Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and it pays to plan ahead. I have 6 easy and essential Valentine’s Day classroom ideas that will help you survive & even love the holiday.
Over the years, I’ve gained a few strategies to make the week run much more smoothly. Here are my top 6 tips for surviving Valentine’s Day in the classroom.
1. Give families enough notice about classroom activities
Send home a list of names at least a week in advance. Always have extra lists displayed in an obvious location so students can grab another if needed. On the note you send home, state that if a students brings a valentine, it should be 1 for every student. I even mention that when everyone gets a valentine, feelings are spared.
2. Valentine’s Day classroom ideas that reduce drama
If students want to give a special gift to a student, it’s best done outside of school to prevent drama. Valentine’s Day and drama often go together, but there are things you can do to help the situation. When you send home a list of names, make sure you include a note asking families to encourage their students to deliver bigger gifts outside of school hours. Families usually understand that it’s tough on schools to deal with big bunches of balloons or bouquets of flowers, when these can easily be dropped off at someone’s home. When other students don’t have to see the elaborate gifts, it reduces school drama and achy hearts.
3. Create a simple receptacle a day or two before
Use the day before Valentine’s Day to make a receptacle. My favorite (because it’s easy, low cost, and creative) is to provide small paper lunch bags. White is great as it sticks with the color theme, but brown works perfectly as well! You can also fold a large piece of construction paper and staple on 2 side to create an envelope. Use templates to trace and cut out hearts of all shapes, sizes, and colors. (Student can help with the tracing and cutting) These will then be glued onto the bags.
It’s best to let the bags/envelopes sit overnight so the glue dries. Students write their names in maker in an obvious location. I always make a few extra just in case something goes awry with a student’s project.
4. Valentine’s Day classroom ideas to reduce chaos
On Valentine’s Day, I love watching students distributing the cards and candy. (Remember, that it’s one for everyone or none at all.) My rule has always been that students can eat 1-2 pieces of candy, and then I’ll save the bag with the remaining candy behind my desk, where students can pick it up after school. This prevents sugar overload, which easily happens, and students don’t try to sneak their candy in other classrooms or pass it around at lunch time or PE. Believe me, it’s worth the effort to keep the bags in the classrooms in which candy was passed out. (And I’ve learned from experience… don’t forget the zip lock baggies because ants love Valentine’s Day too!)
Limiting the candy and then sequestering the extra benefits all other teachers, school staff, and the student themselves. And students understand when I tell them that I love doing all the activities, but the candy can be a real issue. “If you want to be able to continue doing classroom celebrations, we have to establish some boundaries and respect other classrooms.” I have not had one argument.
5. Ask the parent organization or student council to help
We’ve had great success with our PTO or student council setting up a table in the cafeteria where students can purchase a small candy and a card that gets delivered to students in class on Valentine’s Day. The best part about this: the PTO or student council can see who hasn’t received a special delivery from another student and have a Valentine delivered to these students. This way, everyone on campus can receive something special. Talk about smiles on faces!!!
6. Be ready with other games or activities
Have games or other activities ready. Although I really enjoy hanging out with students for 15 minutes, chatting, opening cards, and eating a piece of candy, even students can max out on sugar. Have other activities planned. Color by code pages are the perfect answer because you can find holiday-specific themes and students can still do something academic.
Read this blog post on the numerous benefits of using color by code pages. The coloring pages also calm students and provide a focus for those who might not want to spend a lot of time talking with others. Find differentiated coloring pages below:
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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Check out this other blog post filled with classroom ideas for Valentine’s Day.