Cultivating Caring - Filling Buckets of Caring Carrots
Bower Hill Elementary School

Every year, Bower Hill chooses a theme to integrate into instruction and school culture throughout the school year. The theme for 2008-09 is “Growing Towards Excellence.” Working within that theme, the Character Counts Committee has adopted “Growing Together – Sowing Seeds of Character.”

Students will be able to discuss, recognize, and demonstrate ways of caring for others, objects and themselves.

  1. Book: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
  2. Construction paper (orange for carrot, green for stem for carrot, yellow for bucket created to display)
  3. Butcher-block paper, whiteboard, or chalkboard
  4. Markers, pencils, crayons
  5. Plastic bucket for each classroom
  6. Individual construction paper carrots for each class to use during the weeks

Anticipatory Set:

  1. The teacher will introduce an example, connecting various ways that demonstrate “how we care” to curricular themes and real-life experiences. (One strategy would be referring to the actions of characters in previously studied language arts stories.)
  2. The teacher will facilitate a brainstorming discussion with students about the people and things about which they care. Key points are listed on butcher-block paper or white board. Picture symbols may represent ideas also (in kindergarten and first grade classrooms).


  1. The teacher will read the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.
  2. As the story is being read, students are encouraged to share ways that they can relate their personal experiences to the topics. These topics are added to the brainstorming list posted.
  3. After the conclusion of the story, the teacher will add various ways of demonstrating caring to the list on the board.  The teacher will explain and model identified character traits. Students will be selected to act out various situations to portray the character traits. (Third grade students can adapt the story into a readers’ theater activity. The use of dramatic play is a strong reinforcer of new skills.)
  4. Orange construction paper carrots and yellow construction paper buckets are distributed to each classroom. During a class meeting, students will decide which examples of caring they would like to represent their definition and examples of caring for themselves or others. Using a dark marker, a student will write on the carrot and bucket what they have learned about caring. The classroom carrots are placed “in the buckets” and displayed in the hallway.


The teacher will display a real bucket in the front of the classroom. Orange construction paper carrots are distributed to the students to place on their desks.  When the teacher or student recognizes a caring action, he/she will describe or draw it on a carrot and place it into the bucket. At the end of the day/week, the teacher will read all carrots to the class during the class meeting.
The “Caring Carrots” placed in the class bucket will represent an understanding of the character theme of caring. Students can write a reflection in their journals (primary students can draw a carrot) detailing what they have learned and how they could have shown caring in other ways, further increasing understanding of the traits. Students are encouraged to cite real-life connections from outside of the classroom.