Bucket Filling is a new take on the age old principle "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" or "Treat others how you want to be treated."
Bucket filling is a way of classroom management and it works!!! Especially if you start off from the get go with it. This past year, on the first day of school, I read this book to my students in our library area:
It's about this boy who has this imaginary bucket over his head - we all do- and our daily interactions determine whether we fill a person's bucket (you want to do this) or dip from a person's bucket (don't do this).
After reading the book, my class and I made a T-chart with one side being ways to be a bucket filler and the other was ways to be a bucket dipper. We then brainstormed actions, sounds, and words that we associated with both being a filler and a dipper. At the bottom of the chart I wrote, "We promise to be bucket fillers!" and each of us, including me, signed our chart. I then hung it on our door in the hall.
I wish I had made little cards, like many teachers have, but I saw 80 kids a day and didn't know where or how to organize 80 kid's buckets. But I did read it to all my students, and I posted this banner I made on vistaprint above my door to remind the kids and myself about being a filler:
If you like the image you can get it here at this website.
I am teaching 6th grade this year, and I still plan on doing the same thing as I did with my 4th graders with them. I will only have 40 kids this year and see each class for half the day. I think I am going to have a bucket per table and fill it with little pom-pom balls when they are on task, or working well together, or if just one person does something great, I'll still add pom-poms to that bucket. I want to do cards, where the kids fill out who filled their bucket and how. I was thinking of having them turned into me and I would draw one from the stack and give a free ice cream or lunch in my room for the student who wrote it and who they wrote it to. Then I was thinking of passing all the cards to the people they are written for.
Sixth grade is the beginning of an emotional whirlwind and the thing I am most concerned about is embarrassing someone. I think if I do bucket filling the way listed above, I am rewarding those who are the fillers and the students who recognize it, and I am preventing embarrassing the student who it is written about. If they want to share it, they can.
I am open to any suggestions you may have on how to make this work in the intermediate classroom. :)
And if you would like to learn more about bucket filling head over to First Grade Brain's Linky Party on bucket fillng.
So the big question you need to ask yourself everyday and with each human contact you make is "Am I filling this person' s bucket?"