Social skills are so important to include in our students curriculum and I know Sasha has been sharing some great social thinking goals and ideas with you.  I thought I would share something I’m doing with some of my students to work on building up those social skills.  I’m really lucky to be able to teach a whole class social thinking lesson once a week at both of my schools in 2 different kindergarten classrooms.  It would be great to have more time in classrooms and with all my students to work on social thinking skills but we do what we can. 

Since Valentine’s Day is this month and we talk about feelings and thinking about others I’m doing a whole unit this month around the book “Have you Filled a Bucket Today?”  A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud.  Some of you may be familiar with this book or using it with your students.  I really like using this book with my students.

First I read the book to the students.  It talks about how everyone carries around an invisible bucket and we can fill each other’s buckets by doing or saying kind things to others.  I bring in a real bucket to show the kids and we talk about what invisible means and that you can see my bucket but then I have another teacher pretend to hold up a bucket so the students realize they can’t see that bucket. 

I engage the students while reading the book and we stop and talk about ways to fill a person’s bucket and how it makes another person feel.  We practice making happy faces to our friends.  

Then we talk about “bucket dipping” and what behaviors cause us to dip into someone’s bucket and make them sad.  Our friends do not like it when we dip into their bucket and it makes that have not good thoughts about us. 

After we finished reading the book, I passed out foam hearts since it’s close to Valentine’s Day and the students each said something that they could do to fill someone’s bucket as they placed the heart into my bucket.  It’s important to help children have the visual picture of filling someone’s bucket.  My students came up with some great ideas such as “sharing toys”, “smiling at a friend”, “cleaning up toys”, “giving a high five” “saying hi to a friend”, or “letting a classmate play with you at recess”.  I tried to help my students think of different ideas which are things they do every day.  They like to see the bucket fill up as they dropped in the hearts. 

For the next session, I came in and we reviewed the concept of “bucket filling” and “bucket dipping”.  I’m also thankful because both teachers I work with use the same language so the students don’t just hear it from me one time and forget it.  We made a list on the board of some bucket filling ideas.  Then, each student wrote how they were going to fill someone’s bucket on a heart.  We hung all the hearts on the bulletin board.  Then we wrote the word love in all different languages just to include how we all are different but acts of kindness can be done in any culture.

I’m also reading “Bucket Filling from A to Z:  The Key to Being Happy”.  This is great because it goes through the alphabet and has something kind for each letter of the alphabet. 

I made copies of “My Very Own Bucket Filling from A to Z Coloring Book”.  Each student in the class will color one of the pictures.  The student will stand up and share about his or her picture.  We talk about how being a good listener is filling the presenter’s bucket.  We practice using our “whole body” listening skills so each student gets a turn to share.  It’s super cute to bind the book together so the students can add the book to the class library. 

There are so many great ideas and resources available around this concept!  I really enjoy teaching about Bucket Filling!!!