Friday, July 3, 2015

V.I.P Bucket {All Your Questions Answered}

Several months ago, as in all the way back in February, I shared this V.I.P. bucket that I created to recognize hard working students in my classroom.  This little bucket has become one of my favorite classroom management tools!  Since that post, I've received questions here and there about the bucket.  So, I thought I would share more about the bucket with you today!


Note: some of these pictures may look a bit familiar, but bear with me, hopefully you'll be getting more information about this handy classroom management tool.

I came up with the idea of doing a V.I.P. bucket after a few fellow bloggers shared their V.I.P. tables.  You can check out Amanda's post (Teaching Maddeness) here and Rachel's post (The Tattooed Teacher) here.  Sadly, my room is much too small to accommodate the use of a table for this purpose.  Even more sad, I don't even have room for a reading group table. And, so, the bucket was born!


What is the V.I.P. bucket?
It is a super simple way to recognize students who consistently put forth a great deal of effort in the classroom.  Basically, it is a supply caddy filled with fun school/office supplies for students to use (more on that in just a moment). You can grab these supply caddies at the craft store for super cheap.

Who gets the bucket?
When I see that a student has worked hard to do his/her best all day long by completing his/her assignments (to the best of his/her ability), making good choices, setting a good example for others, being kind, and so on, that student gets the honor of using the V.I.P. bucket the following day. I've even awarded it to challenging students who tried really hard to have a great day.  It's an easy way to recognize their efforts and encourage good work habits/choices/etc.  Basically, when I feel like a student has worked really hard to be really awesome, they get the bucket.


How long does a student get the bucket for?
If a student is awarded use of the bucket, they get to use it all day long!  When they walk into the room in the morning, they will see the bucket placed on top of their desk.  The bucket stays there all day.

Do you have any rules for those who get to use the bucket?
I have one rule and that is, the bucket cannot be used during teaching time.  I tell my students that they can use any/all of the items in the bucket throughout the day, but they cannot touch the bucket during teaching time.  Teaching time is sacred.  I expect my students to be active learners and participants in our daily learning, and so, there is a strict "hands off the bucket while I'm teaching" policy.  Other than that, they have free reign.  Remember, the students awarded use of the bucket tend to be your more responsible, self controlled students, so the bucket doesn't typically lead to any problems or distractions, in my experience.

Can a student earn use of the bucket more than once?
Yep!  It's a merit based award.  Students are capable of having more than one excellent day a year, so yes, they can definitely earn use of the bucket more than once!
 

What exactly do you put in the bucket?
Anything that is out of the norm!  Every student in my class has a yellow pencil, crayons, and a pink eraser.  So, anything that differs from that is extremely exciting!  Last year I stocked the bucket with sticky notes, stickers, markers, smelly markers, colored pencils, highlighters, mechanical pencils, fresh glue sticks, fun shaped erasers, self inking stamps, new scissors, and silly glasses!  Oh, and a super cute little "Caution! Rockstar at Work" sign.

You don't need anything super extravagant, just a few items that are out of the ordinary and make the experience special and significant to your students.

I found that every few weeks, I would switch up the contents of the bucket by simply removing one or two items and replacing them with different items.  This helped keep the prospect of getting the bucket exciting to the students.

This summer, I grabbed a few new things to add to the bucket: a pencil sharpener (the hand held variety are banned from my classroom, so this will be a big deal) and some fancy schmancy mechanical pencils from the Target Dollar Spot.  And, I'm always on the lookout for fun, cheap things to add to the bucket.




More questions answered...keep reading!

Do you allow students to share the V.I.P. bucket?
Nope.  The bucket is for the V.I.P. only. That's how I roll.  If a student wants to use it, then they need to work really hard like the V.I.P. of the day did.  Of course, this is just my preference, and you could decide to manage that however you like in your own classroom.  With that said, if I see the V.I.P. share a sticker with their teaching buddy, I let it go.  Kindness is contagious and it's sweet to see them want to make others happy, they just can't plop the bucket in the middle of their table group and share all of its contents with the whole group.

