Now that a new school year is underway, I would like to introduce a monthly initiative that we will be implementing at Forest Lake. Each month, every class will each receive a book that will serve as our school-wide “Book of the Month.” These books are stories that everyone in our school will read together. We will be able to talk about the same characters, the same problems, and the same authors. This will help us build a learning community of readers as well as reinforce some important character education concepts that we encourage and highlight every day within our learning community.
The October book of the month is Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud. It highlights the central theme that I would like our youngsters to understand…..kindness. Our teachers will be reading this book with their students and challenging them to be “bucket fillers” throughout this month and the months to follow. There will be copies of each month’s book at the Wantagh Public Library if you would like to read the selection at home with your child.
This book uses the metaphor of a bucket for the place where negative and positive feelings are kept based on our day-to-day experiences. We will be discussing ways that we can fill each other's “buckets” each day by helping someone in need without being asked, treating others with kindness and compassion, giving honest compliments, and remembering the golden rule to treat others as we would like to be treated. Doing something nice for someone else fills your OWN bucket as well as the bucket of the person you help!!
We will also talk about “bucket dipping,” which can happen when we dip into someone's bucket by hurting someone else's feelings. This can happen through rude comments, refusing to help with a task, bragging, or excluding someone. This sounds a lot like bullying, but I have found that many students do not think of single actions as bullying. They often just think of someone who is mean all the time to a lot of people as a bully. It is easier for students to recognize that we all have had moments that were not our kindest towards others and that these moments CAN have a negative effect on others.
This is the perfect book to kick off our “Book of the Month” initiative. In addition to this book, we will also be starting a school-wide monthly Bucket Fillers Club in which students will earn recognition for demonstrating behaviors learned in this book. Use this month to model bucket filling by filling your own child’s bucket. Tell them why they are special to you. Help them think about what they might say or do to fill someone else’s bucket. Work with your children and help them practice daily bucket filling. They will soon experience the pride and joy of filling buckets. It is my hope that together we can create a learning community in which students truly value the importance of filling each other’s “buckets.”
Anthony F. Ciuffo, Jr.PrincipalForest Lake School