Have You Filled Your Bucket?

K-1 (can be adapted to higher grades)

Fostoria City Schools / Ginger

Andrea Dunn, School Counselor

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Caring, Kindness

Ginger with a little girl holding a bucket.


Students will identify statements/behaviors that show kindness and statements/behaviors that show people being unkind to others.

Students will think about strategies to make and keep friends by “filling buckets.”


Book about being kind or unkind (such as Have You Filled a Bucket Today?)

Cards (teacher-made or purchased) with pictures showing various situations involving kindness or being unkind. These could show picking up a dropped book for someone (kind) or shoving someone in the lunch line (unkind).

Bucket (to represent each person’s feelings)


Ask students what it means to care about someone. (Answers will vary.) Ask students how they feel when someone is unkind to them. (Answers will be such things as sad, angry, unhappy, etc.) Ask students how Ginger shows she cares about others (wagging her tail, approaching people gently, staying calm when being petted). Ask students how they can show Ginger they care about her (petting her gently, talking softly to her). Handler demonstrates gently petting Ginger and then circulates around the room to allow students to do the same.

Have students sit on the carpet with Ginger while you read the story to them. Have them practice being kind to Ginger as you read.

Once the story is finished, ask students to give examples/words that would help fill someone’s bucket (such as thank you, please, good job, etc.) or examples/words that would “dip” or take away from someone’s bucket (such as stupid, you stink, go away, etc.). Have the bucket in front of them to see. Use Ginger as an example. To fill Ginger’s bucket, we might say “good dog,” pet her, treat her, but to dip into her bucket we would be unkind by pulling her tail, yelling at her, hitting her. Tell students it works the same way with people.

Tell students you have cards they will draw to read and decide if the situation is one that would fill or dip into someone’s bucket. Following an individual student’s response, encourage the whole class to give a “thumbs up” for filling a bucket or a “thumbs down” for dipping into a bucket. End by talking about when we fill buckets, we can make and keep friends, but when we dip into people’s buckets, we lose friends.


Observe how many students understand the scenario cards with the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” activity. If necessary, meet individually or in small groups with those who do not seem to understand the differences.

For a Printable PDF of this Lesson Plan, download this file: AP-LessonPlan-FillYourBucket

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