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Well wishes exchanged among students, staff

September 15, 2012
By Beth Christian Broschart Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

Spending hours in school after a long summer break can make for a long, dry day. There are worksheets to be completed, stories to be read, papers to be written and rules to be followed. Sometimes students need a splash of good feelings to make it easier.

Students and teachers at Jennings Randolph Elementary School in Elkins are working to form a well of good thoughts where they can help one another know their positive behaviors are noticed and appreciated. This program will create a respectful atmosphere through the Bucket-Filler Program.

The idea is based on the book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids," by Carol McCloud. Many activities serve to bridge the concepts of positive behavior, being nice to one another, noticing the good in others, sharing those good thoughts and reinforcing good behavior.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
The Bucket-Filler program at Jennings Randolph Elementary school is helping students learn positive behavior by expressing kind words with one another. The program, based on ‘Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids,’ is being used to create a kind, respectful atmosphere at the school. Pictured are, from left, third-grade teacher Ann Burkhammer, Bella Grose-Phares, Levi Smith, Albert Chewning, Caroline Newlon, Jade Neubauer, Ravyn Weirich, Cyress Daugherty and second-grade teacher Susan Karlen. The mural pictured was painted by Burkhammer.

"Everyone carries an invisible bucket at all times," said second-grade teacher Susan Karlen. "When you say nice, kind things it fills your bucket. If everyone would be kind and encouraging, our buckets would always stay full."

Karlen and third-grade teacher Ann Burkhammer spearheaded a pilot program last year, which involved Karlen's class and staff at Jennings Randolph Elementary School. It was so popular, it is being incorporated as the school theme this year.

"I worked with my students last year to try out the program, and it was very-well received," Karlen said. "So this year we brought the program to all of the students and staff in the school."

Fact Box

Bucket Fillers Pledge:

'I promise to do my best every day to be a Bucket Filler, not to dip and to use my lid for myself and others at home, at school and everywhere I go.'

Karlen said the program works on the concept of bucket filling and how it represents encouraging, kind and considerate behavior. The opposite, bucket dipping, shows the negative effects words can have on the well-being of others.

"Each classroom can customize the bucket-filler to fit their learning," she added. "There is even a website that gives ideas on how to use the book to teach character education."

Karlen said there are buckets in each room, and students write notes to each other and to school staff.

"On Friday, we go through the buckets and read our notes," Karlen said. "It really makes you feel good to read the notes and to know you have made others feel good by the notes you leave them."

School Principal Rebecca Whiteman said the staff members appreciate the good feelings the program promotes.

"Everyone really enjoys getting notice of little things they do during the week," Whiteman said. "It is a great motivator."

She said the school library uses them to encourage students to read a bucket of books, and the cooks like to refer to meals as a bucket of great food.

Many school-related activities encompass the bucket-filler idea. Bulletin boards around the school showcase colorful, inspiring ways each classroom will incorporate the program to put an oasis into the school day where everyone is a bucket filler.

Burkhammer painted a mural in the school's entrance featuring a huge bucket being filled with happy, wonderful things.

Music instructor Seth Young worked with second-grade students on the "Bucket-Filler Song." The song, sung to the tune of "Home on the Range," was written by the students to help others learn about the school's new positive behavior program.

Jade Neubauer, a third-grade student at Jennings Randolph Elementary School, said the program helped her to say only kind words.

"You should always try to fill the bucket," Neubauer said. "Try not to dip, because it makes everyone sad."

Third-grade student Cyress Daugherty said she enjoys the program.

"If we are sad, others can help you feel better about yourself," Daugherty said.

Albert Chewning, also a third-grade student, said he feels really good when someone leaves him a note.



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