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Ideas for virtual Valentine’s Day activities that engage your students
Regardless of what grade you teach, many students love celebrating Valentine’s Day because it offers them a chance to both receive appreciation and acknowledge the important people in their lives.
Usually that means showing appreciation with homemade cards and candy. But with coronavirus restrictions in place this year, many Valentine’s traditions won’t be possible. So how can you celebrate the day with your students if you’re in a remote or distance learning environment? Here are a few activities we recommend for socially-distanced Valentine’s Day celebrations:
Make a Valentine’s Day book
Your virtual or blended learning Valentine’s Day can still be an opportunity for creativity. Instead of having students make Valentine’s cards this year, work with them to make a Valentine’s themed book using a tool like Book Creator.
Before jumping in, read a Valentine’s book and discuss what Valentine’s means to them. Highlight the fact that Valentine’s Day is about themes like friendship, kindness, and appreciation. Then encourage them to create their own stories around these themes.
If you’re doing in-person or synchronous learning, you can ask which students would like to share their books with the class, and use LanSchool Air’s Show Teacher feature to broadcast your screen while each student talks about their book. For asynchronous learning, you can send out a chat using the Messaging feature with links to view each student’s book, so the class can explore on their own.
Lead a lesson on Valentine’s Day vocabulary or phonics
Valentine’s Day offers a great opportunity to learn the language of love through a Valentine’s-themed vocabulary or phonics lesson for elementary school students.
Little Learners has put together a video that walks through each letter sound using Valentine’s words. You can also get creative and write your own list.
If your students are a little older, you can have them work through a Valentine’s Day vocabulary list. With in-person or synchronous learning, divide up the list and have students each present a word, its definition, and an example sentence. If you’re doing asynchronous learning, you can ask your students to add definitions to the full list of words.
Watch a Valentine’s Day video
You can also celebrate Valentine’s Day in a fun way that doesn’t take up much class time. Watch a short Valentine’s Day video on the history of the holiday, how to say “I love you” in different languages, or even how conversation hearts are made.
If you want to expand on this — especially with older students — you can ask students to research a Valentine’s-related topic and write a video script or essay sharing what they learned. Example topics might include how chocolate is made; how the tradition of gifting jewelry was started; which countries celebrate Valentine’s Day and how their traditions differ; etc.
Host a virtual dance party
For younger elementary school students who need to get out their holiday energy, test out your DJ skills by hosting a virtual dance party. Put on a Kidz Bop Valentine playlist and let students move around and dance. If your students are learning from home, give parents a heads up — they may want to join in on the fun.
If you’re learning in person, you can even host a competition for best dance move and let students vote on the winner using LanSchool Classic’s Voting feature.
Make a Valentine’s Day menu
Good food and sweet treats are usually included in most celebrations. Work with your students to plan a menu for a special Valentine’s Day meal. Take this opportunity to teach the importance of real-life skills such as meal planning, organizing a shopping list, defining popular cooking terms and even watching cooking demonstrations to learn basic techniques.
Ask students to name their favorite foods and desserts to inspire a menu with variety. Once the meal has been planned, create a digital and shareable menu using a readily available template, like the one provided by Flipsnack.
Tie Valentine’s Day lessons to digital citizenship and social-emotional learning
Because Valentine’s Day is a holiday about sharing, caring, and showing kindness, it’s a great opportunity to talk about how we should treat each other on a daily basis. Lead a discussion with students about the themes of friendship and how it plays out in students’ lives.
For example, talk about basic human emotional needs, like how all people want to feel loved and accepted. Ask students to share a time when they felt loved or accepted and to brainstorm a list of things that make them feel that way.
Then ask students how they can apply that knowledge to their everyday lives in the way they interact with each other — both in person and online. Remind them that the adults in their lives are people who need kindness and love as well and ask them to reflect on how they can show appreciation for the people who are important to them.
Embrace the unexpected this year
During such a challenging year, opening up a discussion on love and kindness may lead to unexpected emotions for students and possibly even for yourself. Valentine’s Day is not only a great opportunity for a fun experience with your class, but it’s also a chance to explore real topics that can lead to formative growth.
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