Monday, June 6, 2011

**Classroom management post** Bucket Fillers, Classroom Economy,

Bucket Fillers
For the past year I have wanted to implement the Bucket Filler system into my classroom.  I will start in the fall, but I need some help.  First off, for those of you who are not familiar with "bucket fillers", the premise is basically that everyone carries around an invisible bucket and it is based on the book "Have You Filled A Bucket Today?" (see below).  When we say and do nice things for others, we "fill their buckets".  People can also be "bucket dippers" by saying or doing hurtful things.  I think this is a great concept for 1st graders, and I like that you can positively reward them.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?How Full Is Your Bucket? For KidsFill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child
Here are some great sites with more ideas and free stuff that can help you get this up and going!
Mrs. Diller has great printables and writes extensively on how she uses this in her classroom.
Beth Newingham's Bucket Fillers
Official Bucket Fillers Site

***Here is my question: What do you use in your room?  I'm thinking about getting the mini buckets and allowing the students to write positive messages to one another on slips of paper and then place them in the buckets.  I want to have one big bucket that I fill with pompoms as the class receives compliments or behaves well.

Classroom Economy
I also want to have a classroom economy.  This involves each student having something on their desk- possibly a notepad (maybe just a piece of paper with contact paper over it that I could write on with dry erase marker) that has a "Credit" and "Debit" side.  If they are caught being good, working quietly, quickly following instructions, helping a friend, etc. then you would simply walk by and give them a tally under the credit side.  The opposite is true for bad behavior- you mark a debit.  At the end of the week they add up each side, and subtract it out (hello math skills!).  Every so often you would open up the bank, have a "banker" student give them play money and allow them to purchase items at the class store (hello money skills!!).  At the upper elementary levels, you can even have a class "economist" who tallies which items are in high and low demand, run sales based on this & create graphs.  Love the math skills that are covered here!  Beth Newingham is the guru of classroom economies, and she explains it much better with lots of pics.  Check it out here!   In Beth's class, the students even created innovative products that could be sold in the class store.

Next, I want to have teams.  Each table will pick the sea creature mascot of their choice (we have an ocean theme in my class).  I will write all the teams on the board and give them points (tallies) for doing excellent group work.

 However, here is my problem: how do you keep this up?  What incentives do you give to these kids?  I'm thinking as a group they might could earn some extra technology time- computers/ipad/ipod/iphone on any educational game of their choice.  I think they would like that.  I tried this a year ago, and I had a hard time keeping it up because I started with big rewards early on.  I learned.  :)  Also, I like the kid drawings, but overall this kind of looks messy, so I will definitely be cleaning this up a bit.

Positive Management Chart
Clip ChartLastly, I wanted to share this management chart, especially for all the people that have the 3 colored cards or stoplight as your current management system.  In your system, where is the incentive to be good?  There is no room to improve or go up.  The only response is consequences to negative behavior without focusing on positive behavior.  I found this jewel at New Management, and I think it is great!  There is even an e-book to help you get started.  This sturdy looking vinyl chart can be ordered for $20.

*Update: Ashley Nichols at The Polka Dot Patch has some fantastic free resources that go with this chart!  She has a discipline policy to send home to parents as well as class rules.  

Whole Brain Teaching
Please see my earlier post on Whole Brain Teaching if you have not read it.  It will change the way you teach!

So these are a few options of things that can spice up your classroom.  I'm not advocating that you try it all together, but hopefully this has given you some new ideas.  :)  I know I will be making some changes next year!

What do you do for effective classroom management?


Amy @ SweetExpectations8

My team teacher and I use the economy in our second half of the school year - starting after Christmas. We have a class store on every Friday - the parents help donate to it!

I am also starting bucket fillers this years - I like anything that is positive!


I will be starting WBT this fall. I'm so excited about all of the positive tools!!!

S. Parker

I like token economies especially in first. I had a really hard time getting mine up and running this year. Management on my part. I hope to start it up again next year.

I use the Bucket Filler book. I did not do all the "things" to go along with it due to time issues. But my students and I revisited the book several times during the year. All I had to do was mention that a student needed their bucket filled and they knew what I meant. It became part of our classroom culture. I highly recommend this book.

The Lesson Plan Diva- A 1st grade blog

I LOVE the positive management chart! Thanks for sharing!


