January 10, 2020

4 Simple Steps For Valentine Exchange In The Middle Grades


The in-between years can be an opportunity to use Valentine's Day for fun, learning, and kindness!

Students in fourth grade generally still like to exchange valentines and I'm all in. The process of preparing the valentines for exchange enables students to practice a variety of skills such as organization, fine motor, spatial awareness, reading, writing, decision making, personal finance, responsibility, and social skills.

1. Begin With A Discussion.

"Can we exchange valentines?" Usually, the topic is brought up by the students themselves.

I like to make valentines exchange optional with one rule:

"If you choose to prepare valentines, you must give one to every student in the class."

This rule may prevent Valentine's Day drama!

A discussion can continue about how to approach parents or guardians for help and where the best prices can be found. The class can discuss the possibility of making the valentines by hand on construction paper, and paper can be provided for those who want to try this. (Or perhaps a way for students who cannot purchase cards to still participate.) The cost of creating and printing on a computer as opposed to purchasing the cards at the dollar store can be evaluated. Students are practicing decision-making skills and personal finance.

2. Help Students Prepare.

Students can copy a class list. Yep, by hand either for morning work or during a read-a-loud after lunch. Students can also prepare a note home for their grown-ups. These are opportunities to practice fine motor skills, spatial awareness, and responsibility. FREEBIE below to help your students!

If desired, time could be given to decorate small bags to hold valentines. This can be low-key with simple supplies perhaps during indoor recess. Another option is to check with the art teacher to see if this is something that he/she would be able to fit into their schedule. Preparing the bags gives students a chance to practice fine motor skills and spatial awareness.

3. Valentines Get Written.

Students can write their valentines at home and start bringing them in. They are practicing reading, writing, and organization while preparing their cards. Bags can get filled during arrival or students may be allowed to come back during recess to distribute the cards into the bags.

4. Valentine's Day Arrives.

On Valentine's Day, time may be provided to open valentines and enjoy a small treat. I like to bring in those small ice cream cups...so easy! Of course, it's always a good idea to run your plan by your administrator. Students will be reading their valentines, practicing social skills, and expressing kindness.

Although the teacher may set the basic groundwork for the Valentines' Day event, it is beneficial to have students included in the planning as there are multiple skills involved. Here is a freebie to help your students keep track of their valentines. It includes a chart for them to fill in with classmates' names and a fill-in-the-blank note to parents/guardians.
 valentine's-day-free
Click HERE!

As for a valentine from their teacher...every student gets a pencil or 2 in their bag because you know what the pencil situation in February is like!

You may also want to include these affordable resources in your lessons to keep with a Valentine's Day theme!

This adjective resource is popular with the kids and works well as a learning station.
 valentine's-day-activity
Click HERE!

This coordinate grid game is played with candy hearts and is a favorite every year!
 coordinate-grid-worksheet
Click HERE!

Do you have any special Valentine's Day activities that you enjoy with your students? Feel free to comment below!