I made you a card,
With a poem in it too.
As my way of saying
Our friendship is true!
I picked out a flower
I got it for you.
It is my way of showing
How much I love you!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Valentine’s Day by Words On A Limb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – and what better time to show our family and friends just how dear they are to us (not that we should forget to do so during the rest of the year). So let’s take out the scissors and glue and get crafting!
Here is a free template for a valentine card craft. Simply photocopy (on plain, coloured or construction paper), fold in half (bear side up), and have students select from various greetings to decorate and glue inside the card. You may want to give students the option of drawing and writing their own greeting as well. I like to have several options available to accommodate many needs and levels.
Here are six greeting options:
A sample of the finished product
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud is one of my favourite picture books to build a great discussion on what it means to be a good friend. The book helps students understand the concept of happiness and the role we play in creating it for ourselves and those around us. The language of bucket-filling has become associated with kindness and thoughtful acts.
In a previous post that focused on peace-making, I referenced this book and included free writing templates that encouraged students to fill each other’s buckets by writing Smile-O-Grams. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to revisit this activity and remind students of the importance of positive messages. Click on the templates below to visit my previous post and download free Smile-O-Gram templates for your personal use in the classroom.
Here is a really cute friendship-building poem I came across online. I especially love that it includes students’ names and gives it a personal feel. It is also a great way to teach students about action words. I plan on sharing it with my students this week and having fun with verbs while we are at it. Thank you Cliparts for the image contribution.
What’s Valentine’s Day without some friendship-building games. Here are some activities I have planned for next week. I’d like to thank my wonderful ECE, Deepa Talwar, and friend and colleague, Lucas Hannahson for their contributions.
My Other Half | Preparation: Cut out enough hearts so that each student has half of a heart (i.e., for 30 students you will need 15 hearts). Make sure to cut each heart down the middle in a different way (i.e., big zig-zags, small zig-zags, waves, jagged lines, etc.). How to Play: Distribute the halves randomly among the students. Instruct players to walk around the room asking “Are you my other half?” while trying to connect the pieces together. When students find their match they sit down and hold their heart together. Partners then ask each other questions and prepare to share one thing they learned with the rest of the class. It might be a good idea to brainstorm a list of good questions prior to starting – keep the questions posted somewhere around the room for quick reference (i.e., What is your favourite movie? What do you like most about school?).
Heart Race | Preparation: Stack 6 plastic or Styrofoam cups together for each team (for a class of 30 students you will have 5 teams). Decorate the top cup in each set with some hearts so it will be different from the others in the stack. How to Play: Divide students into equal teams (if not possible, some players will simply have an extra turn). Line up the teams and have the first player hold their stack of cups.
Upon signaling, the first player will begin stacking the cups, from top to bottom. The object of the game is to keep moving the cups from top to bottom until the ‘heart’ cup appears on top again, at which point they pass the stack to the next player and proceed to sit down at the back of the line. The first team to have all their players complete the task, wins the heart race!
Match My Heart | Preparation: Cut and attach a set of 15 pairs of different colour hearts to popsicle sticks (one per child, so if you have 30 kids you’ll need 15 pairs, 15 different colours). How to Play: Distribute the hearts, one per child. Turn the music on and have students dance around the room . When the music stops, players need to stay in their spot and find a nearby match for their heart. They can stretch or bend to reach their matching heart but cannot move from their spot. Play the music again and continue. As a variation, or to add more of a challenge to the game, you can also write sight words (or Valentine theme words) and add images to the hearts. This way, not only can colours make a match, but words and pictures as well (either both or else one or the other).
Mystery Valentine | Preparation: Invite students to share one thing about themselves and write it on a mystery card (some students will be more independent than others). How to Play: While gathered on the carpet, read the mystery cards one at a time and invite students to guess who each mystery valentine is. This is a fun way to learn about each other!
Friendship Circle | Gather in a circle on the carpet and invite students to take turns sharing something or someone they appreciate (i.e., I appreciate the books we have, I appreciated it when Lily helped me find my glove). Give students the option to say pass if they do not wish to share anything at this point. This is a wonderful community-building exercise that fosters appreciation and encourages the show of gratitude. I like to pass around an object for the children to hold as they speak (in honor of Valentines day, perhaps a flower or teddy bear).
