Life in the Classroom

Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

Using children’s literature to build social-emotional and literacy skills is always a focus when I teach.  I love when I can use one book for so many engaging lessons and build my classroom community. Whether you have a classroom of 25 students or a family of a few kiddos, this book (and others at the end of this post) are wonderful learning opportunities and seeds to further discussion with your learners.

I’m loving this book, Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, by Carol McCloud.

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This is a great read for parents and teachers looking to provide examples and ideas with children about treating others with kindness, showing appreciation, and being respectful.  Although the book focuses on providing positive examples, there are examples of what happens when a person is not being nice to a friend or family member.  This conversation provides opportunities for comparing and contrasting how our actions impact others.

This book can also be a spring board in discussing  the term “character traits” in literacy lessons for teachers and life lessons for parents. There are a variety of character traits such as giving, kindness, helping others, feeling good about doing good for others are a few.  Besides a literacy and social-emotional lesson focus, you could easily use this to build community within a classroom or family setting.

Another springboard is to engage children in an art lesson by making a bucket for oneself and/or others, then looking for the positives to build up others’ buckets.  Notes can be written or pictures drawn (littles) on small pieces of paper and deposited into the buckets.  At the end of the day, the notes can be shared with the class or family to celebrate each other.

I’ve shared a variety of opportunities to use this book in the classroom and at home.  Do you see why I’m loving this book!!!  ALSO, check out the Bucket Filler website!  There are a variety of resources available to assist the lessons that you plan to teach.

Whether you are building classroom community, family dynamics or teaching literacy or social emotional lessons, this is a great book that kiddos ages 4 – 10.  These children can easily relate to and feel happy about bringing others happiness.

Here are some additional books that you may like to use for your classroom and family!  I’ve used each of these books for a variety of lessons; however, my main focus was building classroom community first.  Throughout the year, I can read these books again with a learning lesson focus – usually literacy – either a reading skill/strategy or writing author’s craft.  My kiddos still loved listening to these books each time with a different focus lens.  If you need lesson ideas, just ask me.  I’m working on getting some posted to my TpT store: The Digital Teacher Store.


Annette has been an educator for 26 years working in the classroom, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. Her research focuses on learning, technology, and leadership.

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