I always like to start the year off with the typical "get to know you" activities. I also begin to set the firm precedence that if you don't have something nice to say....then you don't say it at all because WE are a bucket filling family. We of course read, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? Love this book! We
make a list of ways to fill buckets in our school communities and families. Then we make mailboxes for each student to encourage other students to write "bucket fillers" for each other. This year in an effort to increase relationship building, as a part of my classroom management plan, when students get into a disagreement, part of their apology is to write a bucket filling note to each other. This forces them to think of something good about each other. I have heard this works with siblings as well! **making a note to try at home :)
Another way I am using this concept this year is for parent orientation. I plan to have the kiddos write their Moms and Dads bucket filling notes (a great way to get kids to make sure their parents come!) and in return, have stationary for parents to write notes to the kiddos! One year I had parents take some of my blank forms home to fill out and send in at a later time. So sweet! They would send it to me via our "boomerang" folder and I would place it in their child's mailbox. Kiddos would be so surprised!!
Not only are the kids conscious of "filling buckets" but they are also applying their writing skills in meaningful ways. No one wants a note that they can't read! And they definitely remember to sign it because they want a note in return! It is also a great way to get some teacher compliments in to students who need a little extra encouragement.
I simply printed the following image on card stock and folded to make an envelope. We attached these to the wall to allow for mail to be placed inside.