Bucket Filling Philosophy

December 4, 2011

The other day, I posted about bucket filling. After some lovely comments (thank you, thank you! comments fill my bucket!), I decided to post how I learned about the bucket-filling philosophy.

In the fall of 2007, our school staff read the book, How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and for Life by Tom Rath with Donald Clifton. The theme is focusing on the positives in interactions with others. I try to be positive and look at the good, but this book really helped me to see how even the littlest smile can affect others and “pay it forward” to others. As a staff, we began to intentionally fill each other with positive actions and comments.

The spring of March 2008, I went to the Michigan Reading Association Conference (MRA) and attended a session on bucket-filling for kids. The room was packed. Carol McCloud shared how to teach children to be bucket-fillers. She read her book, Have You Filled a Bucket Lately? and I was hooked.

Carol presented at the AllWrite!!! Summer Conference in June 2008 and then came to our school on October 31, 2008. Our school was filled with excitement and children went away with smiles. We continue to share the philosophy each year by reading the books and talking about how to fill each other up. Kids get it. It has helped decrease bullying issues as well, another positive effect. ūüôā

To stay current, I receive weekly newsletter from the Bucket Filler Team. You can sign up for it on their website. Short articles of slice of life moments encourage you. When I first began to practice this philosophy, I shared a story with Carol via email, which then was published on June 15, 2008. During the Slice of Life Challenge, I posted a story that warmed my heart.

Dear Fellow Bucket Fillers, 

Daily bucket filling is the simplest, easiest and most important part of bucket filling.  This holiday season, be sure to spread extra holiday joy by filling buckets with special acts of kindness Рand it will fill your bucket too!

 The following link will download our latest e-newsletter:    Week of November 27, 2011

To end, I encourage you to read, Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. The following link is a video clip of Hector Elizondo reading the book on Daily Motion. Although a picture book, the message will touch students and adults of all ages.
I look forward to hearing about your bucket-filling experiences.


Uncle Jed

March 9, 2011

The first time I read this book, I was awed by the love Jed had for his great-niece, Sarah Jean.¬† Jed’s character is blessed.¬† Margaree King Mitchell brings out the bucket filling attitude Uncle Jed shared.¬† In the end, I was cheering for Uncle Jed’s accomplishments.¬† The scene at the hospital is a great discussion starter about segregation.¬† James Ransome pictures evoked my emotions as much as the words in Uncle Jed’s Barbershop.Uncle Jed's Barbershop¬†¬† [UNCLE JEDS BARBERSHOP] [Paperback]

“Even though I was unconscious, the doctors wouldn’t look at me until they had finished with all the white patients.”

Uncle Jed had a dream.  He believed in his dream so much he shared it.  Uncle Jed believed in and planned for the dream barbershop he wanted.  It seems that by sharing his thoughts, his dream was true.

Set backs hit him hard.  My heart sank when I read the Great Depression hit and Uncle Jed lost all his money, over $3000.  But Jed continued his optimism and determination.  I would like to meet Uncle Jed.  he was kind, a servant with a giving attitude.  People were more important than his financial ambition.

Narrated through a young girl’s heart, Sarah Jean shares the stories of her favorite relative, Uncle Jedediah.¬† This book will connect all children to the past and inspire them to dream.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Uncle Jed’s Barbershop:

  • Invoking emotion
  • Scene connection – one page had “Nobody had much money.”¬† Turn the page, next scene:¬† “But Uncle Jed kept going around to his customers cutting their hair.”
  • Character sketch –
  • Goal Setting
  • Vignettes
  • (P.S.¬† I love the dog that is painted in many of the scenes.¬† He seems so real.)

Healing the Wounds

November 4, 2008

I love November.¬† I guess I love being thankful.¬† Having lived in a third world country, your life is touched in a special way.¬† I still smile when I turn on the lights Image result for one thousand tracingsand have a warm shower.¬† November means Thanksgiving, Veterans’ Day, a time for reflection.¬† America is great – not perfect, but great.¬† We have so much.¬† So today as I voted, I thought about the privilege we have to live in a country with so many freedoms.¬† And resources.

