Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate in the classroom and this year, I am starting to plan ways I can celebrate with my students virtually. While it seems a little early, planning ahead for Valentine’s can ensure you have time to have students complete their valentines and to get great deals on any Valentine’s Day items or supplies. Here are five ways I am planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day as my class continues remote instruction…
1. Send Valentines through the Mail
Virtual instruction doesn’t mean always utilizing the computer. Using the mail as part of sending and receiving valentines is a great way to incorporate functional and life skills. You could send cards to your students and they will be able to practice checking the mail, opening up the envelope and hopefully your card serves as their reinforcer. Receiving mail may be a great way to motivate students into sending mail. You can also have students make cards for each student in the class and mail the cards to your school (or a P.O. Box if you have one). After you have received all the cards, you can sort the cards for each student and send them their valentines. This is a good one to plan now because this takes time and coordination. Have your students open their valentines on camera in their Google Class Meet or Zoom session.
2. Virtual Valentines
Using Jamboards, Google Docs, Google Drawings or Google Slides can help students to create and write valentines for their classmates. I usually create a Jamboard for students’ birthdays and each student writes a message and chooses a picture for the student having the birthday. I created a template for virtual valentines using Jamboard. I found a Valentine’s Day background and created a “sticky note” for each child to write on with their name already on the sticky so I know who still needs to write messages to who. I usually post the students’ birthday Jamboard in their Google Classroom to view and I plan on doing the same thing with our virtual Valentines.
Movement has become essential during learning at home, especially in a city in the wintertime. Go Noodle has some Valentine’s themed videos (“My Racing Heart” is my favorite). Also, February is American Heart Health Month. Teaching students about the benefits of movement and exercise, while incorporating the science of the cardiovascular system can help keep students engaged and keep students active, even when they might be stuck inside.
4. Cooking or Crafts
Having my students make holiday gifts at home was actually a big success and incorporating cooking or crafts when students are learning remotely can be fun for Valentine’s Day. Michaels is convenient for picking up inexpensive craft kits for the students in your classroom, so you don’t need to spend time making kits from scratch. These kits also come with picture directions, which is a great way to introduce directions in a real-world context to students. The kit below (available now for $1.79!) reminds me of a similar craft kit I did in the classroom a few years ago.
A simple no-cook recipe can also be a good way to engage students in life skills in their own home, especially if students have an adult with them during the day. Making a Valentine’s Day snack mix can be an easy and safe recipe to implement in a remote school setting.
Doing cooking and crafts with your class means that your students will need supplies. You can send supplies through the mail (which is why I’m blogging about Valentine’s Day in January), have a supply pick-up or drop-off, or provide a supply list and have parents provide the supplies. We mailed out supplies for the holiday gifts and the kids were so excited to receive mail!
5. The Autism Helper Activities & Resources
The Autism Helper holiday activities and resources are always a win! They are easily adaptable to the Google Suite and more The Autism Helper resources are being adapted digitally, so continue to check Teachers Pay Teachers The Autism Helper Store. I took screenshots of adapted book pages to make them projectable and interactive for my remote classroom. Check out The Autism Helper’s Valentine’s Day activities and resources.
No matter how you are planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day with your class, I hope you are all staying safe and healthy!