Sunday, August 25, 2013

Building a Positive Classroom Community

For the first unit of study in my classroom, I am focusing on social skills. I am doing my best to foster a community of learners that care for each other, feel safe to share ideas and ask questions, and a place that they look forward to arriving to every day.

One of the activities I did last week was with the book, How Full is Your Bucket, by Tom Rath. I was afraid that it might be too young for my 5th graders, but they seemed to really enjoy it. We had a great discussion about the metaphor of the bucket being feelings, and how when it is full we feel great, and when it is low or empty, we feel bad. 

We talked about how to fill people's buckets, and how that fills our OWN buckets. I presented an on-going project for our class. We are going to fill each other's buckets (while also filling our own!). 

If someone fills your bucket, you can fill out a slip thanking that person for what they did. If you fill someone else's bucket, you fill out that slip. Both slips are to be placed in the bucket at the front of the room. During Closing Circle, I share the slips with the class. If someone else's bucket was filled, I give them a "You Are a Bucket Filler!" reward slip. 

I started this on Friday, and it went well. Another teacher filled a student's bucket, so we gave her a "You Are a Bucket Filler!" slip - she loved it! I am excited to see how this next week goes. 

Below are some pictures of the activity: 

What do you do in your classroom to build a positive atmosphere?

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