One resource I love is books.¬† I’m thankful that we have the privilege to use libraries and read books.¬† I love Scholastic Book Clubs where I can purchase my own books.¬† Books provide stories that enlighten my world.¬† They make me think, reflect.

One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II by Lita Judge is another book that makes me thankful for what I have.¬† This book is similar to Boxes for Katje, as posted Nov. 2, in that a family reaches beyond themselves to help others.¬† In Lita’s author’s note, she states:

I found a dusty box while cleaning out my grandmother’s attic.¬† Inside were hundreds of aged, yellowed envelopes from all over Europe containing foot tracings of every size.

I met Lita Judge at the Michigan Reading Conference last March 2008.¬† She stated that the book was based on her grandparents’ relief initiative.¬† Thank you, Lita, for sharing the story.¬† As I read the story, I reflected.¬† On family.¬† On resources.¬† On others.

Take time this Thanksgiving season to reflect on what you have and be thankful.¬† Read a historical narrative and allow the story captured to move your heart.¬† You can write your own story by helping someone in need.¬† Just do the act of kindness.¬† You’ll be blessed.

Savorings for reading and in writing for One Thousand Tracings:

  • Vignettes – time passes through the glimpses of history
  • Letter writing – Mama writes letters to friends and family, imploring their help
  • Character reflection – “I thought about that little girl; she was my age…. I wanted Eliza to have something nice.

Boxes for Katje

November 2, 2008

Image result for boxes for katjeI often will read the dedications to get a glimpse of the author’s life.¬† I wonder how the people named touched the life of an author.¬† In Boxes for Katje, Candace Fleming’s dedication states: “To Mom, for sharing her life’s stories.”¬† It roused my curiosity, and so looked for the author’s note.¬† I was pleased to find on the end sleeve that Candace shares “A True Story about Boxes.”¬† She states that the book is “based on events that really happened.¬† In May 1945, my mother sent a small box to Europe.”¬† Because Candace’s mother shared a story from her childhood, a book was created to touch people’s hearts.¬† How many life stories do we have that will change someone’s life?¬† More than we think.¬† We need to teach our children that life stories are important to share and holding on to memories can create hope for someone else.

Boxes for Katje begins in Olst, Holland in 1945.¬† Stacey Dressen-McQueen adds to the beginning text by illustrating another little girl, Rosie, mailing a package. A little girl named Katje receives the package from America containing four items:¬† a bar of soap, wool socks, a chocolate bar, and a letter. Holland had been hit hard during World War II and the people’s needs were great.¬† Candace Fleming states in her introduction, “They patched and repatched their worn-thin clothing, and they went without soap or milk, sugar or new shoes.”

Katje, from the start, unselfishly shares her gifts with her neighbors.¬† In our country of plenty, even in this economic struggle, we take for granted so many of life’s pleasures.¬† This book continues to show how Katje shares what she receives.¬† She writes letters of gratitude to Rosie, who in turns creates more awareness with her community of Mayfield, Indiana.¬†¬†¬† In the end, Katje sends a gift to her American friend, Rosie – tulips.¬† Notice how Stacey Dressen-McQueen illustrates the before and after scenes of Mayfield, Indiana in the end sleeves.¬† I think this book paves the way for discussion on philanthropy and thinking of others.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Boxes for Katje:

  • Hybrid text – letters are displayed as the story goes from one scene to the next
  • Illustrations – inlays from each country/community to see the events between the pen pals
  • Highlighting scenes – creating a story with
  • Passage of Time – the seasons and its hardships create the passing of time:¬† “Weeks passed, and winter roared in, snow-deep and bitter cold, the worst winter anyone could remember.”
  • Philanthropy – learning to give to others; excellent for Thanksgiving season
  • Math connection and superlatives:¬† comparison of packages beginning small and getting bigger each time; big, bigger, biggest