jenny! No, they do not need to wear their shirts every day. We actually like it better not knowing which house they are in because we feel like the points are distributed more fairly that way. We simply tell them to add a point to their house or we just ask them when they earn a point. We have our students wear their shirts every Friday for our House Meetings. Hope this helps!

      • Reply
        Jenny
        August 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

        That makes sense! Could you tell me how points are tracked daily/weekly between rewards? Who keeps up with them and how? Thanks for your response. I’m looking forward to getting this started.

        • Reply
          therigorousowl
          August 13, 2017 at 4:22 pm

          Hello, Jenny! When we did this in just our grade level (3 classes), we just created a Google Doc and entered the points for each house from each class once a week. Now that we are doing this school wide (3-4 classes per grade level), we are having the grade levels submit their points to the grade level lead and my Student Council kids will come around and collect each grade level’s points once a week. I will then tally them and announce the House rankings. Each class collects the House Points in their room. I will add a FREEBIE that I think you will like to our Growing Resource Library. The FREEBIE is a chart that you can put in a frame. You can use it as a dry erase board and just use a dry erase marker to collect your points. Hope that helps! If you have any more questions, just ask! We are so excited you are trying it out! It is seriously the BEST!

          • Jenny
            August 13, 2017 at 11:56 pm

            Thanks so much for all your help.

  • Reply
    Sarah Strittmatter
    August 2, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you SO much for sharing this information! I would LOVE to go to the Ron Clark academy to visit, but I’m going to do all that I can NOW! I teach 8th grade science, and I’m going to try to implement the house system with my students this year.
    One of my specific focuses for this year is building class (period) unity. For this year, do you think that I could have a different house for each of my 6 class periods? Or do you feel that it is essential to have the 4 houses dispersed throughout the grade across classes?

    I can’t WAIT to try this! I hope I can do it justice! 🙂 Thank you again!

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      August 4, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      We have only seen it spread across, so that is what we would recommend! Good luck and have fun!

  • Reply
    Monica
    August 24, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Hello, I am excited to have the students work on their House Song.
    We will have friendship-love/kindness/ good behavior. Creativity and Energy.
    We need more peace and love .

  • Reply
    Sammie Cervantez
    January 11, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    We are looking to move schoolwide next year with this idea. We are a TK-6th grade school with about 430 kiddos. I only have about 17 teachers. Are there suggestions/recommendations as to how “big” each house should be and how many team members (staff) should be on each team? This logistical piece really has me stumped. Thanks for any guidance!

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      January 12, 2018 at 4:43 am

      We would suggest just evening out the Houses… We just took each class list and chose a random pattern. Blue, green, red, black, blue, green, red… Then we make a list of the staff and did the same. Don’t forget secretaries, playground help, cafeteria workers, janitors, etc… Everyone is part of the team! It’s the best ever!

  • Reply
    Jessica Bravo
    February 19, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Hi,

    What a great idea! How did you get funding for the shirts? Did you get a company to donate, raise money, or ask parents to pay for them? This is something I would love to do at my campus, but not sure how we would get the shirts.

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      February 19, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Hello! The first year that we implemented the House System, we only did it with our grade level. We simply asked the parents for $7 to cover the cost. The second year, we asked our administrator to provide them for the entire school, so she wrote it into our budget.

  • Reply
    Dawn Nelson
    May 12, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    I would love to start this in the fall with 4th grade. Since we have three classes do we then only form 3 HOUSES?

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      May 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Yeah! We love hearing you are ready to try the House System! As a 4th grade, we only have 3 classes also, but still decided to use the 4 Houses. We asked our counselor to be the lead for the 4th House. Just to clarify, each class isn’t a House. You divide each class into the Houses so that it’s not “Mrs. ___’s class” v. another class. You want the family vibe going on and to encourage positive behaviors in all students across your grade level. Hopefully this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

  • Reply
    Sheldon Jordan
    May 23, 2018 at 3:14 am

    Where did you all get the t-shirts from???

