Saturday, August 27, 2016

Being a Bucket Filler

Many of you have yet to see what Chloe Ann Parker looks like. Mrs. Taylor's first grade class asked Mrs. Mowery to share her picture with you at the beginning of today's story post.

Momma sat on the side of my bed. "Time to lay back and get some sleep for school tomorrow."

"Momma, I'm really sorry about having my name moved down the other day. You know, Mrs. Taylor has been teaching us about being bucket fillers instead of bucket dippers. I really want to be a bucket filler. Really I do."

"Wow, I really like that Mrs. Taylor has taught you that. And what a good way to illustrate it." She patted my hand. "She's right. We should all try to fill others' buckets with kindness and encouragement. No one likes someone dipping into their bucket with meanness or just a lack of regard for another."

"I'm gonna try real hard at school tomorrow to look for ways to be a bucket filler. Of course, Mrs. Taylor said we shouldn't expect to be rewarded all the time by moving our names up for doing good things. We should just want to do them anyway."

Momma nodded. "I totally agree." She kissed my forehead, tucked me in, and listened to my prayer.


I walked into my first grade room the next morning. "Good morning, Mrs. Taylor. I'm gonna try to be a bucket filler today."

Mrs. Taylor smiled. "Well that sounds like a great plan."

We jumped right into our work, using our crayons. I concentrated really hard on my work, trying to not talk when I wasn't supposed to.

Mrs. Taylor stood up at her desk. "Please put away your crayon boxes, so we can move on to our next subject."

I dropped all of my crayons into my box and closed the lid tightly. Putting them back in their storage place, I started toward my seat. Suddenly there was a loud crash. I whipped around. Emalie's face was all sad and a little pink. She knelt down and began collecting her crayons which had scattered across the floor.

I hurried over and bent down. "Here, Emalie, let me help you."

Emalie sighed. "Thanks. How embarrassing."

I patted her shoulder. "Don't feel embarrassed. Dropping your crayons could happen to anybody."

A sweet smile returned to Emalie's face. That made me feel kinda warm inside, in a good way.

When Emalie returned from putting away her crayon box, she stopped by my table. "Thanks again for helping me. You're a real friend - a bucket filler." She hurried on to her table and sat down.

Wow, did I just make a new friend? I think I'm gonna like filling buckets. 

Later, Mrs. Taylor said, "Class, we have worked really hard today on all of our work. Let's go out for some recess."

After we all filed outside, Emalie found me, and we ran to the swings. We were having fun swinging really high and giggling.

Was that a yell for help? I slowed my swing and looked around. Brayden sat at the other end of the swingset in the mulch, staring at his hand. Was he hurt? No one else was around. I dragged my feet to stop and sprinted over to Brayden. I squatted next to him. "Are you okay?"

He looked up at me with his face all scrunched. "When I fell down, I slid. I think I may have a splinter, and it's bleeding a little bit."

"Here, let me see."

He reached his hand out and I studied it. He had some scrapes, and blood was running down his hand. I spotted a little piece of wood sticking out of the center of his palm. Brayden was sure being brave not crying.

"You better let Mrs. Taylor see this. You need to make sure to wash it off. My momma says when you cut yourself enough to have blood, you gotta get it washed off to stop any 'fection." I stood up and offered my hand. "Give me your other hand. I'll help you up."

I led him to Mrs. Taylor, and she immediately inspected it. "Brayden, let's go clean this up."

As he walked away with the teacher, he turned back around. "Hey, Chloe, thanks for checking on me and helping me."

"You're welcome. I hope your hand feels better."

I jogged back over to swing some more with Emalie. In just a few minutes it was time to line up and return to class.

As we were all collecting our things for going home, Mrs. Taylor got our attention. "Friends, I think we've had a real champion bucket filler today. Chloe, you have been very helpful to your friends, so I am going to move your name up."

I was so happy I thought I might cry, especially when everyone looked at me and smiled.

Being a bucket filler took hard focus, but it was worth it if I could make friends with everyone and help make them happy.

I think Mrs. Taylor is very smart to have taught me about this bucket stuff. And I think I'm loving being in first grade after all. 

I wonder if there's such a thing as a professional bucket filler? 


Mrs. Taylor taught her class about being a bucket filler and not a bucket dipper. What do you think she means?

To be a bucket filler, Chloe had to decide to try hard to focus on doing the right things and helping others. What kinds of things could you do or say to friends and teachers that would be filling their buckets?

Why did being a bucket filler help Chloe make friends?

Chloe even feels she will love first grade now. She changed her attitude to be more positive. Here's a familiar quote: Your attitude determines your altitude. What do you think that means?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I Just Can't!

