Bucket Filling 101

I am still new to bucket filling.  It is something that I learned through proteacher last summer.  If you are not a member to the wonderful site, filled with teachers, for teachers, and tons of ideas about teaching… then you need to go now!  Just click on the link, but would you please finish reading about bucket filling??

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?”

4 thoughts on “Bucket Filling 101

  1. Your lovely comment on my blog filled my bucket today :). Thank-you!
    Our whole school took this on last year. Each class has paper raindrops we keep in a central location for kids to fill out as they wish. All raindrops get turned into the office. Each day, completed raindrops are read over the announcements (we have a pretty small school (130 students) so this works without taking up too much time. Raindrops are then posted on a central bulletin board outside the office for everyone to see. It does take a bit to get the older kids to "buy-in" to this, but with a lot of teacher modelling, and consistently speaking the language, they do catch on … and even the "big kids" like to hear themselves recognized on the announcements.

  2. I think I just googled bucket filler images. Or buckets with hearts. I'll see if I can put it on my uploads in google docs for you 🙂 I'll get it done tonight:)

  3. Liz-
    I couldn't figure out how to post it to my PDF's 🙁 However 🙂 I did modify this post and link up to the webpage that I got the picture from. There is also more stuff on bucket filling on that website!

    Hope this helps!!1 Have a great day!

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