Valentine’s Day 2016

I didn’t want to call this post just Valentine’s Day, partly because we tried to celebrate it differently (does that surprise you?), but also because it didn’t really happen on February 14.  This story is from Thursday, but in elementary school world, it was the last day of school before Valentine’s Day so alas that’s what we celebrated.  Ok.  I’ll move on.

As with the 100th Day, this day felt a little contrived to me–what 7-YO has a Valentine?  Ok, well maybe their mom, but no REAL Valentine.   Or maybe the whole class is their Valentine?  Anyhow, I began thinking a week or so ago about what we could do that made this day about something real and “normal” in our classroom.  I decided to connect to the conversations we’ve been having about caring and showing each other that they are important.  I mean Valentine’s Day is about love, right?  Caring is love. 🙂

So I formed our day around these three essential questions:

IMG_0550-min

Since these are big, “chewy” questions, we didn’t really answer them, but we did think about them as we went through the day, and referred to them at various times, as well.

Our first job of the day was to read a book together, which was about a dragon who wrote Valentines for all of the people she loved.  It was an ABC book, and while we didn’t do anything with all of the letters of the alphabet, we did take some time to tell the people we care about how we felt about them (remember our questions?).

This was one of those areas where I wanted to be really purposeful with Valentine traditions, rather than “cutesy” or just fun.  Last year we did a pretty cool Makerspace situation, and while it wasn’t a real Makerspace since I gave them their purpose, they were able to create and try and discover and explore, which was great.  This time I wanted them to be able to both give love and get some back, so we decorated our Valentine bags with words.

I gave them the big idea and even some stems that they could use:

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These were not “have-tos,” but I wanted to give them some place to start so that we didn’t end up with 20 different “I’m glad you’re my friend”s.

Next was getting them into a spot so we could start our bags.  We did this in a version of the game Scoot, where they would “scoot” around the room (in a certain order that I’d share) until they wrote on everyone’s bag.  I had them get into alphabetical order–like dragon’s Valentines had been in the book–and then gave them a spot to start.  Basically I started in one corner of the room and just snaked the line around, putting each kid in a seat/spot as we went.  They would then rotate one slot each “scoot,” following the person in front of them each time. It was honestly kind of complicated, taking the layout of our room, but they got it by about the 4th or 5th rotation and then I didn’t have to lead them anymore.  I was honestly surprised.   Surprised but really impressed and happy. 🙂

I wish I had taken a picture of each one, to document how sweet their words were to each other, but I didn’t.  I only have ones of how great they look all lined up in the hall.  That is where they were as we delivered Valentine’s cards to our friends.

I didn’t get pictures of their bags, but I did get a pic of their words to me.  Check out how caring and lovely they were to me:

Pretty great, right? 🙂

Later on in the day we had a party.  Mrs. Raeber, along with many other parents (and grandparents!) came to help us have a fun time at the end of our day.  We had a snack, played a game, read some winter/Valentine’s Day books and make a keychain.  What a perfect collection of fun, low-key things to do!  These parents are super good at giving us lovely things!

Check out some pictures.   They are pretty sweet. 🙂

There’s more to share–but that’s for another post.  Hope you have a great weekend, and that you feel loved and cared for this Valentine’s Day! 🙂

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