Thursday, April 27, 2017

Creating a Calm Down Bottle in the Classroom...and Making it Educational!

Hi everyone! How beautiful are those calm down bottles that have been all over Pinterest!?! They are so much fun to make and are a great tool if you have students who need some guidance regulating their emotions. If students are feeling angry, frustrated, or anxious they just shake up the bottle and watch the glitter settle. It is a great little break for your little ones!

I love creating things and having fun with my students!! Unfortunately, with all of the demands placed on us as teachers and the limited time we have, it's easy to feel guilty when you give up class time to do a fun craftivity! If this is something you have felt guilty about, don't worry! I've got some tips and resources to make this into a fun, creative, and academically appropriate lesson! Yay!

Glitter and bright colors. What's not to love?

To alleviate some of my "teacher guilt" regarding not making this lesson academic, I targeted a few areas my students needed that would fit with the activity. My students need work on: comprehension, writing, and following directions. To address comprehension I framed this activity as a sequencing lesson that also targeted some direction following. When we finished, we were able to write about what we did.



To start the lesson, I show my students the finished bottle and what we will be creating. I them tell them that I have some bad news... all of the steps got out of order and now I don't know how to make the calm down bottle! Oh no...

 I have all seven of the steps to create the bottles mixed up in my pocket chart and some of the steps on the floor. I tell my students the pocket chart tipped over.... Of course they are eager to help put it together!
All mixed up!?! Have your students help you fix it first!
Get the steps ready to be printed by clicking the photo.
*If you don't have a pocket chart, you can always glue the steps in order to a piece of large paper or posterboard.

Next, we work together to put the steps in order. If students mix up the order of the steps, we talk through it and I can model whether or not the step would work. For example, if she students suggest shaking up the bottle before you put the lid on, you can talk about what would happen! It's a great way to show students the importance of sequencing all the steps in order!


Once, the steps are in order, we are ready to make the bottles! If you have a smaller number of students or can get some donations for things like water bottles, you can have students make their own! If you have a larger class, you can always make one bottle together! Get a letter to ask for donations here!

Here is what you will need to get started....



Before you get started, be sure to put down some newspaper or paper to catch any excess glitter or spills! Really... learn from my mistake! I had glitter everywhere the first time I made them! I would also recommend getting a funnel to add the glitter to your bottle.



First, you will need to warm up the water that will be added to the bottles. It doesn't have to be warm but it does help the glitter glue to separate. You can always just make sure you are getting warm water from the faucet.



Then, add in some food coloring. I add in about 3-5 drops per bottle but you can look at it to see what it needs! If it's a lighter color you may need to add more.

I love glitter glue! Who would have guessed?!

Then, we squeezed in some glitter glue! I used the little "tubes" of glitter glue (seen above) and had the kids add about half of the tube. Again, how much you add will depend on the size of your bottle. You can estimate as you look at it!



Next, it is time to add the loose glitter.....the prettiest but potentially messiest step! To save on the messiness, I would show your students the correct way to add the glitter! I tell them to "sprinkle" it rather than just "dump" the bottle. My BIGGEST tip for this entire craft is to GET A FUNNLE to add the glitter with. Seriously it makes a huge difference. If you don't have one, make one out of paper. Check out my homemade funnel above. Super easy!


Optional: add some little stars or fun shaped glitter. 

Then, twist those lids on TIGHT! I have my students put them on, then I check them. After I check them, I hot glue them on. Yes, I am paranoid about having a glitter glue neon cocktail all over the place.

I tell my students from the beginning to wait to shake up the bottles! Of course this is the last step in the sequencing but I am always afraid someone will shake their bottle too early. To avoid this, I tell my students we will shake them all together. Once everyones' lid has been checked and glued on we count to three and shake them... everyones' favorite part!!

Don't forget to add the tags!




When you're finished, add a tag or the cute labels seen above! Get them here!

So now that you have worked with your students on sequencing the steps. They can complete the sequencing activities below!



I have two options, one with pictures and one with sentences. You can choose one option or differentiate. Get the activities by clicking any of the pictures.



To integrate some writing, students can write about what they did to create their calm down bottles!


If you are interested in using some of the tools seen above, be sure to check out my TPT shop!




Happy teaching,

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