It has been a busy few weeks in JK 103! Students are beginning the year with clear expectations so they can create a positive classroom environment. In order to establish this, they all need to respect each other. They have worked on turn-taking, sharing and listening when someone is talking. As many of them have been interested in story writing, we have started to write group stories, which allows them to work collaboratively. Soon, they will be assigned jobs, where each student has a responsibility in the classroom.
Another essential part of creating a positive environment is being kind to each other. In order to promote spreading kindness, we read the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud, and will begin to use this concept throughout the school year. This book discusses how each person carries around an invisible bucket that could be filled when someone displays to them an act of kindness. We talked about how it makes them feel happy when they fill someone else’s bucket.
They connected this idea to our previous discussion about tzedakah, as they have a tzedakah box in their classroom that where they collect money for each Shabbat. As a class, they will decide on which charity their tzedakah money will be donated to at the end of the school year. They were asked how it felt to donate something to help others in need, and to help make someone feel happy. All of the students realized that it made them feel good when they knew they were helping others.
They also talked about dipping into someone’s bucket, which is when they make others feel bad. They decided they want to avoid dipping into buckets, and only try to fill them with kindness! They have their own classroom bucket that is filling with marbles. A marble is earned when a teacher notices a student (or the whole class) displaying an act of kindness. Some examples of “filling a bucket” could be: inviting someone to play, helping someone clean up, giving a compliment, making a card for a friend, hugging a friend if they’re sad, etc. Their goal is to receive ten marbles in order to earn their first reward. Most importantly, the students hope to cultivate a strong community full of “bucket fillers,” with a goal to spread kindness that goes beyond JK, and continues throughout our lives!