"Okay, friends, it's time for us to have our reading-to-self time." Mrs. Taylor looked excited.

I slumped in my seat.

"Remember that you need to find a spot away from everyone else and stay focused on your book until my timer goes off. Don't talk. This is our time to build our reading stamina. Everyone get your book box and find a spot, please."

My feet shuffled to the shelf at the front of the room and I slid my book box out slowly. I spotted a place on the rug near the smart board and plopped down.

"Let's do a really good job. Pick up your book and focus. You're not done until Mrs. Taylor says you're done. You may begin reading."

At first I stayed glued to my book, exactly the way Mrs. Taylor wanted us to. But my eyes wouldn't obey. I looked around the room. Jill was sitting not too far from me. I hadn't even taken the time to tell her how much I liked her shirt today. I really needed to do that. We're supposed to use kind words.

I scooted a bit in Jill's direction and then stared at my book. When it seemed like no one had noticed, I moved a little closer. "Psssst, Jill."

Jill looked at me over the top of her book. Her eyes got big.

"I forgot to tell you ..."

Jill cut me off with a "Shhh." She shook her head.

"No, see, I didn't get to tell you that I like your shirt today. It's such a nice color."

"Chloe," Mrs. Taylor called my name in a loud whisper.

I sat up straight and looked her way.

"What are our rules for reading-to-self time?"

"Oh, Mrs. Taylor, I just can't!"

"Yes you can. We don't say, I can't. We keep on trying." Mrs. Taylor stood. "But I'm afraid you broke a rule and will need to move your name clip down on our behavior chart."

I slowly stood up and walked to the chart, keeping my head down the whole time. My eyes felt watery, and my lower lip quivered.

"Now return to your spot and focus on your book for the rest of the time. I know you can do it." Mrs. Taylor smiled, winked, and sat back down at her desk.

This time I sat facing the wall and my back to Jill and everyone else. No one understood. My mouth couldn't keep from talking for very long. Momma had said that talking would surely be my demise. I never understood what she meant. I've always wondered if it is some bad sickness that causes me to have to talk or else I'll explode.

But I do know one thing. I've got to say some kinds words quickly if I want to get my name moved back up. Momma will not be happy with me if my folder says I got moved down today. 


Chloe was having a hard time following the rules. Are there rules you find hard to follow? What are they?

Mrs. Taylor told Chloe not to say, I can't. She suggested that Chloe keep on trying. What ideas could you give Chloe to help her remember to follow the rules?

Are there times that you say, I can't? Why do you think that Mrs. Taylor says that they shouldn't say, I can't?

Saturday, August 13, 2016

First Grade Without My Best Friend?

"Momma, I just don't know if I can do first grade without Katie."

"Honey, I know you're disappointed that Katie isn't in your class, but you'll be fine. You and Katie can still have get-togethers and sleep-overs."

I filled my cheeks with air and blew it out. "It won't be the same."

Momma moved up behind another car in the drop-off line. "You're right. It won't be the same. But go make the best of it. Do a good job for Mrs. Taylor and make some new friends." She stopped the car and looked back at me. "Now go have a good day, and I'll pick you up after school. Love you."

"Love you too," I said in a low voice.

"Chloe, come on. Give me a smile."

I tried really hard to smile, but I didn't feel like it. Momma waved, and I waved back.

My feet dragged up the steps into the school gym. Soon they called for first grade, and I headed down the hall toward Mrs. Taylor's room.

"Good morning, Chloe." Mrs. Taylor smiled.

"Good morning."

As I put my backpack away, Mrs. Taylor called out morning instructions to two boys. They didn't seem to hear her. Mrs. Taylor repeated her instructions four times more before the boys got it.

I shook my head and patted my poor teacher's arm. "Mrs. Taylor, you have a really hard job."

Later in the school day Mrs. Taylor read us a book about a boy who broke all the rules in school. I remembered the two boys from this morning.

"Class, let's draw a picture of you with the boy from the book following the rules. Then you can write a sentence about it underneath your picture." Mrs. Taylor switched on the smart board. "Here's my picture and sentence."

I knew exactly what I would draw - me and the boy listening to the teacher's instructions the first time.

"Chloe, your picture is very nice," the girl next to me said.

"Thanks. I like yours too." Maybe I could make the best of it and have new friends too in first grade. 

Chloe's momma told her to make the best of it. What did she mean?

Why do you think Chloe thought Mrs. Taylor's job was hard?

Do you think teachers have a hard job? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

Chloe knew that Mrs. Taylor's job could be easier if the students listened to her instructions the first time. What can you do to make your teacher's job easier?