Caught You Doing Something Nice! & Character Education

01 November 2011
Caught You Doing Something Nice Cards
Positive reinforcement goes a long way in promoting good behavior.  I  recognize students who have done something nice by presenting them with a "Caught You Doing Something Nice!" card.  Sometimes, I like to note the positive behavior on the back of the card.  I also allow the students to get a ticket.  In my classroom, five tickets can be cashed in for a prize from the prize box.  Click on the picture to download these cards for free!
Bucket Fillers and Character Education
My school's new principal would like to implement some sort of character education program and I think it is a wonderful idea.  She already recognizes students who "do something nice" by making an announcement over the loud speaker and by giving them a "Caught You Doing Something Nice!" pencil.  I recently had her announce one of my students, who went out of her way to be a good friend.  My class was so proud and the student was beaming!

I remember seeing some beautiful "Bucket Filler" bulletin board displays on blogs and decided do some research using Google Reader.  Through Google Reader, I was able to search all the blogs I follow for the term "Bucket Filler."  I took a screen shot of the website/blog's button and attached a direct link to their "Bucket Filler" posts.  I plan on sharing these links with my principal and colleagues.  Here are some great posts I found:
After exhausting my search for "Bucket Fillers," I searched for "Character Education."  These websites/blogs had great posts on Character Education:

Great Read Aloud Books to Promote Character Education:

Please, comment below with an idea or a link to a post/website on "Character Education," "Bucket Fillers/Bucket Dippers," and/or "Bullying."  
*Don't forget to fill the buckets of the bloggers you check out for ideas!


  1. Thanks so much for the shout out Erica! Bucket filling rocks! My classroom gets along so much better since I started bucket filling & it's so exciting to watch! Love your blog!
    Peace, Mel D
    Oh the Places We’ll Go

  2. You are well on your way to overflowing your bucket!

    I use real miniature buckets in my 2nd grade classroom from oriental trading. We write notes to each other about how someone has filled your bucket. When I taught K, I would put a "drop" in their bucket (aka cotton ball)for good behavior and they could trade them in for rewards at the end of each week. My students in 2nd love reading their notes every Friday.

    We also have 3 character traits that we work on as a school district: respect, responsibility and caring. We have character trees (with bare limbs) painted in the hallway. When we notice a student fullfilling one of these traits, we give them one of those types of leaves. (they are 3 different colors) They also announce the child's name on the morning announcements and a certificate goes home with the child. We also have a quote of the week that is read daily on the announcements.

    Just some more ideas for you...

  3. SO cute these little cards are!! Thanks for the shout out on my bucket fillers art!
    Kerri B

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful information! I needed more positives for my class! Thank you!
    Crayons and Curls

  5. Thanks for the shout out girl! What a great collection of resources you have here! You rock!!!!!

  6. Thank you. I can really use all this!

    Grade ONEderful

  7. Thanks for these sweet girl! I printed off 10 pages and plan to start using them immediately for those kiddos reminding others to keep their hands to themselves! Man, if I had a dollar for everytime I've said that this year, I'd be able to quit teaching, I'd be so rich. :)

    Hope your November has started off nothing short of amazing!

    Marcy @

  8. We are getting ready to become a school of character this year and I have some character ed activities on my blog. Stop by and grab some ideas.

  9. Watch out! It has been proven that rewarding children for good behavior has unintended negative consequences.

    Effects of Rewards on Children's Prosocial Motivation: A Socialization Study - Richard A. Fabes et al., Developmental Psychology, vol. 25, 1989

    "In a troubling study conducted by Joan Grusec at the University of Toronto, young children who were frequently praised for displays of generosity tended to be slightly less generous on an everyday basis than other children were. Every time they had heard "Good sharing!" or "I-m so proud of you for helping," they became a little less interested in sharing or helping. Those actions came to be seen not as something valuable in their own right but as something they had to do to get that reaction again from an adult. Generosity became a means to an end."

    Reversing the Perceived Moral Decline in American Schools: A Critical Literature Review of America’s Attempt at Character Education - Joseph Garland Whitley, The College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
    School of Education

    "While improved behavior in schools is desirable, associating character education with better behavior can be quite dangerous. As outlined by Alfie Kohn, children are often rewarded with “behavior bucks” or other incentives in character education programs (Noll, 2006). The danger in this is that, over time, a student’s intrinsic motivation is eroded in favor of extrinsic, or external, motivating factors (Noll, 2006). Kohn uses the powerful image of students as dogs to illustrate this point. Over time, students will no longer exhibit good behavior unless they are given their “doggie treat,” or reward, destroying any hope of intrinsically motivating students (Noll, 2006). Most character education programs fail to draw on the experience of Brookside Elementary School, as previously outlined, and inadvertently destroy intrinsic motivation in the process. Because character education programs frequently rely on this type of motivation, they are quite dangerous to the overall moral development of the child in the absence of any external motivation."

    The Risks of Rewards - Alfie Kohn EDO-PS-94-14 December 1994

    "At least two dozen studies have shown that people expecting to receive a reward for completing a task (or for doing it successfully) simply do not perform as well as those who expect nothing ."

  10. I have a miniature bucket in my classroom too. I cut out foam hearts and we use it as a whole class incentive. Once the bucket is full - we celebrate with some simple bucket-filling celebration.

    Our school does "Quality Cards" the teachers all walk around with Quality Cards and when we catch a whole class, or an individual "doing the right thing" we give them a quality card. Each class sets their own class goal/incentive. It sure did change the whole feel of our school when focusing on the positive.

    The authors of the whole bucket filling concept are from Michigan, and live not too far away from my district, so they've come and spoke with our kids and do a wonderful presentation.

    I filled your bucket just the other day by giving you a shout out on my blog! Stop by and see! :)

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  11. erica! these are great resources! thanks, cutie! :)

  12. I got a presentation from college on character education that's why i am browsing to find out some good and related information on web. After all this i will like to say thanks to you for posting that info.

  13. Great post. I wonder do you use character ed in your class room? If so how does that work. I've heard a bit about it but would like to know more.

  14. Thanks for the "Caught Doing Something Nice" Freebie. I will definitely be able to use them in my classroom and I love the small size so they are handy when those unexpected moments arise:)


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