How Full is Your Bucket is one of my favorite children’s picture books to date. It is packed with so many great messages for kids on how (and why) to be kind to one another, how (and why) to be inclusive, and the wonderful message that ALL our actions have consequences. What does it mean to fill your bucket? Well a bucket filler is a metaphor for doing nice things (little or big) for others. A not nice act takes a drop out of someone’s bucket. A nice act puts a drop in their bucket (and puts a drop in yours!). It visually demonstrates that our actions have an impact on others (and ourselves) and that our moods are a result of the cumulative impact of those small actions all around us. I love using bucket fillers both in my classroom and at home with my kids. I usually have a sign up that says “Have you filled a bucket today” which acts as a reminder to be kind to each other. When our buckets are full and our friends buckets our full, we are all happier people.
How full is your bucket?
I ALWAYS start my lessons by asking the students to make a prediction about the book. Making predictions is so important because it helps kids narrow in on the subject/topic as well as it triggers prior knowledge. Also, depending on what strategy you’re working on, making predictions helps to alleviate any stress or hesitations that students may have about getting the wrong answer. Reminder: MISTAKES ARE PROOF THAT YOU’RE TRYING! Say this to your kids over and over again. Falling is learning, mistakes mean you are trying, failure is ok as long as we don’t give up. They need to constantly hear that message so they can feel safe to challenge themselves.
Have you filled a bucket: The lesson
Here is how I would start my lesson. I would say:
The title of this book is “How full is your bucket?”. By looking at this cover, what do you think this book is going to be about? As students give their answers, I often follow-up with “How can you tell that? What about the cover tells you that? Remember, there are no wrong answers!”
Here are some of the answers my students gave:
Throughout reading “How full is your bucket” I continue to ask my student about making predictions about the pages to follow. For example, I would ask questions like:
- Have you filled a bucket today?
- How do you fill a bucket?
- Are you a bucket filler?
- How can you fill your bucket?
- Is there a time when you emptied a bucket? How did that make you feel?
The questions we can ask our kids are endless and focus on creating an environment where random acts of kindness, inclusivity, and just being kind to each other, really helps to make the world go round.
How full is your bucket activities:
After reading the book “How full is your bucket” I then ask the students questions like: Can you make a connection to this story? Have you filled a bucket today? Has someone emptied your bucket?
I like to write their answers down on chart paper as we brainstorm together. I find this really helps kids consolidate their knowledge, allowing them to apply the information learned!
The first follow-up activity for my students was to choose which are bucket fillers and which empty buckets. I love this activity because it really gets students to work together and discuss what makes them feel good and what make them feel badly.
The next set of activities focus on bucket fillers and what empty’s our bucket. I love spreading the activities out over a number of days or weeks as I find it continues to develop a supporting and inclusive environment in your classroom or home. Here are some examples of our writing activities. I’ve also included sentence starters and differentiated writing papers, so that you can differentiate within your classroom at home. I find this is so important, because it allows you (as the teacher/parent) to properly challenge and encourage each student’s individual needs.
The activities are truly endless with this book and can be extended throughout Kindergarten to Grade 6. You can adapt the activities to make them age appropriate as well. At the core, the main purpose is to teach and show by example, how when we are kind to one another, we are happier people ourselves. This, this makes the world go round. Let’s spread random acts of kindness.