Well, it’s almost here! The day where we get to announce our love to a lucky few or a lucky bunch of people. Valentine’s Day is traditionally seen as a celebration for lovers (especially in France where the celebration is fairly new) and so it wasn’t unusual for people to look at me twice when I told them that my students would be writing Valentine’s Day cards to each other. Yet, in the United States, Valentine’s Day is not exclusive to lovers. In fact, it’s a nice way to tell a friend that you love them, like them or just appreciate their presence in you life, classroom, or soccer club.
And it’s so much fun! Oh my goodness! The amount of love that was felt in my classroom as my students were busy writing their Valentines and then delivering them to their classmates – it was too cute for words. They were all made to feel special and many were amazed that they were seen in such positive ways by others – truly heart melting stuff. So why don’t you join me in doing the same for your class? Let’s go!
Step 1. First thing’s first- before you start you’ll have to sit down with your class and ask them what the definition of a friend is to them. Then move on to what it means to like or love someone. Who can we like and love?
Even with an intermediate English class, these conversations are possible. Of course, some of them will explain things in their first language and you and the other students may have to translate, but that’s real life. That’s how learning a language works :) I find these moments great because it helps certain students feel heard and it helps the “stronger” ones show their support in being the teacher for a moment. This is it, it’s what you want.
Step 2. After you’ve established what a true friend is you’ll move on to make a list of what makes a good friend. You’ll start from the easiest of sentences and then ask your more advanced students to add more details. This will ensure that you’ll have a differentiated list that you can distribute to your students according to their level and/or ambitions.
So, while some may write: “You are a good friend.”
Others may write: “You are a good friend when you let me borrow your pencil.”
Step 3. Now you can create a worksheet for your advanced students and/or sentence strips for you beginner students to copy from. They may look like this:
“You are nice to me,” becomes – “You are nice when you sit with me in the canteen.”
“You are funny,” becomes – “You are funny when you make jokes during recreation.”
“I love you,” becomes – “I love you because you always make me laugh.”
Here are a few examples of what my Beginner students created:
And here are a few examples of what my intermediate and more advanced students were able to write:
Step 4. Now it’s time to make a class list that your students can use to keep track of who they’ve written to. I always ask that they write to everyone. I know that in life, we can have our differences but there’s always something nice that we can find to say to one another, well, usually ;)
Step 5. As your students write their Valentine’s Day cards, they’ll need to keep them organised. This might be a good time to give each student their own personal envelope, that they can decorate once they’re done making their cards. On the actual day of the card exchange, they will leave it on their desk so that the other students will know where to leave his/her cards.
Step 6. For our actual cards, I decided to recycle some beautiful sheets of card stock. All I did was cut them in strips and then I asked the students to fold one end in (about 1 inch) and then to fold the entire sheet in half. You end up with what looks like a match book and it works pretty well when you glue the bottom tab (NOT all the way though!) so that your card has a “pocket” to get tucked into.
Step 7. The writing part can take a little time for some, and because I wanted my students to stay concentrated, I asked them to write out all of their cards before they decorated them. Then, once they were all written out, I told them that they could use stickers, markers and crayons to decorate them. As an added surprise, I passed out cookies and candy and put on some happy music in the background as we worked.
Step 8. The last step was to wait for the BIG Day and to ask my students to empty the contents of their envelopes and to distribute them to the right desk. Remember, we made pretty envelopes to help people be able to deliver their cards to the right person.
After the kids were done delivering their cards, they got to open them…my goodness, talk about emotions!! There were giggles, laughter and shrieks of joy. Some of them held certain cards to their chest and others were touched to know that they had a friend in almost everyone that they knew. My gift was getting to watch all of this firsthand. It was a special moment that I won’t forget any time soon.
Are you interested in making some DIY stickers which would be perfect to give away with your cards or to send home with your students? Then click on this link for the guide.