For teachers, “have you filled someone’s bucket today?” is often a common phrase we use. I said this phrase to my friend the other day, however, and quickly realized that she had no idea what I meant. After this encounter, I decided to take a full day last Friday and have a “bucket-filling” day with my students.
For those who do not know, there is a book called Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by: Carol McCloud. There are other versions of the story as well, such as How Full Is Your Bucket? by: Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. The basis of the book is to spread awareness of how your actions and words affect other people. We all have “imaginary buckets” that either fill up or drip out depending on how other people are treating us. Our buckets are filled when someone does something nice for us, or using kind words when speaking to us. Our buckets dip, however, when someone says or does mean things that make us feel bad. Overall, the concept is to encourage kids to understand that their actions can affect other people, both in a negative or positive way depending on what they do.
To start the day, I read the story to the students. We held our “imaginary buckets” above our head, and practiced by using different scenarios to demonstrate if our buckets would dip, or if they would fill up depending on the situation. We created a class poster together that describes what being a Bucket-Filling Classroom looks like, sounds like, and feels like. We also colored and designed what we were imagining our own buckets to look like, so that at all times we can picture how our bucket is feeling throughout the day. At the end of the day, I created “Bucket-Filler Awards,” and presented them to each student. The best part was watching the other students cheer for their classmates when they received their awards (which filled EVERYONE’S bucket!)
My favorite part of the day, however, was when I introduced our Compliment Circle. A Compliment Circle looks like this: everyone sits in a circle on the rug with their knees up. We go around the circle giving everyone a chance to give another student in the room a compliment. Once you have received a compliment, you put your legs down straight so that another person gets chosen the next time. By the end once everyone has had a chance to speak, every single person in the room will have received a compliment! We used sentence starters such as I think you are… I like how you… Thank you for… You are good at… You were a good friend when… and so on. It was amazing to see how happy the students were to receive and give compliments to their friends, and it was great to see them fill each other’s buckets!