News Spreads About Bucket Fillers

Back in August I blogged about the Bucket Fillers project my second grader was involved in last year. Part of what had me so excited was that the entire second grade was planning on implementing the project for this academic year. But it got even better than just spreading in the one school. I shared it with some first grade teachers I was working with at Ravine Drive Elementary School in Matawan, NJ and they and their principal decided to implement Bucket Filling school wide.

Tuesday was my first visit there since I originally showed them our Animoto back in September. Here’s what I saw:

Bucket Fillers in the Classroom
Bucket Fillers by the Doors
Bucket Filler Suggestions
Bucket Fillers for the Administration and Office Staff
Bucket Fillers for Everyone - Even the Custodian

The teachers I spoke with at Ravine Drive Elementary School said that Bucket Filling was going very well. The students, grades K-3, were learning how to treat others nicely and fairly. The Principal even told me that being a Bucket Dipper was considered a major offense by students. Hat tip to Debra Skaar at Evergreen Elementary School for bringing this program to schools in the area.

A Non-Techie Resource: Bucket Fillers

If you Google “Bucket Fillers”, as I did when my 2nd grader came home talking about it last fall, the first link that you will most likely click on will be theĀ  Bucket Fillers 101 site. It was here that I first read about the book by Carol McCloud and learned that this was about spreading love and good feelings towards others. For my daughter, at first, it was also about boosting her self esteem. She was coming home with little slips of paper (from her bucket) that said she was a good reader, that someone liked her shirt, that she had a nice smile. This did amazing things for her social well being as she was the new kid in her class and feeling very shy.

I asked Emma’s teacher if we could work on a project together documenting how the students used the buckets. The students would write the script for an Animoto, I would take the pictures, but they would creatively design poses that didn’t include any faces as we wanted to be able to share the video on YouTube.

This did amazing things for her social well being as she was the new kid in her class and feeling very shy.

In the meantime, I came to find that Bucket Filling was not such a unique concept. I heard Lisa Parisi and Maria Knee talking about it on Conversations. I saw that Scholastic had a post about it. I even found that countless educators had posted their lessons plans and resources using buckets in their classrooms.

So Mrs. Skaar from Evergreen Elementary School in Scotch Plains and I forged ahead. We set aside two blocks of time that I would work in the classroom with the students. She work ahead of time with them writing the script and then her student teacher and I helped them type everything into the computer. (They only had one computer in the classroom, so between my laptop and that one, we typed as fast as we could.)

You might ask why all of this?

I wanted to make sure that my daughter always remembered the lessons she learned in Mrs. Skaar’s class about being a Bucket Filler and not a Bucket Dipper. I saw the impact that it had on her and I wanted to create the video with the students so that they could look back and remember how it felt to read the little slips of paper. I also wanted them to share the experience with their families, so Mrs. Skaar sent the link to the Animoto to all the parents after we were finished.

Lastly, I encouraged Mrs. Skaar to share the project with her peers and I hoped that the video would encourage other teachers in the district to adopt Bucket Filling, or something similar, in their classrooms. Many of the students in the class expressed an interest in continuing with the program the next year, and I certainly could imagine both my children benefiting from boosts in self esteem and lessons in non-bullying behavior. Please watch their video and consider looking into their program if you don’t already do something similar with your students.