- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (AP) — Everyone feels better when their bucket gets filled.

That’s the lesson being taught at South Side Elementary School this school year. Students there are being asked to be a “bucket filler” and not a “bucket dipper.”

Teachers, staff and students are all involved in the program titled after the children’s book, “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?”

“We tell the students that we all carry around an invisible bucket and that we do nice things for other people to fill their buckets,” said first grade teacher Valerie Broeringmeyer. “To fill their bucket is to fill your own, therefore you are filling two buckets at the same time.”

Ms. Broeringmeyer, otherwise known as Ms. B to her students, said ways of “filling a bucket” might be to help a fellow student who dropped their book bag; play with a student who is alone on the playground; share a book with another student; or simply say nice things.

She said she put six names in her bucket last week after witnessing acts of kindness in her classroom. Each teacher has their own bucket and slips of paper and all the names are pooled together on Friday, when Principal Cheri Marten will draw out two names each week.

“Everyone who has a name in one of the buckets gets recognized in some way,” said Ms. Marten.

Those lucky students whose names get drawn will get a small gift, such as a bookmark, sticker or a pencil. All other students get a certificate of recognition that is created by the school’s guidance counselor. Parents of the students whose names are drawn will also receive a postcard from the principal, letting them know their child is a bucket filler.

“We try to look for things out of the ordinary,” said Joyce Green, who teaches both art and physical education at South Side. “It makes them more aware of their behavior and how you can make someone’s day just a little better by helping them out.”

Ms. Marten said it was a concept that she and Guidance Counselor Cheryl Scanlan came up with as a way to focus on the positive things students have done.

“We highlight those students whose names are drawn on the Monday morning announcements as being Bucket Fillers of the Week,” said Ms. Marten.

Ms. Marten said the teachers and staff at South Side Elementary are also encouraged to “fill a bucket.”

“Teachers and staff here do fabulous things too,” Ms. Marten said. “Our staff works hard day in and day out. We focus on what we are all doing well.”

Ms. Broeringmeyer said the students have already taken ownership of the program after two weeks.

“They’ll ask me, ‘Are we filling your bucket Ms. B?’”


Information from: Effingham Daily News, https://www.effinghamdailynews.com

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