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

Engage Parents Throughout the Year For Homework Success.

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Sep 29, 2011 11:00:00 AM

engaged parent assisting with homeworkAt Back-to-School nights all across the country, many K-12 teachers take the opportunity to communicate their classroom and district homework policies to parents. Here are two perplexing issues for your consideration:


Despite our best efforts at clear communication, many teachers receive homework questions from parents in the days and weeks following Back-to-School night.  Prepare yourself well this year, to get maximum cooperation from parents and optimal results from your students.  

The US Department of Education hosts a site with helpful homework hints for parents:This site explains what teachers already know: homework, when used properly, offers students the chance to

  • review and practice what they've covered in class
  • get ready for the next day's class
  • learn to use resources, such as libraries, reference materials and websites to find information about a subject
  • explore subjects more fully than classroom time permits
  • extend learning by applying skills they already have to new situations
  • integrate their learning by applying many different skills to a single task, such as book reports or science projects.

Homework also can help students develop good study habits and positive attitudes. It can

  • teach them to work independently
  • encourage self-discipline and responsibility

In addition, homework can help create greater understanding between families and teachers and provide opportunities for increased communication.

Communication Creates Engagement

We encourage you to communicate regularly with parents. Some schools schedule several informational parent events throughout the year, in an effort to narrow the teacher-parent gap. Establishing a good rapport with parents by using routine, clear communication will make all the difference to you, if and when a problem arises.

To help get things off on the right foot, offer a variety of ways for parents to get involved. Not every parent can volunteer on-site during the school day, and not every parent can afford to buy items for the classroom.Think about off-site tasks or projects parents can do to help the class, and offer ways to volunteer that ask for nothing except the value of a parent’s time.

Send notes home and make phone calls on a regular schedule. Elementary teachers who write two notes or make two phone calls each school day will contact every child's parents at least once a month. Secondary teachers with larger class loads can follow the same schedule and stay in contact at least once a quarter. Remember to contact the parents when students are successful - don't call only to report a problem. Positive communication creates an environment of trust which pays dividends when there is a challenge.

Engaging parents plus assigning meaningful homework is a powerful combination that will add up to successful results for your students! We offer a Guide for Teachers with creative ways to extend your classroom for optimal success. We guarantee you’ll find new, time-saving ways to attack old problems!


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Photo Credit: Peter Gene


Tags: download, Classroom Climate, Marygrove MAT, Extension of the Classroom, MAT Program, back-to-school, Homework, Parent Engagement, Homework Tips,, district policies

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