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Elementary Students Create Buckets for their own Bucket Fillers

Have you filled a bucket today?

Fourth and fifth grade students at Unadilla Valley Elementary School recently recognized family and friends who have “filled their buckets” by crafting clay buckets in art class.

Their sculptures are an extension of the school’s Bucket Filling Program, which is now in its fourth year at Unadilla Valley. Based on the book, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids,” the program serves as a fun way to foster character development. The book puts forth the concept that every person has an invisible bucket they carry around with them every day.

“The purpose of the art class project was to have kids thinking about someone who had filled their bucket recently,” Elementary School Counselor Sheri Houk said. “It could spark conversation between family members, community members and friends who don’t know about the Bucket Filling Program.”

Elementary art teacher Tresta Smith said the students have been working on their buckets for two months. Some will be given to parents; some to siblings; and some to friends. At least one student made a bucket for his cat.

“We did them out of real clay, so they had to and then be fired in the kiln. The students then painted them and decorated them,” Smith said. “I think they were excited to give them away. That was the point of it all along.”

Unlike the clay buckets made by the students, everyone’s personal bucket is invisible. But elementary classrooms at Unadilla Valley have a very visible classroom bucket that the students strive to fill. When a teacher sees good behavior from one student toward another, they put a small ball in the bucket. Classes get rewards for filling buckets. In the first few years of the program, the goal was to fill 50 buckets during the school year and it was met each year. That goal has been upped to 100 for this year, according to Houck.

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