One of my favourite things to do is to build a sense of a "classroom family" within my classroom. I absolutely LOVE the book "How Full Is Your Bucket?" -- I discovered it a couple of years ago. This is in no way a sponsored post, if you're wondering, I'm just seriously passing along something I really enjoy using in my classroom.
I read "How Full Is Your Bucket?" to my class early in the school year, within the first two weeks. We discuss the concepts found in the book - that we all have this invisible bucket, and we are either bucket fillers or bucket dippers. We fill other peoples buckets in various ways (my class and I brainstorm how to fill a bucket), and we empty (or dip) into each other's buckets when we are disrespectful or unkind. The kids REALLY get this concept. Many teachers in our school are beginning to use this book, and even the kindergarten aged children are understanding much more about being nice and being a good friend through this idea. It's very powerful!
The next thing I do with my class is introduce them to the idea of leaving appreciation statements for one another. I have a large bucket outline drawn on chart paper, and the kids fill out these small rectangular pieces of paper that have a template on them for sharing what you appreciate a peer for. So they say: "I appreciate _________ because _____________ . From: ____________". The kids fill in the blanks (obviously the blanks are bigger). They leave the statements in my mailbox, and I put a sticker on them and then tape them to the large bucket outline, just outside our classroom door (because they like to appreciate kids from other classes sometimes too).
At the end of the month, I'm taking down the appreciations and creating a Wordle out of them. I'm then able to post these Wordles on our classroom wall for the whole school year, and we can have fun tracking the main reasons we have appreciated others -- which leads to great discussions about even more ways we can do nice things and show respect and friendship. This is my first year doing the Wordle, but our first one from September and October appreciations is amazing, so I think this will be a powerful add on to the appreciation statements. The kids get to take home the appreciations that were written to them.
|Our September/October appreciation Wordle|
It feels good to fill a bucket, as much as it feels good when someone else fills yours. That's another concept in the book - by filling others' buckets, we fill our own too. My students this year are REALLY getting that idea, and I just love this easy way of building a caring classroom community, and a positive climate for learning. Give it a try for yourself!
I bet you could even do something like this in your household amongst your children and family members if they need to learn a little more about showing appreciation and recognizing ways to appreciate others (family members or even strangers -- "I appreciated the person who held the door open for me at the mall" is just as nice, it stretches their positive thinking when they recognize the positives in the world!). You could make a bucket template for your fridge, and stick appreciation statements on it with magnets! It would also make for great conversation topics over the dinner table.
Speaking of great things for the family and kids, Disney/Pixar's Brave is out on Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack TODAY! I have FOUR copies to give away... so enter on this post here for a chance to win! Contest ends 12:01 am on November 23rd!