Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's Day Learning

You know it’s February when you walk through the halls at school amidst a sea of pink and red:  red ladybugs with little hearts, tissue paper hearts on windows, and hand-written poems on pink hearts backed by doilies.  You know it’s February when you head to the supply room and find the pink and red paper completely cleared out.  You know it’s February when the custodian doesn’t dare throw out a box, knowing they will be needed for Valentine mailboxes (covered, of course, in pink and red paper).
         Every Valentine’s Day I watch in amazement as the piles on my students’ desks grow with  cards, pink pencils with heart erasers, sugar cookie hearts with pink frosting, red cinnamon hearts (my personal favourite), and chocolates, chocolates, chocolates.  Is it generous?  Yes.  Is it appreciated by the students at the time?  You bet.  Is it necessary? Absolutely not.
         What is absolutely necessary in my class is for all my students to know they are thought of and cared about every single day.  They don’t need cards and candies to tell them this, but they do need to be told.  What’s more, it’s our job as teachers to make sure they are told.  I try to tell my students every day, but on Valentine’s Day, I show them too.  About a week beforehand, I hand out a class list (enlarged onto 11 x 17 paper) to every student.  Each student must write 2 sentences (the more specific the better) about every student—a great opportunity for a mini-lesson about writing with details or making rich sentences.  I take the completed lists and turn the sentences into  a paragraph for each student.  I then go to, click ‘create’, and copy and paste the paragraph into the box.  (Hint:  Write the student’s name down an extra 5 – 10 times to ensure it’s the largest word on the page. You can also repeat any key words you would like to emphasize to make them larger.)  When I’m satisfied with the Wordle, I print it.  I also print and glue the original paragraph to the back of the Wordle.  I laminate the final products before giving them to the students.  It is a bit of extra work, but no more so than baking and icing two dozen cookie hearts with pink icing, and the final product means so much more to the students. It’s a keepsake that students can treasure for years to come. 
         Valentine’s Day is about caring.  As teachers, we care every moment of every day – it’s our job, and we love it!  But on Valentine’s Day, take an extra minute or two to make sure your students know just how much you care. 

mmm, chocolates

Additional products for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day Heart Art Grid


  1. That's a really great idea Jen. I know I would have liked to be a student in your class and gotten that project. Although it sounds like it's intended for elementary-aged students, I think it could just as easily be tweaked and done with older students too.

  2. Thank-you. I have a grade 6/7 class and it works so well! In fact, the last time I did it, the students asked me to read all the paragraphs out loud. So we pushed back the desks, sat in a circle, and celebrated what we appreciated and admired about each other. It was a great, great moment.


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