How do the students use the materials in the bucket?
I let my students use the supplies throughout the day when they work on their assignments and in their free time. Remember, the only no-no is they can't use it during teaching time. Using the bucket  in this way gives them the opportunity to use the markers on portions of assignments that include coloring, while their neighbors are stuck using their boring old crayons.  They can stamp their paper, or place a sticker on it, before placing it in the "I'm Done" box.  And they can write a note to themselves on a sticky note (this was huge for them-they loved writing a note to themselves and placing it in their agenda for their parents to see or using it to decorate their name tag). Sometimes, they even made me a special little sticky note.




At first, I wasn't sure if I would stick with the bucket, but as time went by, I saw that it truly helped to motivate the students, and it was a simple way to recognize hard working students.  You can bet it will make a daily appearance in my classroom again next year! 

I hope this post helped give you a clear picture of how I use the V.I.P. bucket in my classroom.  Please know that there is no right or wrong way to use one.  You might be able to use a few of these ideas, but need to tweak a few of them to fit your teaching/management style.  But, I still hope it was helpful nonetheless.  :)

You can grab the V.I.P. bucket labels {here} for free!  There are a two different sizes included.

If you have any other questions about how I use the V.I.P. bucket, please leave them in the comments below.

DON'T FORGET IT: PIN IT!  



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15 comments:

  1. Thanks for the detailed explanation! I like you, don't have room for a VIP area/table so this bucket idea is just great! :)
    -Lovely Nina

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    1. ps. Do you have a link to where you purchased the cute teacher stamp "____thinks I'm awesome!"?

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    2. You are so welcome! I'm glad the bucket idea appeals to you! I purchased the stamp from Jane.com several months ago. I wish I knew the specific seller. But, you could always check the Jane site here and there to see if that deal pops back up. They often bring deals back more than once. :)

      Aimee

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  3. Thank you for sharing this awesome idea! You deserve a VIP bucket!!! Last year I had a VIP table and it worked great. This year my students will be at individual desks, so the bucket idea is much easier for me to implement! I even saw some cute little buckets at Target's one spot, I may have to run back there!

    Teaching Special Kids

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    1. Aw, you are so welcome! I'm glad the bucket option will work with your new classroom arrangement. That is awesome! Hurry, head back to Target and stock up! Hehe. Thanks for stopping by!

      Aimee

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  4. What a great idea, Aimee! I think it is time I go shopping at the Target Dollar Spot so I can start making a VIP bucket for the new school year. I'm pinning this idea too! -Jaime

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    1. Thank you so much! You should definitely head to the Dollar Spot ASAP. ;) Thanks for pinning, and I hope your students love the VIP bucket!

      Aimee

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  5. Aimee- What an amazing idea! I am definitely going to try this idea out this year!

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  6. That is a fantastic idea!!!! I love it! You've inspired me to create something similar for my work as a LAST this term with tough Yr 7 kids! Thanks for sharing xo

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  7. Thanks for the idea! I've incorporated the bucket, and added small sweet treats (Hershey Kisses, Smarties, a Twizzler, etc). Additionally, I've given the current VIPs the opportunity to secretly nominate the next VIPs. The students are reminded throughout the day to be on the lookout for the next VIPs. At the end of the day, they write their nomination on a small Post-it, fold it up, and leave it in their VIP basket, then return the baskets to me. They know that I have the power to veto any nominations and not to simply nominate their friends. Additionally, I let the VIPs have "priority seating" in our classroom (on our couch, a teacher's chair, with our 3ft. panda, etc.) and that has been loved by all - including me. This has been a nice variation added to my classroom management structure for these last few weeks of school. Again, thanks for the ideas!

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    1. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing! I love how teachers are able to take ideas and make them fit their needs. Thanks for stopping by my little old blog!

      Aimee

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  8. I LOVE this! I don't have an extra table either but can definitely put together a bucket! Thanks for all the details!

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    1. Hi Amber!

      Thanks for stopping by to read the post! I'm so glad it is something that you can implement in your classroom. Have a great summer!

      Aimee

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I'd love to hear what you have to say!