Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Teaching Tolerance and Refreshing Our Bucket-filling Skills!

It was the first week back from spring break. That first morning can be tough, just the waking up part alone! I'm sure your students are like mine; they come in a bit sleepy and dazed trying to remember what to do and where they are! I like to take the first morning back from a break slowly, and use it as a time for everyone to reconnect. We revisited our buckets and thought about how we could refocus our efforts towards bucket-filling for the next 8 weeks (yes, the end is near!)

We watched/read the book How Full is Your Bucket? for Kids on youtube by WilliowCanyonWildcats. You can see it HERE. It's a great reading of the book.


Many of you are familiar with the original book which explains the "bucket" metaphor so well.


Well, How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids takes it one step further and tells the story of a boy named Felix, and how his bucket is dipped and or filled in the course of a day! Here's a brief summary from Amazon:

Through the story of a little boy named Felix, this charming book explains to children how being kind not only helps others, it helps them, too. As he goes about his day, Felix interacts with different people — his sister Anna, his grandfather, other family and friends. Some people are happy, but others are grumpy or sad. Using the metaphor of a bucket and dipper, Felix’ grandfather explains why the happy people make Felix feel good, while the others leave him feeling bad — and how Felix himself is affecting others, whether he means to or not. 

I particularly like the example of how Felix was a bucket-dipper to his little sister as most kids can relate to this kind of situation - from either perspective. Felix doesn't want to be bothered with his little sister because she's younger. Of course, problems ensue! Take a peek inside the book...
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids
It reminded me about teaching students about tolerance- being respectful and caring towards people who are different from us. Of course, to kids, an age difference is a pretty big deal, but I was interested in getting them to think of "greater" differences, like gender, ability or race.

After watching the video, students paired up and discussed examples of bucket filling and bucket dipping from the story. Then I used the following chart to guide our whole class discussion. We talked about how 1) what we do AND 2) what we say can affect others in either positive or negative ways.
On the following day, I read Being Tolerant by Jill Lynn Donahue. It explains to kids that being tolerant means that you respect people who may be very different from you.
Tolerance is a PYP attitude that we teach as part of our school curriculum. We teach students explicitly about positive attitudes and behaviors. In my classroom I have an interactive display where students can reflect by posting their picture next to a trait or attitude they think they've demonstrated recently. Here is the Tolerance card:
You can see the whole set of PYP Attitude Posters HERE
Needless to say, it's not a term that they're familiar with so that's why the book, Being Tolerant, was so helpful. It's full of great examples that kids can relate to, like having an "all girls club", but in the story they let a boy join...
...or waiting for the "slow" kid in the group to read the word, answer the question, or whatever it may be!
And of course, letting a girl play on the team!
We talked about how tolerance is a mix of respect, patience and open-mindedness. We thought back to the time of year when we learned about Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and were able to label their actions as tolerant. Now that we have explicitly talked about being tolerant, I'll be using the term more often when we share good news about bucket-filling that happens in our room day to day.

If you are looking for books to help you introduce topics for character education, I recommend that you check out the Way to Be! series, of which Being Tolerant is a part. We have a number of them in our school library and most of them are good. (Being Tolerant is one of the best in the series!)

Besides the "Bucket" books, do you have any favorites for promoting respect and tolerance in your class?

Thanks for stopping by!
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