Por- Angela Padrón
Each year, people in the United States celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th. The holiday signifies a day of love and friendship, when people tell family members, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, and close friends just how much they love them.
Cupids, hearts, and the color red can be seen everywhere around this holiday. While people exchange gifts, chocolates, stuffed animals, and valentines with each other, teachers can use Valentine’s Day symbols and themes to create fun, meaningful, and engaging lessons for students.
- Symmetry: Show students several cutout hearts. Fold them in half to demonstrate the line of symmetry and to explain what symmetry is. Then show students other shapes and ask them to identify which shapes have lines of symmetry. Students can use cutout hearts to create a symmetrical butterfly, dog, alien, or other creature
- Build-a-Word: Cut out several paper hearts and fold them in half. Then write words on the hearts, breaking syllables along the folded line. Finally, cut the hearts along the fold and mix up all of the halves. Have students work together to find matching halves to form the correct words and read them aloud. Using words with the same word stem can help students practice their phonics as well.
- Graphing Hearts: Give groups of students bags of candy hearts. Have them separate the hearts by color or by the sayings printed on them. Have students work together to create a bar graph depicting the contents of their bags.
- Love States: Cut out fifty small white t-shirt shapes from white paper. Write “I [heart] NY” on one of the shirts, like the souvenir shirts sold in New York City. Have students assist you in writing the same thing on the remaining cutout shirts, but using abbreviations for the other forty-nine states. Then, using a large U.S. map, have students pin the shirts in the correct location of each state. Have students check their work against a labeled U.S. map.
- Opposites Attract: Explain to students that the word “attraction” is often used around Valentine’s Day for people who are “attracted,” or drawn to each other. Explain the idea of magnetism and how objects made of certain metals will be attracted, or drawn to, a magnet. Place several objects on a table. Have students predict which ones will be magnetic. Then have them test out their theories by waving a magnet over each object to see if the object is attracted to the magnet. Have students record their findings and share with the class to explain if their predictions were correct.
- Be My Valentine: Explain to students that a “valentine” is a card that is given to another person on Valentine’s Day to express one’s feelings toward that person. Also, review with students the concept of rhyming words and demonstrate with several examples. Then show students examples of different valentines. Have students write their own rhyming valentine using a particular rhyming pattern, such as “Roses are red, violets are blue…”.
- Flowers and Chocolates: Explain to students that on Valentine’s Day, many people give gifts, such as flowers or chocolates, to those they love. Students can research different types of flowers and use a graphic organizer, such as a Venn Diagram or chart, to compare the different colors of flowers, where they’re grown, and other characteristics. In addition, teachers can find various chocolate molds and show students how to create their own candies by following a recipe. Students can then learn different capacities and measurements, as well as see how a recipe uses imperative sentences to give the reader the steps to follow in the recipe. Allow students to try the candy after it’s been prepared!
Valentine’s Day can be a fun day for children to learn about and celebrate. If lessons are created in a fun and interactive way, students will not only say they love their friends and family—they’ll also say they love learning!
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