Getting in the Spirit
Valentine's Day is the perfect time to encourage students to read. With a plethora of books written about the day of love, you will have no problem helping your students choose one. The following list of books was recommended by Erin Jackman, Executive Director of the Brooke Jackman Foundation, a non-profit literacy program in New York. She believes "Valentine’s Day and reading might not be an obvious connection, but tailoring a child’s reading to the big events that are already occurring in their lives is one of most effective and fun ways to increase their enthusiasm about literacy."
Her recommended book list includes:
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
- I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak
- How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen
- Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie B. Friedman
- Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane deGroat
These short stories can be read together in class, or assigned for silent reading time.
Write Your Own Valentine's Day Story
Once you've read, or had your students read a Valentine's Day book, you could try this next creative activity. Start by brainstorming story ideas on the whiteboard. Have your students contribute a list of at least 5 plots they think go along with the theme of the day: love. Next, hand out some lined paper, and have your students spend about 20 minutes creating their own Valentine’s Day tale.
To make this activity easier, you could allow your students to create a picture book with simple captions. Make sure their pictures correspond to their captions, but let them create drawings to tell their story instead of words.
I Love You Because
For this activity, start by telling your students that Valentine's Day doesn't only have to be celebrated by people who are romantically in love; it can be enjoyed by friends and family as well. Because of the fact that young children are developing their social skills, and learning how to interact with their peers, this activity will help students to develop positive relationships with their peers. Put everyone's name into a hat, and have each student draw one name. Once everyone has picked the name of someone else in class, instruct your students to create a Valentine note for that person, telling them one thing that they "love" about them. Stress that this doesn't mean they literally love this person, but that they are just to write something they admire. This will boost the esteem of each person in the class.
If you have some extra time, have your students create similar Valentines for their family members. For this, have your students write more than one thing they love about each chosen family member. Teaching your students to appreciate the people in their lives is a good way to build friendships and better relationships, all in the name of Valentine's Day!
Valentine's Day Art Lessons:
Creating a "class book" on Valentine's Day is a great communal activity. Each student will draw a picture of their favorite valentine, and include a sentence or two about why they chose this person. Each drawing will then be put into a class book.
Anyone would love to receive a bouquet of roses on Valentine's Day! Have your students create their own roses using tissue paper, pipe cleaners, and tape. This is a great activity to do during class time on Valentine's Day.
During class time, help your students make Valentine's Day art gifts using white doilies and black construction paper. Allow students to make as many shapes and designs as they want, and paste them onto black paper for visual emphasis.