Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Doby’s Mill Elementary School

Through a story and some fun, meaningful activities, students will learn about the concept of “bucket-filling” and will have the opportunity to practice this exercise in the classroom. The lesson’s purpose is to give students an awareness of how their choices (words & actions) can make a difference in their lives as well as those of others.

  • Students will be able to identify things they can do and say to be a ”bucket filler."
  • Students will be able to classify behaviors as either "bucket fillers" or "bucket dipper."
  • Students will be able to name reasons to be a ”bucket filler."
  • Students will be able to fill the buckets of their friends and classmates as well as have their own buckets filled.

  1. "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" By Carol McCloud (Nelson Publishing & Marketing, 2007)
  2. Large sand bucket Cards illustrating “Bucket Filler” and “Bucket Dipper” behaviors
    Clear plastic Solo cups, one per student
  3. Pipe cleaners, one per student
  4. Message forms for writing compliments

  • Teacher will write the words “Respect,” “Responsibility,” and “Caring” on the board.
  • Teacher will lead the class in a discussion about the meanings of these character traits.
  • Teacher will tell students that they are going to learn about another way they can show respect, make responsible choices and be caring each day, in and out of school.
  • Teacher will show class a large sand bucket and solicit ideas from students about what it is and why the teacher has it. After interest has built, the teacher will read “Have you Filled a Bucket Today?” to the class. Questioning and class discussion will take place throughout reading.

Examples are:

  1. Does everyone in our class carry an invisible bucket?
  2. How can you tell if someone’s bucket is empty or full?
  3. How do you feel when your bucket is empty? Full?
  4. What can you do to fill someone’s bucket? How does that make you feel?
  5. What happens to your bucket when you dip into someone else’s?
  6. People who choose to bully, are they bucket dippers or fillers? Are their buckets full?
  7. What can we do here, in our class and school, to make sure that everyone’s bucket is full?

Guided Practice:
After reading the book, the teacher will lead a “Sorting Activity” in which students will identify behaviors and comments as either “bucket fillers” or “bucket dippers.” Those who are “bucket fillers” will go in the large sand bucket and those that are “bucket dippers” will go in the trash can!

Additional examples of compliments should be taken and put into the bucket to aide with ideas for the next activity.

Class Activity:
Following the guided activity, students will be given directions for the “Bucket Filling Activity.” The teachers should distribute one clear plastic cup (which has had holes punched on either side), a pipe cleaner, and a paper label to each student. The teacher will instruct students to use the pipe cleaner to form a handle, write their name on their label, and then attach the label to the front of their bucket. Students will then be told that they are going to take some time to fill each other’s buckets. Students will rotate around the room to every other student’s bucket. In each classmate’s bucket, they will write a compliment or something they like about that person. At the end of the activity, each student has a bucket that is filled with kind words and special thoughts! Buckets should be done for the teachers in the class as well.

At the conclusion of this lesson, it is necessary to give students time to study their own buckets and to share thoughts and feelings regarding the activity. Buckets can be displayed or may be taken home to share with families
Assessment will best take place through class discussion, student feedback and class reaction to the activity. Additional observational assessment can occur through integration of concept and vocabulary, as well as monitoring of positive student interaction.