The pupils in Dzierga's summer class were visited by Hall, a Lenox musician who regularly performs with Arlo Guthrie, on Monday afternoon.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The children in the summer school program were excited to return to Rosey Dzierga's classroom at Brayton Elementary School on Monday.
After all, they had a visitor — Terry "A La Berry" Hall, the well-known Lenox musician who performs a song the class has practiced over the last six weeks while learning about positive re-enforcement.
One child exclaimed, "This is the most exciting day of my life!"
Hall's visit highlights the kindergarten's summer session of the MindUp program, which strives to create an optimistic environment and re-enforces positive thinking and behavior.
Dzierga's class focuses on the lessons from the book "Have You Filled A Bucket Today" by Carol McCloud. According to the book, everyone carries a bucket, metaphorically, that can be filled with compliments and positive actions. Inversely, negative behavior empties the bucket.
Every pupil and assistant has a "bucket" hanging on the wall and each day they fill each other's buckets with messages written on paper stars.
Kindergarten teacher Rosey Dzierga holds two of the stars from Hall's 'bucket.'
"It's a really nice, good-feeling kind of thing," Dzierga said. "It's a real positive motivator."
"It's great when you see teachers who really care and make an effort," Hall said.
The class worked hard in preparation for Hall's appearance. On one wall, a blue banner hung with a cut-out of each student and assistant along the bottom. On the top center was a cut-out of Hall standing on the world, with a rising, crescent moon to his left and a setting sun on his right, which relates to the chorus of his song, "One People," which they practiced singing for weeks beforehand.
They also built Hall his own, bigger bucket, signed by each pupil and flowing with message-filled stars.
Just a couple minutes after recess, Hall entered the room to a loud applause from the 21 pupils. The class surprised him with his bucket before taking him through their daily routine — reading their bucket poem, singing their bucket song, and then singing "One People," written by Hall's friend Bobby Sweet.
"Whoa, this is great," Hall said as he received his bucket. "Oh, that's beautiful. Wow."
In unison, the class said the message on Hall's bucket, "You fill our buckets with music."
"The truth is, you are the guys that fill my bucket just by being here," Hall responded.
Afterward, the class accepted Hall's invitation to sing to the rest of the school with him in the cafeteria.
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