Friday, July 1, 2011

Bucket Fillers - Part 1

Bucket Fillers Part 1
My Old System for Positive Reinforcement

Click here to see part 1
Click here to see part 2
Click here to see part 3
Click here to see part 4

The Bucket Filler books and concept are amazing for working with little kiddos. I read the bucket books to my class for the first time three years ago. The basic concept is that everyone has an invisible bucket and when we are kind, we fill their bucket (and our own too) and when we are unkind, we dip from their buckets (and ours too). For some reason, of all of the character ed. things that we do, this one resonates with the kids. Even when I only read the book during the year, the students were using the language during class meetings.

So, how did this translate into the room? I tried using the little buckets for the kids (I scored a great deal at a yard sale!) and bought little puff balls at the dollar tree. The kids received and gave the puff balls to friends for filling their buckets. To be honest, it drove me insane! I couldn't keep up with handing out the puff balls and the number of times I was asked about the buckets in a given day really interrupted instruction. I never was able to come up with a fair and easy way to tell when buckets were full and the kids were always asking about what they would get when they were full. At any rate, the time out of the day to deal with it far outweighed the usefulness.

So, I decided to go back to my old system that worked well for me and was manageable, but added a bucket theme. I wish I had pictures and maybe I will remake it this coming week for next year. I used a system that was prevalent throughout the school called "Reach for a Rainbow" and the premise is that kids move through the colors of the rainbow for showing good character. You would just tell them to move their card or clip to move through the rainbow. When they reached the end, they earned a reward.

Another teacher had the idea of combining that with a reminder system that followed 1, 2, 3, Magic. The kids would move their clip or card through green, yellow, orange, and red for reminders and warning with different consequences at each level.

I bought a pocket chart that was meant for attendance, I think. It had stars on one side of the cards and something red on the other side. The kids would flip their cards when they came in to show they were there, similar to the one below. It worked perfectly for the system.

I laminated construction paper in the colors of the rainbow and a piece of black paper for the end of the rainbow. I cut the paper to fit in the pockets and stacked up a rainbow set for each child. The black card at the end featured a rainbow sticker to show they had reached the end of the rainbow. The kids would then slip the front card to the end in their pocket when they were told they could change their card for a positive choice or behavior.

This worked pretty well, except for those few kiddos who didn't realized which card came next, or for other reasons, skipped colors and reached the rainbow too early. We then brainstormed rewards for reaching the rainbow. They chose lunch in the room, sit next to a friend, buddy read, read a story to the class and so on. I would choose three rewards for the month and put cards in empty pockets in the pocket chart where the kids could put their rainbow cards and I could remember they needed their reward. After they received their reward, the card were flipped back to red to start over again.

Two changes I made were that I used small binder rings to bind the rainbow cards. There were a lot fewer mix ups and the cards didn't end up all over the floor. Second, I added a rainbow card in each pocket that was separate from the ring that could be placed in the prize/reward pocket. This made for a lot less fuss and the kids could continue to change their rainbow while they were waiting for their reward.

I will try to get into my classroom and find my chart next week to add a picture. Keep reading to see how I modified this system to work with the Bucket Fillers books!

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