Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Title: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Author: Carol McCloud
Publisher: Ferne Press
Type: Picture Book
Level: Ages 4-8
Pages: 32

Are you looking for a colorful addition to your character collection to inspire a habit of caring in your little sponges? Then check out Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.

This beautifully illustrated self-help story offers concrete ways for children to connect their feelings with their behavior by giving simple, everyday examples about filling metaphorical buckets: smiling at someone, writing a thank-you note, or giving a compliment.

Moving from “me-centered” to “we-centered” is a key aspect of the pillar of caring and is brought to life through this wonderful analogy.

When kids fill someone else’s bucket with a kindness, their own bucket also fills up, generating positive feelings and self-esteem. Students who take away our happy feelings with negative actions like ignoring, teasing, or bullying are bucket-dipping. It doesn’t work to fill one’s own bucket by dipping out of someone else’s.

After reading the book aloud and reflecting with students to soak up the concept, play a game of Filler or Dipper.

Use thumbs up to identify bucket-filling actions and thumbs down for bucket-dipping behaviors. Give students real-life scenarios such as: Your friend rolls her eyes at you. You offer to help your little sister tie her shoes. Your mom returns her shopping cart to the cart corral. You say “whatever!” to your brother. You laugh when your friend falls down. Your teacher compliments you.

Next, have students give examples from their lives. Process the differences between bucket-filling (caring) and bucket-dipping (uncaring) behaviors.

For more information and ideas, visit: www.bucketfillers101.com.

Barbara Gruener is a school counselor at Westwood Elementary, Friendswood, TX, a finalist in the 2008 CEP National School of Character Award.