How Full is Your Heart?

Besides learning how to read and do math, Kindergarten is an important time for children to learn how to be a good friend and to realize how what they say or do affects others. One way that concretely teaches these concepts is to have students visualize a bucket above their heads. When they say or do something kind or someone does something positive for them, a drop of water is added to the bucket. If the child is sad or angry or someone says something unkind to them, a drop of water falls out of the bucket. We talk a lot about being “bucket fillers.” There is a wonderful book that illustrates this concept beautifully:

After reading this book aloud to the class, I introduced a special project. Over the course of two weeks, the kindergarteners would be working to fill up the hearts of their classmates by writing everyone a special note. I showed students the template that I created to help with this process:

I wrote an example for the students that demonstrated just how personal I wanted each of the notes to be:

I showed the students how we would “fill up” each others’ hearts with these heartfelt notes, reading them aloud with our parents at our Valentine’s Day party.

Heart envelopes

The students were eager to get started.

They were encouraged to use best guess spelling, spaces between words, beginning capitalization, and ending punctuation.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the thoughtful notes:

I am so excited to see the children’s reactions when they read their special notes.



With all that has happened these past six or so weeks, I continue to feel grateful for the acts of kindness my family and I have received. Additionally, Girl’s Inc. has been very kind in sharing their space with us. The acts of kindness go on and on!

Students do kind acts all the time, and I really want to point out to them how much even the smallest act of kindness means. I have made a special spot in our classroom to record acts of kindness. Students can “tattle” on a friend, telling me when they witness an act of kindness. I then write the students’ name of a heart sticker and place it on our “Kindness Counts” heart. From pushing in a friends chair without being asked, to helping up a peer after he fell, I am proud to say these students are full of kindness! Look at all the acts of kindness I have caught these past few weeks!

I think this heart will be full by the end of February!

Students also have been writing compliments to one another based on the book How Full is Your Bucket? This book shares the story that we each have an imaginary bucket of water over our heads. As we make mistakes, are teased, or maybe forget something, the drops of water fall out of the bucket. But, when we receive or give a compliment, or something positive happens, the bucket refills! So during these past few weeks, we have been working to fill each others’ hearts. Remember this bulletin board?

Our writing activity culminated at the Valentine’s Party, where students read each of their love notes with their family members. Here are some examples of the compliments the students wrote.

Students were encouraged to spell each word using their best guess spelling. This means they spelled each word using the sounds that they hear. As the school year progresses, spelling in kindergarten will transition from best guess to more conventional. It is always fun to watch this transformation!