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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Tabitha Helms

This week I got to teach one of my favorite object lessons based on the books by Carol McCloud and David Messing, How Full Is Your Bucket? and Have You Filled a Bucket Today?. 

About midway through the first quarter, students seem to reach that comfort level with each other that brings along the inevitable meanness and attitude. It's about the same time that tattling starts getting out of hand too, which makes sense. This is when I deem it necessary to bring in the bucket books. I read the first story to them and we talk about how buckets get filled and emptied and how that makes the person feel, and then I put on a video of the second story while I use masking tape to attach a picture of a bucket to each of their desks. I also leave a sheet of stickers on each of their tables.

I then give them an activity. I tell them about the bucket on each of their desks and the stickers they are going to get to use to fill other peoples' buckets. The catch was that they could only put a sticker in someone's bucket if they said something verbally to them to fill their imaginary bucket too. The sticker was just a way to show that their imaginary bucket was getting filled.


This is why it's one of my favorite lessons to teach. Listening to them go around to each other so eagerly, saying kind, loving words to each other, watching their faces light up with smiles, and hearing "thank you's" abound, melt my teacher heart.


I always get the kids that come ask me where my bucket is too, so I've had to add a bucket picture to my desk so they can come send me some love too.

The best thing about this message is that it's easy to understand, completely practical, and astonishing at how true it is. Even getting the same little compliments from my kiddos: "I like your dress, Miss Neal!" really brightens my day!

Just found these beauties online when I was looking for the picture of the book:

Might need to try those out next year!