Bucket Filler Activities: Four Ideas to Promote Kindness in the Classroom

Teaching children about kindness and friendship is more than a feel-good exercise, it has flow-on benefits to all areas of learning. 

We know - from research and plain old human experience - that kindness breeds happiness, gratitude and confidence. It can also positively impact mental health, social and emotional health and connectedness. And when children feel safe, their concentration, performance and learning improve.

We don’t learn about true kindness from textbooks or standardised assessments, we learn from experience. From acts of kindness, genuine connections, and from people who model kindness authentically.

So, today I’m sharing kindness activities - they’ll provide the space and opportunity for your students to act with kindness and receive it in turn. 

 Don’t you just love to see kindness reflected in classroom decor? Images via @miss_grosse_ and @kinder.withem

 

1. Create Bucket Fillers

The first activity comes via the wonderful Sabrinna of @teachinglittlemindss over on Instagram. 

Sabrinna explains, “Each time a student is on task, caught being a leader, kind, helping others or just having a great day, they are told to fill their bucket. Students place one pom-pom at a time into their bucket each time they are caught being a bucket filler.”

Sabrinna’s not just clever, she’s got great taste in classroom decor too! ;)

Every Friday students count their pom-poms and can exchange them for a treasure or save them up to spend later. There are three tiers of treasure worth 5, 10 or 20 pom-poms each. 

“Not only does this help with their understanding of saving and spending but it also helps them so much with counting and writing! And trust me this also teaches... PATIENCE!”

Isn’t this such a wonderful idea?

Sabrinna also creates a collective bucket for the class and encourages them to work together to earn a class party of their choice. 

She says, “I love the individual responsibility this gives each child while also encouraging collaborative work as a class. With a strong but positive classroom management system in place, students stay focused, attentive, on task, academically productive, organized and happy.”  

And the best part? You can pick up Sabrinna’s Bucket Filling Classroom Management worksheets from TPT!

So powerful!

 

2. Assign Special Jobs

Classroom jobs can be one of the most powerful teaching tools for both classroom management and teaching about kindness.

Class Listener - Selectively hand this out to children who need to resolve a conflict. Mediate a discussion and use the job card to emphasise listening rather than talking. This kind of mediated conflict can really help with social emotional learning.

Lunch Time Leader - If you see children feeling excluded, nominate a ‘Lunch Time Leader’ to start a game that includes anyone who is keen.

Compliment Captain - Give a student a secret mission to provide genuine compliments to five different students (who are not yet friends) throughout the day. It’s particularly useful for kids who have a tendency to tease, or bully. 

As an added bonus, ask the students to recount their classroom jobs - it’ll reinforce their learning and function as an extra writing lesson.

How gorgeous are these Boho Neutral classroom displays!?

 
 

3. Create a Kindness Zone

This kills two birds with one stone (wait - that feels like the wrong idiom for a blog post about kindness!). Either way, it’s a goodie.

Your classroom setups never fail to blow me away. Just gorgeous! Images via @mrshoneyy_ and @gorgizolotovs

Set up a kindness zone in your classroom. Using bunting or letter posters, designate a cosy corner as a kindness zone and fill it with:

  • Books about kindness and plenty of cushions to encourage reading sessions. Make this available where possible during recess as a refuge for kids who need a little quiet time.
  • Create an Affirmation Station to encourage self-confidence
  • Use Growth Mindset Display to help foster resilience and self-kindness
  • Display motivational posters as a visual reminder of your classroom values
Visual reminders of the importance of kindness can be so powerful!

 

4. Connect With the Community

When teaching about community helpers (like paramedics, nurses and police officers), set a writing exercise to write a letter of gratitude. Use the ‘Emotions Words List' and encourage students to sharpen their emotional skills by identifying the impact helpers make.

Real-world experiences and kind acts like - volunteering, random acts of kindness, donating to charity, Acts of Kindness Day or visiting a nursing home are also fantastic for fostering kindness and compassion - nothing beats experiential learning!

Gorgeous little displays of kindness via @missmcguirt @lololoveslearning

No activity will ever compare to what you teach students about kindness organically, just by being you. For some kids - their teacher is the kindest and safest grown-up they know. The way we model kindness, react and interact is powerful. And the culture of kindness and safety we create in our classrooms is incredibly important.

And as Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, ‘with great power comes great responsibility!

If you need help choosing resources to support your activities,  I’m always here to help! Shoot me a DM on Instagram, any time!

How could you *not* feel welcome walking into @learningwithmissmichellew and @_thehaileynicole’s classrooms!

 

 

ideas for promoting kindness in the classroom miss jacobs little learners

 

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