Monday, August 8, 2011

Bucket Fillers - Setting Up the Classroom Series

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!

Clutter-Free Classroom Guide to Organization and Management


  1. Thanks for the shoutout! I'm lovin' your blog!

  2. I love the idea of Bucket Fillers! I didn't do as much with it as I'd hoped to last year. Maybe this year.

  3. There is a teacher at my school that does these and I love the idea!!!!

  4. Great post! I just put up my buckets today and a teacher walked in wondering about them. She said...I think I've seen that somewhere can you tell me about them. Perfect way to get other teacher involved. Now I can send her to this link to see other ways to display buckets.

    Rambling About Reading

  5. THANK YOU! I wanted to incorporate this into my classroom this year but just didn't know where to start. It's as if you read my mind. :)

    Jamie @

  6. I saw that post on the Teaching in Flip Flops blog and I bought that organizer too! I got it at Michaels a few weeks ago when it was on clearance. When I went back the other day, they still had some there!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  7. Thanks for the great ideas! I'm using Conscious Discipline in my classroom this year and will be starting the year off with BF. I've struggled with keeping it going all year, but these bulletin boards will serve as a constant reminder and opportunity for building each other up. Thanks again!

  8. I used the little buckets from oriental trading last year. I also used the plastic shoe organizer like the one pictured above but I cut it in half. This way all of the student could reach their buckets and I attached each one to my cabinet doors. I taught K so I also used cotton balls as drops in their buckets and tied it in with behavior management as well...

    Learning in 2nd Grade

  9. I started a bucket filling system in my classroom too. The bulletin that you like with the clear little pockets is actually a jewelry organizer. I have the same exact one! I bought it at Maurices during Christmas time last year.

    You can see how I turned old dog food cans into the buckets on my blog here:

  10. Just saw the same jewelry organizer last week at Cato's fashions.

  11. Thank you so much for these ideas!


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