Lesson plan

Class Calm Jar

A calm jar works as a visual reminder when teaching emotional regulation techniques. In this lesson, students will practise mindfulness of emotions and create a class calm jar together as a class.
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Students will be able to practise mindfulness of emotions and identify techniques to manage emotions.

(10 minutes)
  • Join students together in a circle, either seated or standing.
  • Explain to students that they will participate in an activity where they will toss the ball to someone, and the person that has the ball will name an emotion associated with a scenario you give the class.
  • Model and give them a scenario: "My parents said that we are going to Disneyland for winter break."
  • Ask one student to pass the ball to you.
  • Name an emotion you may feel when you hear the news of the Disneyland vacation (e.g., surprised).
  • Explain that you will pass the ball to someone else who has to name a different emotion for the same scenario.
  • Explain that an emotion cannot be repeated and to consider the range of emotions people may feel when hearing this news.
  • Give students time to pass the ball and share 4–5 emotions.
  • Repeat this activity with 4–5 other scenarios.
  • Ask, "What are emotions?"
  • Write students' responses on the board.
  • Take 3–4 student responses.
  • Explain that EmotionsAre energy in the body and that sometimes it can be hard to name an emotion, or we may feel many different emotions all at once, and this is always okay.
  • Explain that the key is to remember that we are not the emotion and mindfulness of emotions can help us remember this.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that the class will now practise mindfulness of emotions.
  • Ask them to close their eyes or soften their gaze.
  • Guide them to take a few deep breaths into their belly.
  • Ask them to return to normal breath and to imagine a scenario you read aloud to them and then to notice how they feel when they hear the scenario.
  • Say, "You just bought new shoes."
  • Ask them to imagine that they just bought a favorite pair of shoes.
  • Ask them to notice how they feel in their body.
  • Ask them to label the emotion as "happy," "pleased," "proud." (Pause)
  • Ask them to return to the feeling of their breath and to take a few slow, deeper breaths.
  • Say, "You lost $20 on your way to the movies."
  • Ask them to imagine that they just lost $20 before going into the movie theater and have no money.
  • Ask them to notice how they feel in their body.
  • Ask them to label the emotion as "angry," "sad," "disappointed." (Pause)
  • Ask them to return to the feeling of their breath and to take a few slow, deeper breaths.
  • Ask them to slowly open their eyes when they are ready.
  • Ask, "What did you notice? How did you feel?"
(10 minutes)
  • Review the Mindfulness of Emotions Book worksheet and directions.
  • Explain that the class will be making a class calm jar to represent the many different emotions.
  • Show them a sample calm jar that you made ahead of time.
  • Shake the jar and then bring it to stillness to allow glitter to settle.
  • Ask, "How could this represent the many different emotions? How can this represent calm?"
  • Explain that while they work at their seats on independent work, each student will be called up to place different colored glitter in the jar that represents different emotions.
  • Model and show them how to come up to the front of the room, choose a colour of glitter, write the related emotion on the board under "Glitter Emotions," and then place the glitter in the jar.
  • Explain that each student will have an opportunity to come up to the front to put glitter in the class calm jar.
  • Follow these directions to make the class calm jar:
    1. Fill jar ⅛ with glue.
    2. Place different colored glitter in jar.
    3. Fill jar with warm water.
    4. Place a few drops of liquid soap.
    5. Cover your jar.
    6. Shake the jar and use it to calm down or for relaxation.
  • Ask the class if they have questions.
  • Pass out the Mindfulness of Emotions Book worksheet.
(15 minutes)
  • Walk around the room to check student comprehension.
  • Guide students in front of the room with the class calm jar, for students who may need extra support.
  • Follow the directions to fill the jar with water after all students have added glitter to the class calm jar.

Enrichment: Ask advanced students to design their own game that represents different emotions.

Support: Work one-on-one or in small groups with some students when working on the worksheet to check for understanding of mindfulness of emotions.

(5 minutes)
  • Walk around the room and check student comprehension of mindfulness of emotions during independent work.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring students back together in a circle.
  • Show them the completed class calm jar.
  • Shake up the jar.
  • Explain that sometimes we can feel many different emotions; we may be stressed before a test or upset about something a friend said.
  • Ask, "What is one way to feel more calm and settle these emotions (remembering that they are not us)?" Build on student answers and emphasize that we can feel our breath and label the emotion.
  • Stop shaking the jar.
  • Ask students to feel 3–4 deep breaths. They can close their eyes or look down at the floor.
  • Ask them to open their eyes and notice how they feel.
  • Explain that the class calm jar will be up in the front of the room as a reminder of these different tools to regulate our emotions.
  • Ask if anyone has any questions.

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