Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Touching Base

I just wanted to share some of the fun events that have been happening at Durham.  Last week our students in grades 2-5 participated in a Junior Achievement Day.  Junior Achievement helps young people connect what they are learning with real-life experiences and recognize the importance of staying in school. JA also inspires students to develop competitive skills and confidence. Representatives from Ernst and Young spent the day with our students and they had a memorable experience.

This week, our students participated in two Black History Month assemblies.  Our students in grades 2-5 took part in a presentation by Pilot Xavier Samuels, who encouraged them to set goals beyond the sky.  All students also had the opportunity to participate in a hands-on session of The Children’s Griot which was a musical time travel adventure.  Be sure to ask your children about their daily experiences.

You can watch a small segment of today's performance.


I also want to thank all of our parents who have taken time this week to participate in the National PTA event Bring Your Family to School Week.  Please know that the experiences shared with our students are simply priceless.  Today, Elizabeth Humbert and Nora Nester shared their Polish heritage.  Please take a look at what they shared.


Tomorrow, I am truly hoping for a huge turn-out for the STAAR testing meeting.  If you are a parent of a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th grader, please attend.  It is important that you understand how your child will be tested, and what you can do to support.

Lastly, Friday is a big day for many reasons:  Jump Rope for Heart permission slips are due, it is the final day to prepay for the Spaghetti Dinner, and of course, it’s Go Texan Day!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Welcome to Anti Bullying Awareness Week

At Durham, we continue to work hard to encourage positive behavior. This week, we will shift our focus from being “me-centered” to “we-centered.”  Each teacher will be sharing Carol McCloud's book Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  The book teaches children how to give back and care about others as well as themselves.  If we focus on positive behaviors, we will not have to worry about students being bullied, or students bullying others. 
The book explains that we all carry an invisible bucket in which we keep our good thoughts and feelings about ourselves. This bucket represents our social and emotional health. When our buckets are full, we are happy; when our buckets are empty, we are sad.

So how do we fill our bucket or someone else's bucket? You fill a bucket when you show love to someone, when you smile, make someone feel special or do something kind. That’s being a bucket filler. A bucket filler is someone who says or does nice things to other people. Bucket fillers are those who help without being asked or give hugs and compliments. By filling other people's buckets, we fill our own bucket too!
What is a bucket dipper? Bucket dippers rob us of happy feelings by refusing to help with a task, by saying or doing mean things, by making fun of someone or by ignoring or excluding someone. Bucket dippers act this way because they have empty buckets. They think that they can fill their bucket by dipping into our bucket, but that will never work. A bully is an example of a bucket dipper.

Do we need a lid on our bucket? Yes, to keep the dippers out! The reason that bucket dippers act mean is because their buckets are empty. Their actions usually don’t have anything to do with us, and if we understand that then it helps to keep our bucket full, thereby preventing others from dipping into our bucket.

Always remember that everyone carries an invisible bucket. What can you say or do to fill someone's bucket today? You can say hi, smile, invite a new friend to play, write a thank you note, hold the door, carry groceries for an elderly neighbor, read to a younger sibling, help someone with homework, help tie someone’s shoes, or simply ask someone if they need a hand. There are so many things that you can do to fill someone’s bucket. Remember, when you fill someone’s bucket, you fill your own bucket too!

We need everyone's help in creating a bucket filling school. You can be a bucket filler to anyone; the Dunkin' Donuts cashier, the gas station attendant, the waiter or waitress who serves you, the grocery store cashier, the bus driver, coworkers, friends and family or anyone that crosses your path each day. If we remember to be bucket fillers at home, school, work, and in our communities every day, then everywhere we go will be a better place. The little things we say and do affect others in a very significant way and make a difference.

I enthusiastically recommend that you purchase an individual copy that you can reread at home from time to time.  You may want to consider creating a space at home to keep track of all the bucket filling happening in your lives, or create a family journal for everyone to share their selfless acts of kindness daily.  In support of the 100th day of school on Tuesday, set a goal of doing 100 acts of kindness.  When do you think you will accomplish this goal?
Most importantly, please be mindful that the behaviors you display will matter more than the words in any given book, so be sure to be the example that your children need to be successful citizens.

For more information on bullying awareness, please visit