When I was teaching elementary school, according to district policy, classes could celebrate with three parties per year. And guess what? Valentine’s Day made the list! We played games, stuffed our faces with cupcakes, and opened up our valentines. It was a good day. And if I was teaching today, here are some activities that would definitely be on my list.
1. Compare and Contrast
I do like to make resources for holidays, so here is my latest for Valentine’s Day. I created a compare and contrast activity in Google Slides. Match your students up to one of their classmates, and they can find and share four ways they are similar and 4 ways they are different. Or mix it up! Each student could choose a historical figure, celebrity, or their own personal hero for this activity. Make your own copy of my compare and contrast Google Slides deck to use.
TIP: I set up the first slide to automatically jump to each student’s slide when they click on their name. You can easily edit the names by clicking on each name box and selecting the pencil tool to edit the text. The link to each slide will not be lost if you edit the text only. Be sure to check out my colleague Katie’s and my example above.
2. Paper Heart Sculpture
Use paper hearts to make a fun Valentine’s Day craft or a STEAM-building activity! Here is a template with instructions. This article also offers various STEAM challenges for the paper hearts related to structure building. It’s low cost and low prep which is always a plus. The whole activity should take about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Construction paper or cardstock (either pre-cut or available for students to cut)
- Glue sticks, glue dots, or q-tips dipped in glue
Connections to STEAM
Talk about gravity and how it pulls an object to the earth unless there are supports to hold it in place. Explain the challenge to your students– to make a sculpture out of paper hearts that can stand completely on its own. They will need to make their sculptures balanced or they won’t be able to stand. Students can also make their sculptures as tall as possible without them tipping over. Then, you can measure the heights of each sculpture to see just how tall they are.
Melissa Motta shares, “I had a kinder who engineered hers with hearts upside down and backward at the base to create legs to help it stand.”
Melissa goes on to say how the student noticed her sculpture was too heavy, so it started to fall. Then she understood that she needed to strengthen it on one side.
“It was awesome to see her problem solve and articulate her thinking as she explained her design and what she did to improve it.”
Cristina Hutton provides two Valentine’s Day-themed Jamboards for early learners. Her Jamboards can be used for in-person or remote learning.
Valentine Math Jamboard: This is a two-frame Jamboard that includes a Count and Graph activity and a Valentine Measurement activity.
Would You Rather Jamboard: Here’s another great Jamboard with two frames. The first is a polling frame for whether students would rather eat a cupcake or candy. The second frame is meant to encourage conversation and have students expand on their choice.
4. Heartfelt Hallway Messages
I found this wonderful idea on Twitter. Use construction paper hearts or heart doilies to leave a message for your principal, nurse, cafeteria staff, office staff, custodians, other teachers, bus drivers, and more. A little message goes a long way and will be remembered forever!
Here are a few words to use: candy, heart, party, Cupid, treat, cards, and friend.
6. Physical Movement with Phonics Man
I am very excited about this find. Whoever thought you could add jumping jacks and the running man to Valentine’s Day? PhonicsMan Fitness shares a “Would you Rather?” Valentine’s Day Edition Candy Workout. It is a seven-minute video that can be used for a brain break or after your Valentine’s Day class party.
7. Scratch Lesson
Build a “Hearts & Arrows” game for Valentine’s Day. This free lesson from createcodeload.com includes an introduction video and three short, step-by-step animated tutorials. It’s a great way to get students to engage in coding while celebrating.
For even more Valentine’s Day fun, check out my 2021 V-Day blog post. There you will find my three favorite Valentine’s activities: Digital Breakout, Autodraw and Puns, and a Word Search. Do you have any activities that you love to do each year? Leave them in the comments, and happy Valentine’s Day!