Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

Author: Carol McCloud
Illustrator: David Messing 
Grade Level: K-3

Buy it here!

Link to Bucket Fillers inc
How to incorporate "Bucket Filling" in the classroom

Summary: This award winning book uses a metaphor of a bucket to illustrate how being kind to others helps fill a person with happiness. Everyone has an invisible bucket that can either be filled or dipped into. The book shows how being kind, considerate and respectful to those around us ultimately helps us feel better about ourselves. The illustrations portray a variety of characters of all ethnicities, ages, sizes and abilities engaging in and learning how to make yourself happy and feel good by being and doing nice things for others. The book can fit a large audience, and can be made accessible by being read aloud to children at a young age.

Element 5 - Raising Awareness: By taking relatively abstract concepts such as caring and respect, the creators of this book give a holistic guide in how to improve quality of life for yourself and for those around you by being kind and considerate towards others. The book shows people interacting with others and making good choices that end up filling buckets. It also shows what happens when people make bad choices that dip into the well-being and happiness of others and leave their own bucket empty and them feeling sad. The book is a good guide that shows individuals of all ages leading with example and acting in ways that promote respect and combat bullying and discrimination.

Activity: Carol McCloud, the author of the book is co-founder of the company Bucket Fillers who besides distributing publications runs a website with a variety of resources for parents, teachers and community members. For my activity I would read the book together with my students and create a system of awareness that encourages the class to actively think about filling buckets. I would use the Bucket Filling Journal Questioner Page from the Bucket Fillers webpage on a regular basis. Through answering the questions truthfully the students will gain insight into their own behavior and be able to see how every action has a cause and effect sequence. The webpage also provides Journal Pages thats students can use to write freely in on related "bucket filling" topics and track their actions and feelings. I would be sure to incorporate "bucket filling" thinking throughout the school year and hand out "I am a bucket filler" awards to students and ask them in turn to identify people in their surroundings that they think have earned an award as well.  

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