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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social emotional learning, SEL

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.


social emotional learning, SEL

social emotional learning, SEL

  social emotional learning, SEL

social emotional learning, SEL


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Annette Durbin

Annette has been an educator for 27 years working in the elementary classroom, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. A National Board Certificated Teacher, Annette focuses her research on accelerating learning and advancing achievement, personalizing instruction, technology, and leadership in the education field.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Sarah

    This is a fantastic book! My kids are just getting the concept and I know it will be our shelf for years to come

  2. Meagan

    I love these books. As a teacher, I used them every year at the beginning of the year when establishing our classroom culture! It was great because it gave us language to use to remind students: “Do you think that filled his bucket?”

    1. Annette Durbin

      These are perfect to build classroom community!!! My school is engaging in “The Kindness Challenge” this week, and we brought this book back out to continue building upon our learning (and I tied a writing lesson in, too).

    1. Annette Durbin

      Hello! I’m glad you found this post beneficial to share with others at the Kid Culture Blog. This topic is of value to all parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.

  3. Stephanie

    I love this idea of filling someone’s bucket. We used this as a school one year when I taught. And a blast from the past with seeing some of the other books listed.

    1. Annette Durbin

      Yes, just a little note of kindness can really make someone’s day!!


    Sounds like a great book that I should have here for my grandson. Thanks for the insight. I will check it out.

  5. Cindy

    We have a huge library at home as well. I love books that focus on social-emotional intelligence. Thank you for the book suggestion!

  6. This sounds like a great book to add to our home library! I love your ideas for adding to the lesson… Our girls just got a ton of new books for Christmas, but I’m definitely going to bookmark this for later!

    1. Annette Durbin

      I’m glad your girls have a home library!! This would be a great one to add.
      Have a blessed New Year!!

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