This post is part of my Setting Up Your Classroom Series. Click here to see other posts from the series.

If you are cruising around the teacher blogosphere you are sure to come across "Bucket Fillers." This will be the first year that I am using it in my classroom, but I love the concept. The idea of Bucket Fillers is based on Dr. Donald O. Clifton's metaphor of the bucket and the dipper and there are several books available to compliment this idea. Most popular is Carol McCloud's Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Happiness for Kids.
The idea is simple: We all carry around an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great. To honor this idea teachers are creating displays of tangible buckets and encouraging their students to fill the buckets of others with kind words and gestures.
In my classroom I plan to:
  • Provide each student with a class list and columns to make check marks to track the buckets they have filled.
  • Present mini-lessons modeling how to properly write a complimentary note to someone.
  • Provide materials in our writing center to encourage my friends to write compliments.
Below are some bucket-filler displays to inspire you and some links for additional information on how others are using and managing this program.
  • Mrs. Walker's Resource Page
  • Rachelle from What the Teacher Wants has a post dedicated to bucket filling with some cute resources she has shared for free.
  • Miss Powell explains the program very well on her site.
  • Beth Newingham does it a bit differently. In her classroom, students fill their own buckets through acts of kindness towards others. She has a thorough write-up on her blog.

This is actually a small display which got me thinking that some sort of spice rack might be a good option for some of you.

This is a cute way to hang the buckets.

My mission du jour is to find this for my classroom. It matches my color scheme. I love how you can see who needs filling and hopefully this will encourage my friends to take care of each other and the size is perfect. It's from Flip Flop Teacher.
Ribbon on a bucket handle=fabulous!

  • Ummmm...it's a list. Y'all know girlfriend here loves a list.
  • I assume it was created with the class which is always important for creating ownership and anchoring learning.
  • It's a visually reminder that is always present. I find that bucket filling and all the other things like it tend to get "stale" with time. This could encourage children to keep it going strong.
  • It includes clear cut examples.
  • I already have my students "filling buckets" so this makes perfect sense.

Pick and click any or all of the options below.

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