Bucket Filling linky party!

  UPDATE: New linky party! Because you can't ever have too many ideas about bucket filling in your classroom, I am linking up with Marygrove College for even more bucket filling ideas! 
One thing I have done this week is give myself a "bucket" (ok it's actually a clear vase). We've been having a little trouble following procedures at carpet or in line - blurting out, talking in the hall etc. Now I watch for behavior that fills my "bucket" and add a pom pom to it each time my firsties are following procedure. My firsties love to fill my bucket and it helps to point out the positive behavior rather than the negative.  That's my update so far, please be sure to check out both linky parties for more great ideas!

Original Post:
I blogged a little bit about this topic the other other day when I told you about how I use my great Hobby Lobby bucket finds to reward my kinders who demonstrate great bucket filling, but when I saw this linky party at First Grade Brain I had to revisit the topic! I love using "Have You Filled a bucket Today?" at the beginning of the year to develop a positive classroom community with shared language. Many of my kinders come to me without having been to pre-k, they all also come from very low socio-economic backgrounds and have the attendant vocabulary and language delays often seen in that demographic. This makes it very difficult to get everyone on the same page without some kind of common denominator. I do use a number system in class. It is strictly verbal as I never liked the idea of having a visual system that everyone could see including visitors to the classroom - I always worry about a child feeling ashamed with their "bad behavior" on display for everyone to see.  Here are my classroom rules and the number system:

Classroom Rules:
1. Listen while others are talking.
2. Follow directions.
3. Keep hands, feet and objects to yourself.
4. Work and play in a safe manner.
5. Treat others with kindness

Behavior System: Each day I will write a number in your child's planner that corresponds with their behavior throughout the day. At the end of the week, children who have been on a 3 or 4 for at least 4 out of 5 days will be able to choose a prize from our Treasure Box! Here's a breakdown of what the numbers mean:
4 - your child had GREAT behavior today, I didn't even need to give a reminder. This is Very hard to get - please celebrate!
3 - your child had a Very Good day! Although I had to give a reminder or two, for the most part their behavior was on track today! You should be proud of your child!
2 - your child's behavior disrupted learning in the classroom today. I have taken care of in-class consequences, but please have a talk with your child about following our procedures.
1 - your child's behavior required a removal from the room. This is a last resort and we will need to have a conference to discuss how to improve behavior. Please let me know what time is most convenient for you.

This system has worked really well for the past 2 years. My parents are very good about checking the number in the planner each day. I rarely have anyone on a 2 and I've only had about 3 children get a 1 in two years! I have also never had a parent complaint or issue :)

Then came Kaydin. After a few weeks of school, towards the end of the day she was extremely disruptive during group time. After a reminder, I finally said "Kaydin, you're on a 2 now." to which she replied "That's ok, I'm fine with a 2." Just like that I could see my whole behavior system going up in smoke. If Kaydin was ok with a 2 then the other children would soon see it the same way. No longer would I get results from just saying "Do I need to put you on a 2?". I pulled Kaydin aside and had a quick word with her about the fact that a 2 was not ok with me, her mother or the principal and that if the behavior continued she could expect to have a conference with all 3 of us. She settled down, but I knew I had to have something else in addition to my number system for those kiddos who "didn't care".

That's when I found "Have You Filled a Bucket today?". Here was a simple story, that explained things on a kindergarten level. Suddenly we had that common vocabulary - children could talk about how someone filled their bucket and give examples. Instead of screeching "Give me that! I had it first!" when someone took a crayon or toy, suddenly they were saying "That's being a bucket dipper!" Children who "didn't care" about the number system certainly cared when I said "Reading time is my favorite part of the day, please don't be a bucket dipper by interrupting." I got most of my printables from Teaching Heart's page and found that they really helped children integrate the ideas.

I decided against doing a visual system with my buckets, simply because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with it, and I worried about children taking pompoms from other buckets etc. Instead, we do a simple end of day meeting where the children talk about others who filled their bucket that day. The only rule is that you can not talk about something you did, only what someone else did to fill your bucket. I then award a buckets to those students who have shown great bucket filling behavior that day. If someone has already earned their bucket but had a lot of good bucket filling moments then I give them a sticker or stamp. In the beginning it's easy to pick students, but towards the end when there are just those few kids left who have difficulty "playing well with others" I have to keep a sharp eye out for any bucket filling behavior and make sure to bring it up at our meeting. This also helps me to focus on the positive side of those kiddos rather than looking for the negatives.

I did have one darling last year who had some severe behavior issues. At the beginning of the year he spent most of his time hiding in the cubbies (until I began blocking them off after the children put their backpacks away), under tables, roaring and growling. After 2 weeks of letting him acclimate we had a meeting with his mother and decided on a special system for him. Instead of numbers, he could earn a sticker for a.m. behavior and a sticker for p.m.behavior. I created this sticker chart for him that goes along with the bucket theme. After a set number of stickers his mother rewarded him with a special prize. His behavior didn't turn around over night, and his problems are likely to continue long term, but this incentive chart got him interested in our classroom and gave him a more immediate reward for behavior. I kept the chart in his planner and had a mini meeting with him twice a day to let him pick out his sticker or talk about why he didn't get a sticker and how to improve his behavior the rest of the day.

Anyways, that's how I use this great concept in class, please remember to check out the rest of the linky party for more ideas. I really believe that this book is an effective classroom management tool!

2 Rustle Up A Response!:

Ms. Gaither said... Reply to comment

I just found your blog today when I was searching for bucket filling ideas--glad I did!
meet me at the zoo...

Mrs. C said... Reply to comment

Great job!