It may have been a last-minute idea, but it sure turned out to be a good one.
Jefferson School second-grade teacher Erin Holste was in a quandary about what to do for the 100th day of school observed on Jan. 27.
“I was trying to decide what to do for 100 day that is more meaningful that just bringing 100 items or counting to 100,” Holste said. “Not that those aren’t great educational things – we did a few of those, too.”
Inspired by a visit from KC Wolf earlier this year, her class has been working on showing good character as well as being bucket fillers.
Holste explained that bucket filling comes from a book she reads her second graders on the first day of school. It means doing nice things for someone else and filling up their buckets, which will fill up theirs in return.
“After noticing the mood of the students at that slump that usually hits after Christmas break and before spring break, I needed a way to redirect the negative attention they were giving one another,” she said.
That’s when inspiration struck.
“I reread them the bucket filler book and asked the kids if they would like to fill lots of buckets,” she explained. “So I said, ‘what if tomorrow, since it is the 100 day of school, we do 100 nice things?’ They were so excited.
“The students were all in. I let them write ideas in their journals and then we shared them with the class. Watching the students tell each other ‘that’s a good one’ or ‘oh, I really like that idea’ was so sweet. They were so friendly to each other it was already a great start.” Some of the ideas they came up with included feed all the hungry people, share with kids who don’t have much and help really sick kids. Holste directed their suggestions to bringing canned food for the food bank, donating kids’ books to the Children’s Clinic and recycling cans to Kans for Kids.
“It was tough coming up with realistic ideas from some of their suggestions, but listening to their big ideas was a lot of fun,” she said. “I have a lot of big hearts in my classroom!
“Listening to the students’ ideas was the best part,” Holste said. “They wanted to help every person they knew to have a better day. That is a special thing to see coming from 7- and 8-year-olds.
“The whole point was to get them to write their ideas down and let them feel the joy of helping someone else,” she said. “I tried to focus them on giving instead of receiving.”
Holste said that even when they moved on to other assignments, the children were still thinking of their lists.
“That they were even applying it to life after school, made me feel like they had taken something from it,” she said. “I just wanted to create a lesson or activity that would last longer than one day in their lives. Hopefully I did that.
“I would definitely do it again,” she said. “It would be neat to see it done school wide or even districtwide. It was a last-minute idea though, so I’m sure it could go a lot smoother next year.”