Deposits & Withdraws to Our Emotional Bank Accounts

Every Friday, we dig into goal-setting work in my classroom, and it's turned into my most favorite time to teach! To see all of my goal-setting posts, click HERE or scroll to the bottom of this post to see what we've been up to.

This week, we started talking about Thinking Win-Win, especially when it comes to making deposits into each others (and my!) Emotional Bank Accounts. While we start each year with Bucket Filling and use that terminology throughout the year, I find this term is a nice change. It never hurts to hear it in a variety of ways, right?

We talked a lot about our personal Emotional Bank Accounts, but we also talked about our classroom's Emotional Bank Account, as well as mine and other teachers', students', and adults' who they interact with on a daily basis.

The addition of our classroom's Emotional Bank Account was something that really hit home-- I wanted to emphasize that the choices they make don't just have an individual impact. Oftentimes, their choices (both good and bad) have class-wide consequences. When they make these choices, they should be thinking about whether it's adding or subtracting from our classroom's Emotional Bank Account.

We generated some common deposits and withdraws that we have been seeing in our classroom. Since it's so close to Spring Break, but we've been snowed in, you can see that self-control is a large focus here!

I then passed out one green and one pink sticky note to each student and had them head back to their table spots. There, they generated one deposit (on the green) that they would make sometime next week. Similarly, on the pink, they thought of a withdraw they have been making and thought about how they could do something different to change that choice for next week.

When they had both of these filled out, they came up to the front board and place them next to our Anchor Chart:

I had them glance through each of the deposits and withdraws as they came up to add their own. We will revisit these next week, but it was very reassuring to see their goals reflected some of the concrete examples we had discussed and wanted to focus on:

Little deposits like these will add up to make a huge difference to our classroom community overall. I am also making a point to use the "deposit" language when it comes to clipping up in my classroom. I want my kids to know that their clip up means they have increased our class' Emotional Bank Account and that their choice has not only positively impacted themselves, but our classroom as a whole.

Find more Goal-Setting Posts here:


  1. I really like this. I do some of the bucket fillers as well but I like this as a new way to get the kids to buy in. I really like the sticky notes to have them be responsible for their learning.

    1. Thanks so much! I think the new language helped my kids think about it in another way, which is always a good thing :) Enjoy this with your class!

  2. I've been following along your goal posts and I love this one. Thank you!

  3. So what happens if they do one of their "withdrawls"?

  4. Character Education is a top priority for me in my 5th Grade classroom! This is such a great activity to go along with our "bucket filling" mentally at my school! Thank you for sharing! I've pinned this post for "Back to School!"

    I hope you don't mind, but I just featured one of your blog posts of Word of the Day on my newly started blog! After seeing it on your blog, I gave it a try and love it! Thank you so much for sharing! This is my first time trying to link my blog in a comment, so if it doesn't work you can always go to! Thanks!


  5. Goal setting is so great at this age, my students really enjoyed setting their own personal AR Goals. I LOVE your Deposit/Withdrawal Idea and having your students write down examples. I may snag this idea in my class.

    One thing I've seen is students setting daily goals and posting them on the front board to see if they can reach it. I like the idea of setting weekly goals.

    Fishing for Education Blog

  6. I was looking for a way to start the new year, and I've found it! This is really wonderful. I have second graders and I think this will be great for them. It give them a chance to think about their behavior and how they can make positive choices. Behavior issues can be so negative some times. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again!