Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine's Day Ideas

Ahhh, Valentine's Day.  Almost as much fun for the teacher as the day after Halloween!  I'm not sure why these holidays seem to just be all about SUGAR!  I was thinking the other day about how challenging Valentine's Day can be for the classroom teacher.  You want to let your kids have fun and enjoy the day, but it can be a real balancing act.  You do still have to teach that day.  But, all your students can do is think about those valentines!  I know that it's a grand tradition to let your kids make those cute Valentine bags or boxes and then exchange little cards and candies with each other.  Some teachers even go with the full out Valentine's party!
So, how can you make the day of love educational?  It is school, after all!  Well, I came up with some ideas....
How about integrating math and science into the valentine exchange?  Have your kids make some predictions about the type of valentines they will get.  They can make a list of what they think will be the most common colors, shapes, words, or characters.  They can predict how many cards will have candy.  They could even predict how many will be in envelopes vs. not.  Then, as they open them, they can collect data.  They can make a list of their cards by various categories.  They can then make a graph to present their data to the class.  You could even have them work in groups for that part.  For older kids, they could convert their raw numbers into percentages.  What a fun way to get them to pay more attention to the card exchange!
You could do some more graphing activities as well.  You could graph their favorite Valentine's day candy.  You could have them vote on what Valentine's day color they like or pink?
If you really want to get them into the educational side of Valentine's day, you could have them research the origin of the holiday.  There are tons of websites with information about who St. Valentine was, why we exchange valentines, etc.
You can also get into the crafty side of things.  Family Fun magazine has a great Valentine's Day section on their website with tons of fun crafts!  You could have the kids make valentine gifts for their family members, or even other school employees.  How about the custodians, parent volunteers, or principal?  Teach them that Valentine's day can be about showing their appreciation for anyone that is important in their life.
Valentine's day is a great theme for writer's workshop.  You could write Valentine's day poetry.  Look at some famous love poems for inspiration.  You could come up with some love-related similes and metaphors for their valentines.  Use the words on conversation hearts as story starters.
With a little thought and planning, it can be easy to make this day of candy and chaos into a fun day of learning!

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