Hi! I love the positive management chart as well!! Fill the bucket- my adm implemented this at the beg of last year. We used a fabric shoe organizer for our buckets. We also used this for our classroom store- 4 years ago we implemented a classroom economy option and had the "store" open on Friday's. This was hard to keep on top of but if you are interested in my classroom economy plan I can email or post it on my blog.

Primary Connections


I just posted on my blog requesting resources to teach character education and then visited your blog. Thanks for reminding me about the buckets! I plan on adding these books to my wish list!



I LOVE the positive management chart--(have to get one)--I have used my own creations in the past such as "spotted doing great things" (giraffe spotted cards) or "caught making a difference" (fish cards). I also wrote the wonderful things they were doing on little hearts and they taped to our door so others could read from the hallway. We used "money money"--zoo theme--and was able to save and buy things or pay to sit by a friend, take their shoes off for the day, etc. Love the post--thanks!

Miss. Foehser

For the last two years my school has used drops to fill our buckets. Whenever I see a student doing something kind or helpful, I write on a drop what they did. They get to go to the treasure box in our front office and then the drop is put in a bucket outside the principals door. Our principal reads a few each day over our announcements. They love these! I also started using teams this year. Whenever a team earns 10 points the whole table gets to go to the treasure box. Whenever I get a dry erase marker they all start telling each other to stop talking. It works great! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Miss. Foehser

Mrs. Ibarra

Ha! You sound like me....wanting to implement so many wonderful things next year. I implemented the buckets 2 years ago. The first year I made a chart with a pocket for each student. I printed little slips for them to leave each other compliments, but this is hard at the beginning of the year when most first graders can't really write/spell. This year I just had a bucket for the classroom to fill. When they filled it, they got a surprise that I had placed in a bag....a movie..LOL!

My teammates and I use the positive management chart. However, my teammates did not like that there where SO many colors so we 4 instead of 7. You can find a picture of it on my blog under classroom pictures.

Always First Grade

Jenn Bates

I have used all of these at some point. The rainbow clip chart and whole brain teaching are working for me in 1st grade.


I use the colored card system. However, I put a twist on the system. In my class, if a student has a card change they can earn their green card back by improving their behavior and making better choices. That way there is focus on improvement. Students who end the day on green get a stamp and a full stamp card earns them cool prizes. This system has worked well for me the last 4 years.


I have used the printables from My Fun Teacher for Bucket Filling with 4th graders. It worked AWESOME. The kids really got a kick out of telling each other the positive ways they helped them (and sometimes we even got ones that said stuff like "I like your shoes!").

I have used the colored chart you have here and other systems similar to it. My school advocates a leveling system. A 2nd grade colleague whom I observed this week has a very clear and detailed way that children can move up and down levels and I am going to steal it for next year because it makes sense and she said her current class totally gets it.

Mrs. D

I always do "table tallies", too. When a group reaches 20 tallies, they get to eat lunch with me in the classroom.

I'm looking into Whole Brain Teaching and hope to implement some of next year.

Mel D

I implemented the "bucket filling" in my classroom this year. My firsties loved it! I have a ton of freebies on my blog for bucket filling.

Oh the Places We’ll Go


Love the bucket filling idea! I've been wanting to try that for a couple years but I still haven't even gotten the book so I need to do that this summer! As far as the classroom economy, we do behavior bucks in my second grade class. Kids earn dollars for good behavior and loose for undesirable behavior.Then at the end of the week they get to go to treasure box. But I like your credit/debit idea because it brings in the addition and subtraction.I might have to try that. I have teams and whatever table earns the most points at the end of the week they earn lunch with me or extra classroom dollars. You could also have a reward can with little tags in it that have little rewards on them, ie. extra trip to the treasure box, piece of candy, lunch with teacher,homework pass etc.. and if their table wins they could pick out of the can. Also for the table points I laminate a sentence strip and keep track of their points on there, I found it just stays a little neater than just doing it on the board. Sorry for the long comment:)
Carolee's Creative Classroom


I also use Bucket Filling, and the positive clip chart. I am in love with both. I love how positive my students are with each other. I just started WBT this year and am in love! I feel like I can go days without correcting any behaviors. Between all of positive reinforcement and active engagement no one has time to disrupt the class! Love these manangement strategies you highlighted!


I love Bucket Filling for sure!! :)

would you mind adding the linky party graphic to your post? Thanks!

Thanks for linking up!
-Rachelle {& Natalie}
What The Teacher Wants

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