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Introducing "Bucket Filling" to Your Students

By Beth Newingham on August 8, 2012
  • Grades: 3–5

At the beginning of the school year, many teachers take time to create class rules with the help of the students. It is during this time that we read the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? The short book explains to students that we all carry an invisible bucket in which we keep our feelings about ourselves. When our buckets are full, we are happy; when they are empty, we are sad. It is important that students learn that when they fill a friend's bucket, they also fill their own bucket because it feels good to make others happy.

At this time, we also introduce the concept of being a bucket dipper. A bucket dipper is a person who hurts other people's feelings, essentially dipping into their invisible bucket. Since bullying is a common problem in schools, the concept of bucket dippers is often referred to as bullying.  

After we read the book and discuss the idea of filling buckets, we brainstorm a list of ways we can fill each other's buckets both in our classroom and around our school. After making the list on chart paper, we type up the students' ideas and create a poster that is hung above our bucket-filling display.

Comments (3)

This is a terrific idea! Does Scholastic sell the book?It would be great to view your poster for ways to fill the bucket,I sure would like to know if I am missing any thing,too.

Wonderful idea, I can't read the things you wrote however, sure would like to know if I am missing anything!

Hi Beth,
I am a fellow Michigan teacher, teaching basic resource 5/6th grade students in Brighton. At this age/grade, students at times can be unkind to another, so I am planning to start off the beginning of the school year with this theme. I am curious as to your 'ways to fill a bucket'. My students need concrete examples and I think having written examples of this is a good way to get them started, but I am having difficulty reading your picture. I will of course be adding the common-sense ideas, but was just curious what yours had in case I missed something. Thanks so much!

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