|While I work hard to ensure that I am providing my students with the best
academic instruction on a daily basis, I also take time to teach the students in
my classroom to be good citizens who care for and respect each other.
While the teaching of these "life skills" should certainly not fall solely on the
shoulders of us teachers, I do believe it is important to help build good
character in our students. Teachers can help students value themselves
and each other when we encourage them to be helpful, compassionate,
empathetic and unselfish classmates. In my classroom, I call these positive
students "bucket fillers." As the Bucket Fillers website explains, "Bucket
fillers are those who help without being asked, give hugs and compliments,
and generally spread their good feelings to others." Bucket filling is a
common act in our classroom and one that does not go unrecognized!
This concept is not something I came up with. According to the "Bucket
Fillers" website, "Carol McCloud first heard of the idea that a bucket
represents a person's self-concept, or mental and emotional health, at an
early childhood conference in the 1990's. It was in the 1960's that Dr.
Donald O. Clifton first created the "Dipper and Bucket" story that has now
been passed along for decades. You can learn more about the bucket filling
concept and even order the children's book Have You Filled a Bucket
Today? by visiting the Bucket Fillers web site.
|Have You Filled a Bucket Today? The short book explains to students that
ourselves. When our buckets are full, we are happy; when they are empty,
we are sad. It is important that students learn that when they fill a friend's
bucket, they also fill their own bucket because it feels good to make others
happy. At this time, we also introduce the concept of being a bucket dipper.
A bucket dipper is a person who hurts other people's feelings, essentially
dipping into their invisible bucket. Since bullying is a common problem in
schools, the concept of bucket dippers is often referred to as bullying. (Visit
the Web site above to learn more if this concept sounds confusing.)
After we read the book and discuss the idea of filling buckets, we brainstorm
a list of ways we can fill each other's buckets both in our classroom and
around our school. After making the list on chart paper, we type up the
students' ideas and create a poster that is hung above our bucket-filling
Bucket Filler Hall of Fame