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Valentine’s Day is one of those wishy-washy holidays. You know, the kind that are sort of tough to justify academically but you’d be black-listed by your students if you completely ignored it. So, I’ve compiled some fun ways to recognize Valentine’s Day in your classroom while promoting literacy (check!), raising school funds (ca-ching!), and building classroom community (sweet!).
Val-Day Idea One: In Love with Literature
Read books to your students about the history or traditions of the holiday. For younger students, my favorite is Little Critter: Happy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter! by Mercer Mayer. For older grades, try Valentine’s Day (Holiday Histories) by Kathryn A. Imler. You can base classroom discussions around what people might do on Valentine’s Day and why we still celebrate the holiday in America.
Val-Day Idea Two: Will You Be My…Friend?
Of course, the traditional idea of having students exchange cards and sweets is ever popular with the kiddos. Remember to encourage students to bring a card for everyone if they are going to bring any (sending home a class list ahead of time helps with this goal). Depending on how involved you want the celebration to be, you can either have your students make shoebox mailboxes or decorate Valentine bags. For the shoebox mailboxes, students can bring in shoeboxes and decorate them with construction paper, stickers, paint, and more. For bags, the same can be done with brown or colored lunch bags (eliminates the need for students to bring in boxes). Allow students to place their boxes/bags on their desks and then invite students to walk around and deliver cards.
Val-Day Three: Cash for Carnations
If you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a larger scale, encourage your school to participate in a school-wide function. One of my favorite school-wide activities for Valentine’s Day is a carnation sale run by the PTA/PTO. A sale table is set up at the beginning of the week where students can order carnations in advance, which also helps the organization know how many to buy. On Valentine’s Day, carnations are delivered to classrooms with tags on them to say who they are for and who they are from. This allows students to buy carnations for others throughout their school. They can also buy them for their family members at home. Money raised can be used to support other school functions. (Hint: middle-schoolers LOVE this idea).
Valentine’s Day is a day to remember the ones you love…and the job you love! Make the day something that you and your students will enjoy.
For more Valentine-themed goodies for your home and classroom, check out The School Box’s good ideas!
Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia who is a constant resource of great ideas!