Four Ways to Make All Students Feel Special on Valentine's Day
As each holiday nears, there's always a bit of a scramble, isn't there, to find simple but meaningful ways to celebrate it with your students. As teachers, your plate is already full with‚...you know‚...teaching. Add to that, there isn't a wealth of time or resources available to show the kids what they mean to you. So what can you do that's quick and easy but also meaningful and memorable? Here are four highly doable tips to try!
1) Give them time.
What is better during a school day from a kid's perspective than to suddenly find yourself with time just to explore, play, and create without any kind of Assessment in mind? Pull random art supplies, paper and pencils, manipulatives, and more from the cupboards and give the students 30 minutes to create something‚Äîanything‚Äîin honor of someone they love. (Ah, there's the Valentine's Day hook!) Ask them to use their imaginations and creativity to draw, build, mold, write, paint‚Äîanything they want. Take photos of the kids with their creations and, if possible, email or text the photos to their "Valentines."
2) Listen to them.
What do kids love more than talking about themselves? Not much. Their world and their place in it is so important to them, but rarely do they get the chance to just say what they think, like, know, and wonder. Take that same 30 minutes and have a "Teacher Rap Session." Simply ask them, "What's on your mind these days?" "What are you feeling good about?" "What have you done lately that you really enjoyed?" "What are you looking forward to?" and more. Then, let them tell you. They have so much to say! Let them talk, and listen to them. So, here's part two and how to make this a big Valentine's Day win. In the coming days, make a point of asking each child something about what he or she shared‚Äîeven just, "How did it go?" For any child who didn't share, ask individually, "I was sorry not to hear from you in our ‚ÄòRap Session.' Can you tell me something that's really got your interest these days?" Then, follow up on that in the coming days.
3) Treat them.
It's Valentine's Day after all! Just as long as your school allows a little sugar to be offered the kids, you can make each child a simple Valentine's Day card with a lollipop treat attached. Take a selfie of your smiling face. Above or below your head write, "Oh, you got me!"; "Cupid didn't like his report card!"; "I'm just crazy for you!"; or some other silly saying. Then, stick a lollipop through the paper so it looks like a lollipop arrow through your head. It's goofy and fun with a little sweetness attached‚Äîjust the way kids like it.
4) Love them.
Easy peasy. Smile at them, listen to them, joke with them, let them know you're glad to see them. Understand them, cheer them, encourage them, root for them. High five them, pat-on-the-back them, and give them a big thumbs up. Notice what makes them unique, interesting, and fun. Notice that each one of them is lovable, even if not acting that way. Just love them. What can be better than that on Valentine's Day?