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      May 26, 2018 at 2:49 am

      We designed the shirts and gave it to a guy that we get our school spirit shirts through and he printed them!

  • Reply
    Anna Brown
    May 25, 2018 at 3:57 am

    I absolutely love this idea! I am in charge of researching the house system and looking into it for our school. Could you share some more information with me.

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      May 26, 2018 at 2:24 am

      Sure! What would you like to know?

  • Reply
    Shawnda
    May 30, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    I would like to read about your experience this year, rolling it out to all grade levels. We are wanting to start, but not sure where to start. We don’t have a lunch time we can share for House Meetings, so I’m lost on how to have a house meeting at our school in a space large enough to practice the songs and such. How did assemblies go? Did all the teachers keep up with points? What do you plan to do differently? I want to know the ins and outs of this program in elementary school not just 1 grade level. Thank you!

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      June 15, 2018 at 2:53 am

      I plan on doing a follow up blog post this summer. Here are some answers to your questions…
      1) Our entire school reserves the half hour before dismissal on Fridays to House Meetings. Each grade level hosts their own meetings. We do have one school-wide House Rally 15 min before the start of school on Friday mornings. We all agree to make this a priority.
      2) Assemblies, at our school, are not House related.
      3) Yes, all teacher kept up with points. The grade level lead collected the points for their grade level every Thurs and submitted them to us to tally. Rankings were communicated to the school during the House Rallies on Friday mornings.
      4) We plan on hosting more school wide events and lunches next year. Increasing the amount of activities.
      Hope this helps!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Liz
    June 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    I signed up for your email and am receiving them, but never got an email with the freebies password. I would love the song lyrics!

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      June 15, 2018 at 2:48 am

      The password is in the first email

  • Reply
    Julie
    June 8, 2018 at 1:31 am

    We are very interested in trying this but I have some questions – 1) Do you feel it’s necessary to send some teachers to the RCA to implement this? 2) I am in a school that is grades 5-8 and we’d like to do this with grade 5. However, we have 14 classes with 30 students each. Would you still recommend 4 teams or a team per teacher?

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      June 15, 2018 at 2:46 am

      1) I would always recommend a visit! It is life-changing! I definitely think it would help with the vision.
      2) 4 Houses… just divide up into 1/4
      3) The wheel is at RCA… The wheel in my room has bonus house points that they spin for if they receive the award for the week

  • Reply
    Julie
    June 8, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Also, what is on your wheel? Can you tell me what all the categories are for?

  • Reply
    Melissa
    June 8, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Hi there! Does your school counselor have a role in your house system? We are going to implement a house system at my site next school year and I am looking for ways as a school counselor I can help and be a part.

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      June 9, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Yes, she does! Our grade level only has 3 classes, so she is in charge of the 4th! She also helps out with our weekly House Rally.

  • Reply
    Tamika Johnson
    June 11, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Hello, this idea sounds great! Just for clarification if wanting to implement school wide would the houses be split per grade level? Or would the house have multi grade levels in the house?

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      June 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks! We love it! The House would have multi grade levels in the House. 1/4 of each grade in each House.

  • Reply
    Robyn
    June 26, 2018 at 3:56 am

    What are some specific examples that you would give points for?

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      June 26, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      Hello! We give points for any positive behavior. It could be an act of kindness, kind words, proficient tests, a display of our essential behavior of the week, or anything that deserves recognition. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Buycialis
    June 28, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Therigorousowl, thanks so much for the post.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  • Reply
    Samantha
    July 3, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Hi! We are implementing a PBIS this year, how would you suggest connecting the house system? I am at a middle school with about 700 students!

    • Reply
      therigorousowl
      July 6, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      We are a PBIS school with about 600 students. The House System is PBIS! Rewarding positive behaviors instead of focusing on negative behaviors is what it’s all about!

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