Friday, September 16, 2011
My Bucket Is Filled!
I earlier posted about reading How Full Is Your Bucket for Kids. After that reading I told the children that we would probably read the book again. I knew I would want to read it once my five new students were settled in my class. Since it was my second time to read the book, I was able to add a little bit more to it the second time around. As I read the book, and as a bucket was either being filled or spilled, I was able to make the visual connection by using clear cups, colored water and a pipette. This helped me to demonstrate how our actions or the actions of others, can either fill a bucket or slowly drip by drip empty a bucket. As the water moved back and forth, the children were silent and we were able to talk about what we observed and make the connection to understanding how that happened. This was a very successful addition to the book and it created a very meaningful community building activity for me and the children in my class. When I discovered this book this summer I was not clear how I would use the bucket system in my class but I knew I wanted to use it somehow. I decided on a community bucket that we would fill with marbles. I found the smallest bucket possible to use in the beginning. My message was simple... it will take us all to fill the bucket. We will work together to fill it and we will celebrate our collective goal when we reach it. I am happy to say we are half way there and we all know it takes us all doing our part...including me. They always say third time is a charm and when I read it a third time, I will make sure that my water level drip by drip is exactly the way it is in the book but sometimes you see a "teachable moment" and you just go for it!
As we finished the book, I asked the kids to spread out and get ready for the next activity as I prepared apples for a graphing activity. We all agreed we did not want to taste brown apples so I would be busy for a few minutes cutting apples. As I was preparing the apples, I could hear some bickering and some good problem solving language and when I turned around I saw my new class hand in hand in a circle waiting for me and actually they had planned a place for me to sit to taste apples with them. I stood there silent for a minute and realized they were working together and working their way through a few disagreements among some of the children but all in all they achieved the goal...and once again my bucket was filled.
As we moved in to our tasting and graphing activity, our helper dropped all of our fresh and clean apples on the floor. There was a few moments of silence and then we all laughed...together for a long time. After washing apples and finally tasting and graphing our favorites, I realized I am so lucky to be the teacher with the invisible bucket over her head that is dripping by the minute, not because my bucket is being spilled but because it simply is overflowing.