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If kids are encouraged to use the app as needed, not as a punishment, and consistently and gradually practice the deep breathing on their own, they will internalize at least one way to regulate themselves. If a student shows signs of growing angry, sad, worried, or silly, teachers can help him or her identify that they're feeling out of control and have them use the tool to calm themselves down. Eventually, teachers should establish a go-to safe place within their classroom where students can begin to use this tool independently. At first, teachers may need to help younger students identify their emotions and practice mindful breathing as they mimic the puffer fish on the screen.Continue reading Show less
Kids first select their emotion (mad, sad, silly, or worried) and then the intensity of that emotion (not at all, a little bit, very, extremely). Then they shake an animated orb of glitter and watch it move around the virtual snow globe. In the bottom right-hand corner, an animated puffer fish helps show kids when to inhale or exhale to facilitate mindful breathing. Based on the severity of the emotion, the glitter will settle to whichever side the iPad is leaning for a certain amount of time. To finish, the puffer fish will ask kids, "Are you finished?" and kids can decide if they need to keep using Settle Your Glitter until they feel calm enough to return to regular activity.
Settle Your Glitter is simple to use, beautiful to watch, and accessible to most. It takes the concept of a calm-down jar used to help kids regulate their emotions and makes it virtual. Giving kids a visual representation of particles settling in addition to having them name how they're feeling empowers kids to calm themselves down. Practicing deep breathing, if done consistently in response to intense feelings, can transfer away from the app and become a habit. Though Settle Your Glitter was created to be used as an assistive tool and does not include much content, the engaging graphics and research-based design make it a great addition to any classroom. It would be especially helpful with students who struggle to identify or regulate their emotions independently.
One improvement would be the option for sound: Some kids will need the rationale in "How to Play" read to them, and some might benefit from calming music, especially if the environment around them is noisy. Also, extension activities to help kids apply what they learn from using the app would deepen its impact.