Love Letter | Preparation: You will need enough alphabet bean bags so that each child has one (for bigger classes you will need more bags – hacky sacks work well as fillers). How to Play: Students sing a variation of the song, Hot Potato while passing around the bean bags in the circle. “Love letter, pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, love letter, pass it on, the letter is – “. The teacher then announces a letter and students look down to see if they have the one that was just called. The student that has the letter goes up to write the letter on the board. Continue on, calling out a different letter each time, possibly spelling a Valentine word (i.e., LOVE, HEART, etc.). Once all the letters in the secret word have been called, students read the mystery word. For more of a challenge, select the letters out of order and have students unscramble them to make up a mystery word.
The Colour of My Heart | Preparation: Cut out different coloured hearts so that there are enough for every student to have one. Place the hearts in a sac or box. On chart paper, write up corresponding questions to each coloured heart (i.e., red heart – what is your favourite food; blue heart – What are you most afraid of? etc.). How to Play: While gathered in a circle on the carpet, pass around the heart bag and have every student pull one out. When everyone has a heart in their hand, go around and have students answer the corresponding question to their coloured heart. You may want all the red questions answered first or in the order of the circle.
Stuck on You | Preparation: You will need matching pairs of stickers (i.e., for 30 students you will need 15 different pairs of stickers). How to Play: Gather students in a circle and instruct them not peek or talk as you walk around placing stickers on their back. Upon your signal, students walk around and try to find their partner – the person who has a matching sticker to theirs. This is obviously tricky because they will not know what sticker they have. They will be dependent on each other for help, which is a great way to get them talking, listening and problem-solving. When students believe they’ve found their match (again, they will need to rely on others to confirm that this is so), they sit down and peel the sticker off their friend’s back and stick it on their hand.
AND NOW, FOR SOME SINGING…
If You’re Friendly and You Know It
(Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
If you’re friendly and you know it, wave hello.
If you’re friendly and you know it, wave hello.
If you’re friendly and you know it,
And you really want to show it.
If you’re friendly and you know it, wave hello.
Substitute with other motions such as give a smile, shake a hand,give a high five.
Do You Know Our Friend?
(Tune: “The Muffin Man”)
Do you know our friend (name)?
Our friend (name), our friend (child’s name).
Do you know our friend (child’s name)?
He/She is really ____ .
Brainstorm words to describe students (kind, bright, creative, sweet, fun, caring).
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Valentine’s Day is not complete without some great reads. Here are some picture books to share with your students as you explore themes of friendship and love.
Cute picture book that shows how a little boy shares valentines with things and people he loves. The youngster writes valentines to his cat, his teddy bear, a bird, his grandmother, a neighborhood girl, his mom, and other family members. This is a great book to share with young children to explain that Valentine’s Day is a day that people express their love and appreciation towards others.
PreSchool-Grade 2-Eve Bunting’s tender Valentine tale (Clarion, 1983) is nicely presented in this well-done picturebook. Mrs. Bear has a surprise in store for Mr. Bear. She’s gotten up during hibernation just so they can celebrate a special Valentine’s Day. Her preparations show the love she has for Mr. Bear. Mr. Bear, as it turns out, has some surprises of his own. Together they share a special day before once again settling down for a long sleep.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and Christopher Robin has a new friend — a girl named Winifred. Pooh and his friends fear that Christopher Robin will no longer need them, but the kind-hearted boy reassures Pooh that even if he cares a bit for someone else, it doesn’t mean he cares any less for his beloved bear.
The Valentine’s Day Party has begun at last, but Franklin lost his cards on the way to school. As his pile of valentines begins to grow. Franklin feels bad that he has none to give in return. But in the true spirit of the day, everyone assures Franklin they don’t need a valentine to know they’re his friends.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!
by Laura Joffe Numeroff, Felicia Bond (Illustrator)
Balzer + Bray
Join Mouse, from the great picture book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, as he celebrates Valentine’s Day with all the friends he loves. Children will learn the meaning of sharing this special day with friends.
There’s lots to love about Valentine’s Day, and Mrs. Madoff’s class is ready to celebrate. Everyone is making valentines for their friend Michiko in Japan. Jessica writes a poem, Charlie draws an airplane, and Eveline uses lace and lots of shiny stickers. No matter how far apart Michiko and her friends are, making valentines can bring them together!
Biscuit’s Valentine’s Day
by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Pat Schories (Illustrator)
What a sweet Biscuit!It’s Valentine’s Day and Biscuit and the little girl have a lot of special deliveries to make. But when Biscuit smells a treat that silly puppy just can’t seem to help himself. How will the little girl show Biscuit how much she loves him? Pull back the big flaps in this heartwarming story to find out!
With love as always,