Inspiring Collaboration Guest Post

Today I'm overjoyed because one of my cyberspace counseling colleagues has agreed to tell us about a strong cross-curricular collaboration that resulted in an assembly idea that I predict will be music to your ears. Please give a warm Corner welcome to School Psychologist (and my friend!) Julie Gordon-Buccitti.


Hello from Overbrook Elementary!                                                                                           
We were so delighted to be invited by Barbara to share with you about our special whole-school collaborative project that we initiated this year. Our collaboration is a unique one, since we’re not aware of any other school psychologist and music teacher collaboratives in our area. Bringing our disciplines together made sense though, as music is a wonderful therapeutic medium and avenue for self-expression!
Overbrook is a kindergarten through grade 2 school, that has been distinguished as a PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) Model Demonstration School. It was one of just two schools in the state of Connecticut last year to receive this honor!

With the support of our amazing principal, Diane MacKinnon, and our wonderful staff at Overbrook, we were able to create such excitement throughout our school. We began with a series of co-taught lessons that took place during our music classes and focused on the work of Carol McCloud, author of Have You Filled a BucketToday? We included read-alouds, hands-on interactive tasks, written activities, songs, and instrumental music. My friend and colleague, Denise Martino, even wrote an original song that was perfect for our bucket-filling endeavor. With the help of some local businesses, who were kind enough to donate buckets to our project, the children used buckets as drums as they sang Denise’s beautiful and very catchy tune. We even caught children singing this tune at various times and locations throughout the day!

I also purchased the book in Spanish, as we have a large population of bilingual students at our school, and, with the help of our kind ELL Aide, Miss Claudia, I was able to co-teach a lesson in Spanish. I was so touched as our bilingual students helped me, as I was attempting to read and communicate! This was a good empathy lesson for me as I took on the challenges of using a language that I am not as familiar with.

In our school, there have been many social-emotional learning initiatives. Some of these initiatives have included whole group and small group lessons in classrooms and centers, whole group lunch lessons in the cafeteria, and co-teaching in our music classes. In addition, there are now plans underway for bringing social-emotional learning into gym class. It was my hope that by bringing social-emotional learning to our students across a variety of settings, that we would see carry-over of the skills taught into multiple settings throughout the school. Based on feedback I have received from students, staff, and parents, this is exactly what is happening.

Recently, Denise and I had the pleasure of putting together a Bucket-Filling assembly. This assembly was attended by our entire school, as well as community stakeholders like our Superintendent of Schools, Pupil Services Staff, and our local newspaper, The New Haven RegisterDuring our assembly, we incorporated a number of activities, making sure to include variety and opportunities for movement, in order to keep our little ones actively engaged. Our students performed Denise’s original song, there was a read-aloud, we all took a bucket-filling pledge together, and acted out some skits and asked our students to identify whether we were bucket filling or bucket dipping. Our students have become quite the bucket filling experts! We also made some special edition bucket filling PBIS tickets, to tie in bucket filling with our Model PBIS program already in place.

Click to download these special-edition tickets.

At the end of our assembly, we wrapped up with a bucket filling music video and our students and staff had so much fun singing and dancing. Both music teacher and school psychologist are being asked when the next bucket filling lesson will be taking place. I wonder if our littles know how much they fill our buckets each day.

Our assembly was also written up in our support staff and specialists’ newsletters to parents, so now our parents can use similar bucket filling terminology, and together we can reinforce the importance of being a bucket filler at school and at home.

It was truly heartwarming working together to make this project a success. So many staff members helped in so many ways. I owe a huge thank you to my wonderful collaborating partner Denise, too; our buckets are overflowing!

Thank you for allowing us to share our story and our excitement about this project with you. We look forward to continuing with our bucket filling work, and encouraging kindness throughout our school and community!

Julie Gordon-Buccitti, School Psychologist
Denise Martino, Music Teacher
Overbrook Elementary School 
A K-2 PBIS Model Demonstration School
East Haven, CT

 Thank you, Julie & Denise, for sharing your heartbeat with us;
we are positively inspired by your bucket-filling collaboration.

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