MAT Blog

Bucket filling aids in addressing bullying prevention in schools.

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Aug 4, 2012 5:30:00 AM

beach bucketThe popular children's book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" has just sold a million copies and is quickly becoming an integral tool for many teachers’ classroom management. As many districts address and re-address their policies on bullying, and bullying prevention, this engaging K-5 children's book encourages positive behavior and teaches children that showing kindness, respect, and appreciation really makes a difference.

Although the bucket filling concept isn't a new one, Carol McCloud's book offers child-friendly explanations in simple prose and beautiful illustrations. Teachers have found that integrating the bucket filling concept into their classrooms benefits their established character education curriculum and helps clearly define appropriate and beneficial ways to interact with one another.  After reading the book we hope you'll be inspired to begin bucket-filling as soon as school begins, and stick with it throughout the year.

As you consider the beginning of the school year, plan to:

  1. Read the book aloud several times. As you are creating a classroom climate, establishing classroom rules, and learning routines you should also read (and reread) the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?"  This introduction to the metaphorical concepts will help students of all ages understand the relation between their buckets and their mental and emotional selves. Students will quickly connect to the concepts and begin to use the new vocabulary to describe their emotions

  2. Create a bucket filling list.  Along with the read aloud you can also work as a class to brainstorm ways to fill others' buckets. This is an important step so students can understand and relate the bucket-fillers to concrete behavioral examples.  This list should be posted in the classroom and given to students to have their own copies.
  3. Make bucket filling visual. There are multitudes of ways to accomplish this and you'll want to find a way that the bucket filling process can be visual.  You may want to invest in actual buckets for each child or use paper buckets on a bulletin board.  As students feel their emotional bucket being filled they can add to their physical bucket using stickers, pom poms, or other items to represent the kind words and actions of others.  Some teachers require a student to record the bucket-fillers on a slip of paper or in a notebook before they're added to the bucket and others rely on an honor system. These implementation choices are completely up to you!

  4. Implement methods of self reflection. It is important for students, regardless of age, to reflect on times their buckets have been filled or dipped into.  Young children can draw a picture and older students can record in writing.  You may choose to keep these in a personal journal or display them as part of the bucket-fillers bulletin board.

  5. Celebrate bucket-fillers!  Since this program is designed to encourage internally motivating behaviors, the celebration is never the goal. The goal is to encourage children to view their behavior as having an impact on others.  However, finding simple ways to celebrate bucket-fillers is crucial.  Some teachers read aloud one bucket filler a day while others find ways for students to reflect as a group on the program and to thank others.

There are a variety of websites that provide even more ideas for teachers interested in implementing a bucket filler program when school begins.  Check out these sites and resources:

Teaching Heart
My Fun Teacher
Bucket-Fillers 101 

We asked teachers to share some of the ways they’ve used bucket filling in their classrooms. Download our Marygrove MAT Guide to Bucket filling for teacher-tested ideas and hints to make your classroom climate even sunnier this year!

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Tags: cyberbullying, behavior, Bucket Fillers, bullying, anti-bullying, district policies

Top Ten Tips to Head off Bullying in Your Class.

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Jan 7, 2012 5:32:00 AM

Marygrove MAT discusses the top ten tips for heading off bullying.Approximately 25 percent of students in the U.S. have reported being bullied in a school setting, according to STOMP Out Bullying  --a national anti-bullying and cyberbullying program for children and teens. Research shows that bullied students are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, have mental health problems, engage in physical fights, or bring a weapon to school. As worrisome as these facts are, the good news is that there are things teachers can do to help prevent bullying in the classroom
  1. Know your school and district bullying policies. Knowing and understanding the policies helps you implement them fairly and effectively regardless of the specific incident.

  2. Treat everyone with respect and warmth. Consider every interaction that your students witness on a daily basis as an opportunity for you to model effective communication techniques.  Also, tell your students often that you are always available to help. And really mean it.

  3. Plan classroom activities to teach students about bullying. Just as students need direct instruction on academic areas, they also need learning opportunities related to bullying.  Role playing, video clips, and classroom discussion allow students to learn from and participate with one another in a healthy, supervised manner. Teaching the “Bucket-filler” technique based on a book by Carol McCloud is very effective for elementary school students.

  4. Practice close supervision. Bullying tends to happen more often when adults are not present.  Evaluate your school day and identify times when supervision could be strengthened.  Consider asking parents to volunteer at recess or lunch. Be aware that girls tend to bully in much more subtle ways—ways that may not be readily apparent. A great primer for all teachers about the insidious nature of girl bullying is Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons. To help young girls understand what bullying can do to the victim as well as to the aggressor, read aloud the 1970’s classic The Hundred Dresses by the late Eleanor Estes, of Ginger Pye fame. This one really sinks in.  
  1. Work with your colleagues. Just as students need opportunities to work with their peers toward anti-bullying habits, teachers need the support of their colleagues.  The school as a whole will be better able to prevent bullying and monitor the school environment.  In a professional setting, teachers can discuss both bullying in general and specific instances of bullying in the school. 

  2. Help create anti-bullying habits. Children need constant coaching about appropriate social behaviors.  Regardless of age, students need to be taught what to do (be kind, be empathetic, take turns, stand up for your friends) and what not to do (don't use mean words, no pushing, don't tease others). Start early with the bucket-filler concept, it really helps to redirect adverse behaviors.

  3. Have a literature library that addresses bullying and anti-bullying habits. Children's books are a great way to teach students to identify bullying, anti-bullying behaviors, and what to do if they are being bullied. The Recess Queen, Simon's Hook, and The Juice Box Bully are all wonderful titles for primary students. If you teach intermediate grades Confessions of a Former Bully, We Want You to Know, and Real Life Bully Prevention for Real Kids are a few of the great titles for your age group. Make them available.

  4. Work with your school counselor. School counselors likely have more training in bullying prevention and are a great resource for teachers. A school counselor could be invited into the classroom to conduct a series of lessons with the students or work with small groups on anti-bullying behaviors. When a bullying problem surfaces, the counselor can help with immediate intervention and counseling.

  5. Involve parents. Teachers can be a great resource for parents regarding bullying prevention and anti-bullying behaviors. You can update parents via newsletter or email about classroom activities and what they can do to support their student’s learning. Additionally, parents should be notified immediately if their child is either being bullied or is bullying another student. 

  6. Take immediate action. If you witness, or are made aware of a bullying situation–don't waste any time addressing the issue. Failure to act can signal the school's compliance with bullying and can cause adverse behaviors to spread. Students need to know and understand that bullying will not be tolerated and will be addressed immediately.

Bullying and the media attention it receives is not a fad. It is a serious issue that every teacher must understand. Our Guide to Successful Bucket Filler Techniques is a compilation of teacher-practiced tips that help diffuse bad behaviors and reward good ones. Download your free copy now and see how you can make a difference in your classroom, today.


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Tags: cyberbullying, download, Bucket Fillers, bullying, anti-bullying

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